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New Formula E series gains two corporate sponsors

By Keith Weir

LONDON (Reuters) - The new Formula E electric motor racing series has signed up technology company Qualcomm and logistics provider DHL as corporate sponsors before its launch next September.

Californian company Qualcomm will be the official technology partner to the championship, while German-owned DHL will help to move cars and equipment between the 10 cities that will host races, officials said on Monday.

The support of two major corporate backers from either side of the Atlantic is a boost for Formula E, a new series of races that will feature cars powered by electric energy scheduled for launch in September 2014.

Races are due to be staged in the heart of major cities including London, Beijing and Los Angeles in a 10-team series that will offer a quieter contrast to the well established Formula One.

Qualcomm will offer technology that will allow safety cars to be charged wirelessly in the first Formula E season and plans to make this available to race cars in subsequent years.

"New technologies in connectivity, wireless and mobile fit perfectly with a Championship open to new technology, not only for the cars but for everything around the venue," Alejandro Agag, chief executive of Formula E Holdings said in a statement.

DHL, owned by Germany's Deutsche Post, said its involvement with the new series mirrored a similar agreement it already had with Formula One to help it shift vehicles and other material from venue to venue.

The new tasks would be taken on by the company's existing motor sports team that operates from bases in Britain and Italy, a company spokesman said.

The new series is attracting interest among Formula One teams who are keen to expand into new markets for engineering and technology.

The Williams team have agreed to provide batteries for the new cars, while rival McLaren has signed up to provide engines, transmission and electronics.

(Editing by John Mehaffey)

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