Formula E: The season two grid so far

0 Comments

Preparations for the second FIA Formula E season may already be well underway, but the teams will all come together at Donington Park in England on Monday for the first time since the London ePrix back in June.

The two-day test marks the first official pre-season running ahead of the 2015-2016 campaign, and will see the teams pit their new cars up against each other out on track for the first time.

Ahead of the test, the final pieces of the driver market puzzle have recently been falling into place, so here is a quick run-down of what we know for season two.

Renault e.Dams

The defending champion team is yet to confirm its line-up for season two, and little has been said of Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost. Buemi came close to winning the title in London, only for a spin during the second race to ultimately cause him to lose out to Nelson Piquet Jr. Prost was impressive at times, but too inconsistent to mount a title challenge. Nothing is confirmed, but most are expecting both drivers to be retained by e.dams for season two.

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport

ABT was the first team to confirm its line-up for season two, retaining championship contender Lucas di Grassi and German driver Daniel Abt after a solid first campaign.

Amlin Andretti Formula E Team

Amlin Andretti had been expected to continue with its line-up from London in season two, partnering Jean-Eric Vergne with Simona de Silvestro. However, now that Vergne has moved to DS Virgin Racing, one seat remains unclear. De Silvestro is yet to officially be confirmed by the team, but team boss Michael Andretti has been quoted as saying that she will be kept on. The second seat is likely to be shared by a number of Andretti-affiliated drivers, just as we saw in season one.

NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team

NEXTEV was quick to snap up season one champion Piquet for a second campaign, but the other seat still remains unclaimed. Oliver Turvey enjoyed an impressive debut outing in Formula E with the team in London, and may be an option once again.

Dragon Racing

After a hugely impressive first season in the series, Jerome d’Ambrosio has been retained by Dragon Racing, and the Belgian will be keen to build on his fourth-place finish in the standings. His teammate is still to be announced, but a report from motorsport.com claims that Loic Duval will continue with the American team in season two.

DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team

Virgin Racing has joined forces with Citroen-offshoot DS Automobiles for season two, and has made a big statement of intent by securing the servies of Ferrari F1 development driver Jean-Eric Vergne. The Frenchman will race alongside Sam Bird, who stays on with Virgin after an impressive first season in Formula E. Jaime Alguersuari will not return to Formula E for season two due to ongoing medical concerns that forced him out of the London ePrix.

Mahindra Racing Formula E Team

Mahindra is yet to confirm either of its drivers for season two, but change is definitely on the horizon. Karun Chandhok confirmed earlier this week that he would not be returning to Formula E for season two after a difficult first campaign, freeing up one seat. Bruno Senna has not been confirmed, but has taken part in much of the team’s private testing, as shown in a video released by Mahindra earlier this week. Expect the Brazilian to be retained.

Team Aguri

Team Aguri has endured a difficult off-season so far after parting company with title sponsor Amlin (now with Andretti). However, the Japanese team will be hoping to build on its tally of one victory from season one, even if its drivers remain TBC. Pedro de la Rosa tested for the team at Donington Park last month alongside season one driver Salvador Duran, whilst Formula Renault 3.5 driver Tom Dillmann will test in the next few days.

Trulli Formula E Team

Trulli confirmed to MotorSportsTalk earlier this month that no official announcement had been made regarding its driver line-up for season two, but reports claim that Vitantonio Liuzzi will be retained to race alongside Jarno Trulli. After a tough first year in Formula E, the Italian outfit will be hoping for better this time around.

Venturi Formula E Team

Venturi pulled off arguably the biggest driver coup in Formula E’s short history by securing ex-CART and F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve for season two. He will race alongside Stephane Sarrazin, who stays on following the first campaign.

Cadillac, Acura battle for top speed as cars back on track for Rolex 24 at Daytona practice

0 Comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The new hybrid prototypes of Cadillac and Acura battled atop the speed chart as practice resumed Thursday for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Richard Westbrook was fastest Thursday afternoon in the No. 02 Cadillac V-LMDh with a 1-minute, 35.185-second lap around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

That pace topped Ricky Taylor’s 1:35.366 lap that topped the Thursday morning session that marked the first time the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was back on track since qualifying Sunday afternoon that concluded the four-day Roar Before The Rolex 24 test.

In a final session Thursday night, Matt Campbell was fastest (1:35.802) in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsports Porsche 963 but still was off the times set by Westbrook and Taylor.

Punctuated by Tom Blomqvist’s pole position for defending race winner Meyer Shank Racing, the Acura ARX-06s had been fastest for much of the Roar and led four consecutive practice sessions.

DETAILS FOR THE 61ST ROLEX 24How to watch, entry lists, schedules for the IMSA season opener

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN GTPRolex 24 at Daytona kicks off new golden era for sports cars

But the times have been extremely tight in the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) category that has brought hybrid engines to IMSA’s premier class. Only 0.9 seconds separated the nine LMDh cars in GTP in qualifying, and though the spread slightly widened to 1.378 seconds in Thursday’s practices with teams on varying strategies and preparation, Westbrook still pooh-poohed the importance of speeds.

“It’s always nice to be at the top, but I don’t think it means too much or read too much into it” Westbrook said. “Big fuel tanks in the GTP class this year, so you have no idea what fuel levels people are running. We had a good run, and the car is really enjoyable to drive now. I definitely wasn’t saying that a month ago.

“It really does feel good now. We are working on performance and definitely unlocking some potential, and it just gives us more confidence going into the race. It’s going to be super tight. Everyone’s got the same power, everyone has the same downforce, everyone has the same drag levels and let’s just go race.”

Because teams have put such a premium on reliability, handling mostly has suffered in the GTPs, but Westbrook said the tide had turned Thursday.

“These cars are so competitive, and you were just running it for the sake of running it in the beginning, and there’s so much going on, you don’t really have time to work on performance,” he said. “A lot of emphasis was on durability in the beginning, and rightly so, but now finally we can work on performance, and that’s the same for other manufacturers as well. But we’re worrying about ourselves and improving every run, and I think everybody’s pretty happy with their Cadillac right now.”

Mike Shank, co-owner of Blomqvist’s No. 60 on the pole, said his team still was facing reliability problems despite its speed.

“We address them literally every hour,” Shank said. “We’re addressing some little thing we’re doing better to try to make it last. And also we’re talking about how we race the race, which will be different from years past.

“Just think about every system in the car, I’m not going to say which ones we’re working on, but there are systems in the car that ORECA and HPD are continually trying to improve. By the way, sometimes we put them on the car and take them off before it even goes out on the track because something didn’t work with electronics. There’s so much programming. So many departments have to talk to each other. That bridge gets broken from a code not being totally correct, and the car won’t run. Or the power steering turns off.”

Former Rolex 24 winner Renger van der Zande of Ganassi said it still is a waiting game until the 24-hour race begins Saturday shortly after 1:30 p.m.

“I think the performance of the car is good,” van der Zande said. “No drama. We’re chipping away on setup step by step and the team is in control. It’s crazy out there what people do on the track at the moment. It’s about staying cool and peak at the right moment, and it’s not the right moment yet for that. We’ll keep digging.”


PRACTICE RESULTS:

Click here for Session I (by class)

Click here for Session II (by class)

Click here for Session III (by class)

Combined speeds