Di Grassi laps Donington in Formula E car

Lucas di Grassi laps Donington Park in a Formula E car. Video and details here

If you've ever wanted to know what it's like to get behind the wheel of a Formula E electric single-seater racing car, you now have an answer thanks to Lucas di Grassi.

The answer is windy - very, very windy. It's hard to give a definitive verdict on the aural qualities of Formula E before the series kicks off in Beijing this September, but it's clear the drivers will have to get used to the silence of electric racing, as well as the spectators. For fans already concerned about the lack of noise in Formula One, Formula E may be facing an uphill struggle.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Visually though, the series is off to a good start. With a camera strapped to his visor, di Grassi's windswept lap is as close as most will get to driving one of this year's Formula E vehicles. It's a long way from point and squirt - di Grassi spends his lap fighting for grip on the series' road-style treaded tyres.

The Brazilian endurance driver partners German racer Daniel Abt in the Audi Sport ABT Formula E team. Despite the German carmaker's involvement, ABT's car is identical to other vehicles in the series for its inaugural year. While Formula E gets off the ground, every team will use the same Spark-Renault SRT 01E chassis. Each team is developing its own unique car on the sidelines, ready to compete in subsequent seasons should Formula E grow in popularity.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The early pace in the recent Donington test session was set by di Grassi and ABT, recording the fastest time in the first two days of testing. Former F1 driver Sebastien Buemi, driving for the e.dams Renault team, proved fastest in the following two sessions. ‘It was my first time driving the car with full power and I’m really pleased with the performance’, said di Grassi after the second day of testing.

Several drivers noted the difference in performance between qualifying and race settings during the initial test. Formula E rules require that race power is scaled back from the full 200 kilowatts (268bhp) to 133kW (178bhp) to preserve range over each one-hour event - though drivers will be able to use a boost button for a temporary full-power surge when passing.

With qualifying lap times in the 1:31 range, initial pace is just a whisker off the fastest laps set by Formula 3 cars around the full Donington GP circuit, giving spectators a clue as to the kind of racing they can expect when Formula E hits each of the ten street circuits during the season.

Those street circuits, including events in Berlin, Miami and Monaco, should allow spectators to get closer to the action than many single-seater series. Whether they'll like what they hear will remain unanswered until the season draws to a close in London on June 27 2015.


Most Popular


Aston Martin DBX review - the first performance SUV to deliver on its promise

Aston Martin's first SUV is more than a good SUV, the DBX is the best car the British firm makes
10 Aug 2020
Audi S3

2020 Audi S3 Sportback and S3 saloon revealed – the four-wheel drive Golf GTI

Audi’s next S3 Sportback follows a well-trodden path, filling a gap it once defined
11 Aug 2020
Maserati Ghibli

Maserati Ghibli Trofeo revealed – sober-dressed BMW M5 rival finally arrives

Some seven years after the launch of its executive saloon, Maserati has given it a V8 – with 572bhp
10 Aug 2020
Porsche 911 Targa

Porsche 911 Targa 4S 2020 review - the oddball 911 that’s a refreshing alternative

New 911 Targa 4S offers coupe usability with more style than a convertible, but four-wheel drive only will put off those looking for the purist 911 dr…
10 Aug 2020