One Formula E car, Jean-Eric Vergne and a cheetah. Who wins?
What happens when you line a Cheetah up against an FIA Formula E Championship car in a head-to-head drag race?
With both the cheetah - the world's fastest land animal - and the Formula E development car - officially called the SPARK SRT_01E - covering off 0-100km/h (62mph) in just three seconds, we traveled to a landing strip in a remote part of the Western Cape on the southern tip of Africa to find out who would win in a head-to-head race.
"We knew the similarities in performance between the Formula E car and a cheetah, so we were curious to see the outcome... It was a close race... I won’t spoil it and give away the end result. You’ll have to watch the video to see that!” said Formula E Founder and CEO Alejandro Agag.
The impact - why we did it
Aside from being the fastest land animal, the cheetah is one of the most endangered creatures on the planet. With just 7000 remaining in the wild, the species is wide-ranging and sparsely distributed, needing large landscapes to survive, which makes it particularly vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation - threats that are exacerbated by a changing climate.
With Formula E offering more than a global motorsport championship, the all-electric street racing series aims to provide a solution to climate change by acting as catalyst for the uptake of electric vehicles, particularly in city cenrtes - the natural habitat of Formula E. By encouraging more people to switch to smart, electric mobility, it's possible to make our society cleaner for future generations, while helping to preserve habitats for species like the cheetah.
How we did it - Behind-the-scenes
Despite what it looks like, there were three cheetahs used during filming to avoid tiring them or endangering their health.
The cheetahs featured in the filming run every day chasing a lure, which helps keep them fit and healthy, and echoes behaviour in the wild. We used the same lure (attached to a winch) for filming, which the cheetahs chased.
Present at filming were a team of experienced animal wranglers, an animal locomotion expert, representatives from Cheetah Outreach, the Endangered Wildlife Trust and Animal Issues Matter, who are trained to monitor the welfare of animals on set. An Animal Welfare Compliance Certificate was supplied to confirm no animals were abused or mistreated during the filming of this production.