Audi’s di Grassi maintains Le Mans focus before prepping for Formula E finale


LE MANS, France – Despite a bitter disqualification to his Berlin race a few weeks ago and a hard-to-swallow runner-up finish in Moscow on Saturday, Lucas di Grassi isn’t getting down before the FIA Formula E Championship finale in London in two weeks time.

He’s got a slightly more important piece of business to take care of this week.

Di Grassi co-drives with Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis in the No. 8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the FIA World Endurance Championship, with the marquee race of the season, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, occurring this Saturday and Sunday.

In essence, this trio is the replacement group for the long-standing, long-dominant trio of Allan McNish (di Grassi), Rinaldo Capello (Duval) and Tom Kristensen (Jarvis), who have retired one-by-one each of the last three years.

This new trio looks to write their own chapter in the history books, and the conquest begins this week as di Grassi and Jarvis look to join Duval as overall Le Mans winners.

“Formula E preparation is much lower than Le Mans,” di Grassi told MotorSportsTalk at Le Mans scrutineering this week. “We’re prepping for Le Mans, and Formula E is in the middle.

“We have been in ‘Le Mans spec’ since the pre-test [on May 31]. Physically, fitness-wise, mentally wise, you’re on the Le Mans spec. Then you go to Formula E. We had a good result. Now we come back to the most important race of the year here.”

Audi has opened the year with a pair of wins at Silverstone and Spa, the latter with its 2015-spec version of its lower drag, lower downforce kit. But it’s been the now more veteran trio of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler who have scored both wins.

Di Grassi is more focused on joining them as 2015 race winners than worrying about FE, until Le Mans is over with.

“The focus of course is here in Le Mans,” di Grassi said. “I would exchange the Formula E title for this race, if I could choose. We try to win both.

“But yeah, Formula E is at the very beginning. There is a lot to improve. We still have a lot of reliability problems and other small issues.

“So the number one priority is WEC and Le Mans. To be here with Audi, third time here, it’s more than a pleasure. It’s an honor to be sharing this car.”