Comedian Tracy Morgan and racing driver Nelson Piquet Jr. led an electric vehicle parade officially opened the 118th New York International Automobile Show on Saturday morning.
A fully-electric Formula E racing car led a fleet of electric vehicles along 11th Ave. to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on the west side of New York. Formula E season one champion and Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver Nelson Piquet Jr. was behind the wheel, marking the first time the official championship car has run on the streets of Manhattan.
Comedian and actor Tracy Morgan drove the Porsche 919 Hybrid that won the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans three times in a row as well as the World Endurance Championship LMP1 titles between 2015 and 2018.
“To be the first to drive the Formula E car on the streets in New York is going to be a lot of fun. I love this city, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to promote electric vehicles,” said Nelson Piquet Jr.
The parade also featured the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE plus a range of fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles including: Toyota Prius Prime, Chrysler Pacifica PEH, Nissan Leaf, Honda Clarity Plug-in, Volvo XC60 PHEV, MINI Countryman PHEV, Chevy Bolt EV, Kia Soul EV, and others.
To add a little cuteness to the proceedings a Kids Motorcade Parade of fifty children in custom-created car costumes was also star in the Show’s Opening Day festivities.
Driver Background: Nelson Piquet Jr. is Formula E’s inaugural champion and driver for the Panasonic Jaguar Racing Formula E team. Starting his career in South American karting, he soon moved to South American F3 and then on to British F3. In 2005, Nelson graduated to GP2, finishing as runner-up to Lewis Hamilton in 2006. After that he graduated to F1 in 2008 alongside Fernando Alonso helping the team secure fourth position overall. In 2010 Nelson moved to NASCAR, becoming the first Brazilian to win a top tier race in 2012.
Driver Background: Tracy Morgan, an American actor and comedian best known for his seven seasons as a cast member on Saturday Night Live (1996-2003) and 30 Rock (2006-2013). He was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2009 for his work on 30 Rock. He has appeared in numerous films as an actor and voice actor.
Additional special guest:
Brad Snyder – U.S. Paralympic Swimmer — U.S. Paralympic Swimmer and Retired U.S. Navy Lt. Brad Snyder, is a five-time Gold Medalist and two-time Silver Medalist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Snyder, a swimmer who won a gold medal on Sept. 7, 2012, the exact one-year anniversary of the IED explosion in Afghanistan that cost him his vision. In addition, Snyder broke the 30 year-old World Record in the 100m Freestyle during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Special event during opening day festivities:
Hiring Our Heroes Toyota RAV 4 Vehicle Donation – a 2018 Toyota RAV4 vehicle donated to Eddie Sanhez by Toyota Motor Sales, USA. Eddie and his family are residents of NY. He is an active U.S. Army Reservist and first responder for FDNY Rescue 4, Brooklyn/Woodside NY. Eddie is married with two children, a son in high school and a daughter in middle school. He is assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve station 404th and has served deployments in a reserve and emergency capacity for response efforts in Puerto Rico, Haiti and Kuwait. He is former Active Duty U.S. Army and decided to continue his service career in Reserves and transition as a civilian first responder for FDNY ladder companies, formerly with Rescue Squad 288 and 298 on 9/11. The vehicle is being donated to help a family that is undergoing changes with Reserve duty and unpredictable shift-work. It will assist them in ensuring they keep up with school and work demands. Eddie has been identified by Toyota through its relationships with the U.S. Chamber and the Hiring our Heroes organizations.