Category: FIA GT, International Motorsport

Audi Sport ready for New Formula E Season

With the Formula E season starting 22 November, Audi Sport has arrived early at Riyadh in preparation for the season-opener. This season’s Formula E is expected to be more exciting than ever with new teams and contenders in the mix. There are 12 teams vying for the Formula E crown this season.

The team shipped ten containers to Saudi Arabia, that’s a total of some ten tons of cargo. Logistics expert DHL picked up the crates at the team’s base in Kempten and hauled them to the Stuttgart airport, from where they flew directly to Saudi Arabia’s capital city Riyadh. The cargos will be delivered to the pitlanes at the track and only on 19 November, the teams are allowed to open the cargo boxes.

Audi Sport team are in pursuit of the title with Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi, Abt and di Grassi have carefully packed their travel bags and handed them over to the team. The contents of each driver’s bags: two racing suits, two pairs of gloves, two pairs of shoes, three sets of fireproof underwear, team wear, plus the individually adjusted earphone systems for radio communications during the races are all part of the standard gear. In addition, Abt’s luggage contains a can of hairspray, while di Grassi takes along a skipping rope for pre-race concentration exercises.

Audi e-tron FE06 #11 (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler), Lucas di Grassi

With the things already set in motion, Audi Sport is looking to make their mark on the 2019/20 Formula E season. The two rounds in Riyadh  will be races number 59 and 60 in  Formula E. Audi Sport is the only team to have contested all of them with the same driver pairing, and with a track record of 12 race wins and 40 podium finishes as well as one drivers’ and one teams’ title, is the most successful team in Formula E.

Nissan preps up for 2nd Formula E season

As the forerunners in the Electric car business, Nissan preps up for its second Formula E season with the unveiling of the new -liveried Formula E racer.

Nissan’s 2019/20 liveried Formula E race car takes up red, black and white design, inspired by the Japanese kimono garment. This livery will also be featured on the Nissan LEAF NISMO RC, the dual electric-motor performance vehicle based on the Nissan LEAF electric car.

Aside from the livery, the 2019/20 e.dams racer features an updated powertrain, in line with new series regulations. The new powertrain replaces the previous dual electric-motor system.

Campaigning for the Nissan e.dams Formula E squad are drivers Sebastien Buemi and Oliver Rowland. Both drivers are back behind the wheel for the Nissan e.dams team. The team entered the championship to showcase its zero-emission vehicle technologies, communicate the company’s Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision.

Nissan’s 2018/19 season

Highlights of season five (2018/19) included achieving second in championship, six podium finishes (including the last five races), six pole positions (the most for any team), and 16 Super Pole qualifying appearances combined by Buemi and Rowland, making Nissan e.dams the best qualifying team in the championship. The team ended the season with its first ever victory during the final race weekend in New York.

The Nissan e.dams team hit the track last week at a series pre-season test in Valencia, Spain. The team posted times in the top ten of every session throughout three days of testing. The team targets winning the overall title this season.

The sixth season of Formula E kicks off next month in Saudi Arabia. Fourteen races will be held in 12 cities, with the final double-header round taking place in London. New venues this season include Seoul, Jakarta, and the London circuit, which runs inside the Excel London exhibition center.

Reigning Formula E Champions DS Techeetah shows off new livery for 2019/20 season

With the new Formula E season just around the corner, DS Techeetah Team has unveiled their 2019/20 car livery in black and gold. The black/gold liveried DS E-Tense FE20 car is out to defend the titles from last season with Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne.  The season kicks off on 22 November in Saudi Arabia.

Techeetach team, owned by SECA Shanghai, is a Chinese racing team in Formula E. They won the 2017/2018 drivers’ title with Jean-Éric and together with André Lotterer, the team secured second place in the teams’ rankings in the 2017/2018 season.

DS E-Tense FE20

Jean-Eric’s car will bear two laurel wreaths to symbolize the two titles, while his helmet has two stars (driver titles).

The DS E-Tense FE20 livery is created by the DS Design Studio of DS Automobiles, From a technical point of view, the FE20 is the fruit of the development work based on the qualities of the double championship winning DS E-Tense FE19.

DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon said, “Our engineers have optimised most of the elements by further developing our winning concept rather than completely rethinking the car. The engine, the inverter and the transfer case have evolved, but the deeper changes are in the heart of the embedded systems. All this ambitious research and development work aims to offer the drivers a car that allows them to fight to win and defend both titles.”

“In the detail of its livery design, it is possible to see that the pattern is constructed from many of our cheetah head logos, which also nods to our continued efforts in supporting The Big Cat Sanctuary’s fight in saving the cheetahs and other big cats. A topic that is more pressing than ever and a cause that is especially close to our hearts,” DS Techeetah Chief Commercial Officer Keith Smout added.

The excitement of the Formula E begins third week of November at the Riyadh Circuit.

Mercedes present New Formula E Challenger

On its debut season in the Formula E Championship, Mercedes-Benz presented their new challenger, the EQ Silver Arrow 01. The Mercedes Formula E Team will send out two EQ race cars to the 2019/20 season’s first race in November in Saudi Arabia.

Piloting the EQ race cars are former F1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne and current Formula 2 championship leader Nyck de Vries. Vandoorne is about to embark on his second season in the electric racing series. At the same time, he can look back on experience gained in 41 Formula 1 races. “I’ve already gained experience of the series racing for HWA last year. I am very pleased to have now become an official member of the Mercedes family. The arrival of Mercedes on the scene is a great opportunity for all of us. The car looks fantastic. The potential is huge, and I simply can’t wait to get started.”

De Vries is about to commence his debut season in Formula E. With four races still remaining in the 2019 F2 championship, he currently leads the drivers’ standings. The final round is scheduled to take place as part of the support program to the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi one week after de Vries’ Formula E debut.
  
  
The Mercedes EQ race car has the electric powertrain, designed and developed by Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP). The EQ race car, in Generation two guise, has a unique design which differ compared to the other Formula E teams. The teams in the series develop their own components (inverter, motor, transmission, parts of the rear axle and the software for energy management) as part of the cars’ package.
 
With its entry into Formula E, Mercedes has become the world’s only automotive manufacturer to compete in both Formula 1 and Formula E. This strategy enables Mercedes to transfer the lessons learnt in both championships from the racetrack to the road. The two platforms together constitute an important technology driver for the entire Mercedes family and will help to shape the future of the automobile.
  
Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01 Specs
 

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Dimensions    
Overall length:   5160 mm
Overall width:   1770 mm
Height:   1050 mm
Front track:   1553 mm
Rear track:   1505 mm
Ride height:   75 mm (max)
Wheelbase:   3100 mm
Minimum weight (incl. driver)   900 kg
Performance    
Battery (weight):   385 kg
Battery (Capacity):   52 kWh
Battery (charging times):   ca. 45 minutes
Power output (practice & qualifying):   250 kW (340 hp)
Power output (race):   200 kW (272 hp)
Attack Mode:   235 kW (319 hp)

New Audi e-tron all set for Formula E 2019/20 season

With the new Formula E season just around the corner, the Audi Formula E squad showcased the new e-tron FE06 race car ahead of its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

What’s new with the Audi e-tron FE06

The Audi e-tron FE06 is packed with plenty of visible carbon fiber and a bright orange livery. Appearing more aggressive than the previous Audi Formula E challengers, the new e-tron is expected to challenge for the title outright in the new season.

The 2019/20 season is set to kick off at the Ad Diriyah (Saudi Arabia) on 22 – 23 November. Orange is the new color for the e-tron FE06; the orange hue takes cues from the road-going color of the road-going Audi e-tron.

Audi e-tron FE06

The Audi Formula E continues to rely on its long-standing partners: Besides technology partner Schaeffler, who together with Audi is responsible for the development of the powertrain, HYLA, ITK Engineering, the LGT Group, KUKA, MASCOT, Riello UPS and Würth Elektronik also remain on board. Sonax joins in this season as a partner. The brand known for its car care products has been closely linked to motorsport for decades.

Last season, the drivers Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi achieved the runner-up position for Audi in the hard-fought team’s championship. Abt and di Grassi will again assume their roles as pilots in the new season.

