Porsche confident ahead of Formula E debut despite testing set back​s

by Vince Pettit

Two weeks ago in Valencia the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team got down to business for three days of testing at Circuit Ricardo Tormo with Neel Jani and André Lotterer.

With Season 6 of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship fast approaching the Porsche Motorsport team based in Weissach Germany maximised their test programme, running through various car set-ups, and simulations of qualifying and races.

Jani completed a total of 119 laps, while Lotterer managed 154, bringing their combined testing distance for the Porsche 99X to around 844 kilometres over the three days.

This was the first time we have gone up against all the other teams, and the first time our complete works team has been able to rehearse race procedures with two cars,” explained Pascal Zurlinden, Director of Factory Motorsport. “A couple of minor incidents meant our first two days were a little shorter.

“As such, we had to adapt the program-me a little and make a few compromises. Today, Friday, went really well. We were able to complete the full programme. For us, it was very important this week to learn how to cope with other cars on the track on a race weekend.

“The two race simulations were particularly informative. We will now take our homework away with us and make sure we are ready for our Formula E debut in Riyadh, which we are very much looking forward to.”

Credit: Porsche

Lotterer enters his third season in Formula E after spending two years with the Techeetah team and returns to a full-time driving role with Porsche for the first time since his 2017 programme with the FIA World Endurance team.

“We did quite a lot of driving on day one. It went well, but we discovered a few outstanding issues on the car where there is still room for improvement,” said Lotterer.

It wasn’t plain sailing for the German as he lost time on the second day due to an accident.

“Unfortunately, we lost time on the track on day two, as I hit the wall in the chicane and it took a while to repair the car. That meant I was unable to take part in the race simulation, but I caught up on that on day three.

“All in all, we focussed very hard on our programme and did not just concentrate on lap times, as we consciously invested a lot of work in different car set-ups, to sort out as many things as possible and travel to Riyadh as well prepared as possible.”

Credit: Porsche

Jani has been on a journey with Porsche and their record breaking 919 Evo, based on their LMP1 car through 2018 and has been involved in the Formula E programme since the start.

“We once again learned something with every lap and found a lot of solutions. At the same time, however, we were confronted with a few new questions,” explained Jani.

“It is a very intensive learning process for us. The race simulations were very interesting and helpful for us. Ultimately, however, we are still not where we want to be in the end – at this circuit, at least. Despite this, we have made progress and are confident that we will learn from this ahead of our first race in Riyadh.”

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