Mahindra Test the Renault-Spark

by Tom Errington
Mahindra Racing, Donington Park test (Credit: Mahindra Racing)

The Mahindra Formula E team completed a shakedown of the team’s new Formula E car on Wednesday, at a wet Donington Park circuit in the UK. Taking part in the first ever shakedown for the ten Formula E teams, Mahindra Racing drivers Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok completed various system checks during the day’s running.

Both drivers completed their seat fits on Tuesday. With only one car yet delivered to each of the teams, Senna and Chandhok shared the team’s car, named the Mahindra Nitro after a fan poll.

Senna was first to take to the track, pulling out onto the wet Donington circuit in the Nitro. After a few technical issues, the car was able to complete a number of laps, allowing the team to check the battery and recharging systems. Chandhok drove in the afternoon session, completing two separate runs to add to the team’s knowledge of the fully electric machine.

Reflecting on his first experience of the car, Senna said, “It was a fun morning, we managed to check most of the systems which was the objective,” said the Brazilian driver. It is a completely different thing when you drive this car, because you don’t have as many references helping you when you drive such as engine noise. Sometimes you find yourself hitting the rev limiter as there are no audio signs that you need to change gear.” 

“It was an interesting day,” added team mate Chandhok. “Driving a new car is always exciting but driving something so different made it really intriguing. It’s clear this is going to be a category that is about strategy and intelligence rather than just pure driving speed. With the energy recovery systems and battery life you will have to think about strategy all the time. I think the fans are going to be impressed when they see all the cars on track.” 

Team Principal Dilbagh Gill added: “This was an important day for us. Not only was it the first opportunity for Karun and Bruno to work trackside with the team, it was also our first opportunity to work with and begin to understand the revolutionary technology on the Formula E cars.”

Mahindra Racing and the other nine teams were not the only ones on the track, as several as-yet-unnamed drivers also took part in the shakedown.

Known to be present were the drivers announced so far, including Mahindra’s duo; Sam Bird and Jaime Alguersuari of Virgin Racing; Lucas Di Grassi and Daniel Abt of Audi Sport ABT along with Andretti Autosport’s Franck Montagny, with his teammate and the rest of the grid to be announced.

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