Audi e-tron FE06

The schedule before the first race is tight: Following the intensive private testing phase in Germany and Europe and the preparation of the two race cars during the next few weeks, the team will travel to Valencia in the middle of October for the official Formula E pre-season test, where all of the teams and drivers will meet for three days.

Porsche 99X Electric enters its maiden Formula E season

Porsche has presented its Formula E challenger, the 99X, as it embarks on its first Formula E season in 2019/2020. The Porsche 99X was presented live in a video game, entitled Formula E Unlocked. TAG Heuer is the title sponsors for the Porsche Formula E Team.


Porsche 99X in the flesh


In terms of the design, the traditional Porsche motorsport colors were chosen for the Formula E racing car. From a bird’s-eye perspective, the Porsche emblem is clearly visible around the Halo system. As usual, the naming format is three digits which represent Porsche racing cars and two-door sports cars. The highest number, nine, was used twice, to re-emphasize the importance of the Formula E project for Porsche, while the X stands for the forward-looking approach and prototype racing. The Porsche 99X Electric also serves as a development platform for future fully electric production models. 

Conforming to Formula E regulations, the Porsche 99X powertrain comprises  the hybrid technology. The 800-volt technology used in Formula E is also used in the series production of the fully electric Porsche sports car, the Taycan. In addition, energy management and efficiency are the keys to success in both Formula E and series production.

In the coming weeks, Porsche will focus on the performance of the 99X Electric. Thereafter, the Porsche Formula E team will make its first official appearance in mid-October at the Formula E test at Valencia (Spain).

The two 99X will piloted by Neel Jani and André Lotterer. The 2019/20 season starts in November.


The Porsche Formula E squad has as many as 12 partners, including ANSYS, Vodafone, ExxonMobil, Metzingen, Hugo Boss, Lighting manufacturer TRILUX, C. & A. Veltins brewery, Puma, Michelin, Tool supplier Hazet, Red Bull and Stilo Helmet.

Porsche in Formula E

Although debuting in Formula E, Porsche as a motorsport squad have been involved in single-seater racing for more than 30 years. Entering Formula E and the accompanying restructuring of the motorsport involvement can be derived from the 2025 Porsche strategy. In addition to traditional GT road-going sports cars, fully electric sports cars are also firmly anchored in the strategy. Both should be reflected in the Porsche world of motorsport in the future. A large part of the corporation’s ‘Mission E’ is also the presence and success in motorsport with race cars with electric drive.

In terms of hybrid technology and thus e-drive technology, racing and production have been enriching each other at Porsche for around a decade: the first hybrid race car, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid of 2010, went into the development of the 918 Spyder. In part, the 918 was the basis for the 919 Hybrid, which in turn influenced the development of the Porsche Formula E powertrain and the Porsche Taycan.

Toyota Racing gets ready for 2019/20 WEC season-opener at Silverstone

In its final season, Toyota Racing is prepping to go out with a bang as the 2019/20 WEC (World Endurance Championship) season-opener hits Silverstone this weekend. The 4-hour race will see the sole factory Toyota squad battles the many private contenders for the WEC crown, which culminates with the Le Mans 24-hour.

This season’s WEC features eight races on four continents and concludes at La Sarthe on 14 June 2020. For the start of its fourth and final season, the Toyota TS050 Hybrids will compete in high-downforce specification, giving a race debut to the new aerodynamic configuration which was also used during the Prologue test in Barcelona last month.

Home favorite Mike Conway leads the #7 TS050 Hybrid line-up alongside Kamui Kobayashi and José María López while WEC Champions Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima are joined by Brendon Hartley, who will make his Toyota Racing debut at Silverstone. “It’s a really fun track, although traffic can be difficult there and you have to get your timing right. There’s always a big crowd and I have family and friends supporting me, so I would love to finally win my home race; I’ve been close a few times but I hope this is the year,” Conway said.

“We are focused on the new season and the first race at Silverstone, we want to make a winning start. The competition from the other LMP1 cars looks to be quite challenging this year following the regulation changes so we are expecting a fight and we know we need to prepare ourselves thoroughly to get the right result on Sunday,” Buemi added.

