The city has officially inaugurated the Formula E racetrack that will be the scene of two races this weekend.

The mayor says this event will be worth the $24 million price tag.

Denis Coderre said Wednesday that the E race will "put Montreal on the map" as he faced questions about the cost of the race, about ticket sales, and about his own driving habits.

The mayor called the initial expense an investment in better roads, in protective walls, and in other items that will be used time and time again for a race that he said will attract tourists.

He expects 20 million people around the world will watch this weekend's race, with 60,000 people in Montreal taking part in the race and related activities, or watching the race from the grandstands.

"It's not just based on a race. It's exciting, it's fun, there's sports attached to it, but at the same time it's a mission and we're sending a strong message about sustainable development and sustainable mobility," said Coderre.

The mayor has long said the race is a way of promoting electric cars, and was questioned about his own driving habits following reports that he owns two SUVs, and so is not living the same sustainable lifestyle being promoted.

In response, Coderre said he drives a hybrid SUV which is less polluting.

The director general of 'Montreal it's Electric', Simon Pillarella thinks the event will educate people and attract economic spinoffs.

“We think that we will attract investment and companies to the city, it’s a beautiful track, very wide, very fun to drive,” said Pillarella.

Amanda Stetter, a driver and writer for Panasonic-Jaguar agrees with the mayor— she says this is future of racing.

“I think really you've got to look at the bigger picture. This idea of electrifying the way we drive cars. Losing the combustion engine and the best way to do that is through motor sport,” said Stetter.

Former racecar driver Patrick Carpentier also thinks the move by the city is a good one.

“I think it's where they need to be. Formula one electric is here to stay and I see a movement that I haven't seen in racing in a long time,” said Carpentier.

The praise for the race comes after weeks of criticism surrounding the cost for tax payers, business owners and motorists.

The races take place on Saturday and Sunday.

The STM has some good news: public transportation is free Saturday and Sunday.