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Travel

Berlin's Karl-Marx-Allee turns into a race track

A spectacle is coming to the German capital this weekend: The historic Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin Mitte will become Formula E's race track. Some 30,000 spectators are expected at the event.

Berlin's first street race in 18 years takes place on Saturday, May 21. The street will exceptionally be free of exhaust fumes during the event: Formula E is the first exclusively electric race series in the world.

Twenty racecars will compete on the two-kilometer (1.2-mile) long track between Strausberger Platz and Alexanderplatz. This will be the first motor car race to take place on Berlin's streets since the 1998 race on the legendary Avus.

Racing cars at the 2015 Formula E at Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin, Copyright: Rainer Jensen/dpa

Racing cars at the 2015 Formula E at Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin

"To drive my racecar through our capital will definitely be a special feeling. I'm getting more and more excited every day," said German racecar driver Daniel Abt.

Some 8,000 stand seats line Karl-Marx-Allee, which was formerly called Stalinallee. Until 1989, the six-lane street running through striking Soviet architecture served as a site for the East German government's elaborate parades.

Formula E is renouncing combustion engines. Instead, all energy will come from a battery that will be charged with energy from an electric motor by the back wheels.

Although the acceleration strength is less than Formula 1, these cars can reach 100 kilometers per hour in barely three seconds. That power enables them to circle the course and its 11 curves 48 times in less than an hour. The drivers do have to change cars, however, as the battery cannot last for the entire distance.

cd/ir (dpa, afp)