Silverstone was the only race which Toyota Racing did not win last season; following a one-two victory both cars were excluded after failing post-race technical checks due to floor damage after hitting kerbs. That disappointment means the team is even more determined to earn another victory at the British track, where they won six-hour races in 2014 and 2017.

This year’s Silverstone race is the first of the WEC’s modern era to be held over four hours, during which the leading cars can expect to complete close to 800km on the 5.901km circuit. They will be fighting to earn the Royal Automobile Club International Tourist Trophy, first awarded in 1905 and won by motorsport legends such as Tazio Nuvolaro, Stirling Moss and Graham Hill.

The TS050 Hybrids will face a challenge from LMP1 non-hybrid rivals Rebellion and Ginetta, boosted by revised regulations which enhance their performance. At Silverstone, the TS050 Hybrids will be 94kg heavier than the non-turbo Rebellion and 85kg heavier than the turbo-charged Ginetta. Meanwhile, the Rebellion is permitted 61% more fuel per stint than the TS050 Hybrid, with the Ginetta’s turbo engine allowed 50% more. Regardless how the organizers intend to make the competition fair, the Toyota cars will be hard to beat based on raw power and factory-backed advantage.

British fans get their first chance to see the 2019-2020 WEC grid in action on Friday, with two 90-minute practice sessions while qualifying takes place on Saturday noon prior to a midday day start to Sunday’s race.

This weekend marks the first visit to a WEC race in his new role for Katsuyoshi Hikichi, new President of Toyota Motorsport. .

Toyota Racing prepares for final season in WEC and Le Mans

Le Mans Champions Toyota Racing is preparing for a last hurrah in the upcoming WEC (World Endurance Championship) season and Le Mans. The squad of course captured the WEC titles and Le Mans without major challenges from factory-backed squads. In the new season, they wish to make it three-in-a-row at the Le Mans. Toyota Racing made their debut in the WEC in 2016.

The new season 2019/20 will feature eight races, spanning the UK, USA, South America, Asia and Middle-east. The shakedown or prologue is scheduled for 1 September at the Silverstone track. Toyota Racing is an obvious favorite without an obvious rival for a third consecutive title. The 2018 TS050 Hybrid became the first Toyota to win a Le Mans race. They are, however, not the first Japanese manufacturer to win that honor; that honor belongs to Mazda in 1991. Still, Toyota holds the honor of winning the Le Mans twice, and they’re now gunning for a three-peat.

For the new season, the same LMP1 car Toyota uses gets some modifications with revised aerodynamics and further fine-tuning of mechanical parts for reliability. The pilots confirmed for the new season are returnees, with the exception of former Le Mans winner Brendon Hartley, who’d a stint at Porsche in its heydays. Car no.7 once again has Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López at the helm. Sister car no.8 is driven by Hartley, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. Meanwhile, Thomas Laurent is the test and reserve driver and will share driving duties with Signatech Alpine in an LMP2 racer.

Lopez remarked. “Mike, Kamui and I have one objective and that is to win races and the championship – and to take revenge at Le Mans. The new regulations for 2020-2021 are very exciting and we look forward to racing against other manufacturers again, which will be fun. But the downforce, the speed, the power of the TS050 Hybrid is amazing and I am sure that one day I will say that I was lucky to have the opportunity to race such a car.”

Hartley, the newbie, commented, “I fell in love with Le Mans when I first raced there in 2012 so, after missing two years, I can’t wait to return. Since Le Mans I had my first real test in the TS050 Hybrid and I am already feeling at home in the car and up to speed. My goals are always personal rather than results based.”

It all starts with the prologue, 4 Hours of Silverstone, then the first of eight races on four continents featuring a combined 66 hours of racing on historic tracks such as Sebring, Spa-Francorchamps and Fuji Speedway, ending at Le Mans on 13-14 June 2020.

2019-2020 WEC Calendar

1 September 4 Hours of Silverstone
6 October 6 Hours of Fuji
10 November 4 Hours of Shanghai
14 December 8 Hours of Bahrain
1 February 6 Hours of Sao Paulo
20 March 1000 Miles of Sebring
2 May 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
13-14 June Le Mans 24 Hours

Goodyear returns to International Motorsports scene

After years of being out of the motorsports scene, Goodyear has announced its intentions to partake as sponsors for European and International sportscar racing series, namely the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and Le Mans 24-hour. Goodyear will supply racing tyres for the WEC and Le Mans’ teams in the 2019/20 season. In domestic motorsports, Goodyear Malaysia was the pioneer in grassroots motorsports and the Formula Drift Championship during its golden age 2009 – 2012.

Goodyear is no stranger in the world of motosports, they’re active in F1 with 368 GP wins and as many as 14 wins in Le Mans. To this day, Goodyear’s record of 368 GP wins still stand. Goodyear was also active in the American IMSA series.

To keep its motorsports legacy intact, Goodyear has picked the WEC to return to motorports as it provides a strong platform for demonstrating tyre technologies on a wide range of different prototype and GT cars.

Goodyear’s Motorsport Director Ben Crawley commented, “The nature of the races (varying from 4 hours to 24 hours) mean tyre choice and strategy are critical and it provides a motivating challenge for our technology team in our European innovation centres ahead of exploring other racing opportunities for the brand. It is an ideal platform for us to engage with consumers around the heritage, passion, innovation and technology that make up Goodyear’s story in racing. We will focus on sportscar racing at first, before applying learnings to other categories of racing, which could be within the endurance arena or in other racing series.”

Goodyear has been developing a new range of tyres for Le Mans Prototypes for over a year at their innovation centres in Hanau (Germany) and Colmar-Berg (Luxembourg). The tyres will be developed and manufactured alongside Goodyear’s latest range of Eagle F1 SuperSport tyres for performance and track-day cars, ensuring that the technology and knowledge transfer between the road and race ranges is optimized to benefit the performance of both. The tyres will debut at the start of the 2019/2020 WEC season at Silverstone in August.

This comeback marks the return of Goodyear to global sportscar racing at one of racing’s most iconic venues. With over 250,000 attendees, Le Mans is one of the largest single attendance sporting events in the world.

WEC has been around for 7 seasons and features long-distance races on four continents with the Le Mans season finale, a race which Goodyear-equipped cars have won on 14 occasions.

Toyota Racing captures 2nd straight win at 2019 Le Mans

The 87th Le Mans 24-Hour was an unforgettable experience for Toyota Racing with a second Le Mans title in consecutive years, a repeat from last season. Not only did Toyota win the 2019 Le Mans, but they got a one-two finish after Sunday’s endurance race around the clock at the Circuit de la Sarthe. With the Le Mans win, Toyota won the WEC (World Endurance Championship) 2018-19 overall title as well..

Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso in the no.8 TS050 Hybrid defended their Le Mans crown and secured the drivers’ title. They inherited the win which could have gone team mates’ (Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López) way in sister car no.7. The TS050 Hybrid no.7 was on the verge of victory, but a tyre puncture prompted a last minute swap and virtually handed victory to car no.8.

On the 367th lap, with a lead of over two minutes, data on no.7 car indicated a puncture and Lopez had to pit to replace the tyre. A sensor issue resulted in the wrong tyre being identified, meaning Lopez left the pits still with a deflating tyre. That necessitated a slow lap back to the pits when four tyres were changed, handing an unassailable lead to Nakajima in car no.8.

Car no.7 drivers had controlled much of the contest, having set the fastest-ever Le Mans race lap of 3:17.297. Other motorsport records were rewritten too; Nakajima became the first circuit-racing champion from Japan and Alonso is the second driver to win four-wheel world titles in two different disciplines (F1 and Le Mans).

2019 Le Mans 24-Hour: Unlucky end for TS050 car no.7

Car no.7 had started the race from pole following Kobayashi’s fastest qualifying lap, with car no.8 starting just behind. That set the scene for an exciting and close battle for overall victory between the two 1,000PS TS050 Hybrids, with momentum swinging one way and then the other. Without the likes of Porsche and Audi, there weren’t any real challenges for the factory Toyota squad. After 12 hours the two Toyotas were separated by only 8.6secs. In the night, car no.7 seized a decisive advantage as the sister car faced an aerodynamic imbalance. That was caused by bodywork damage due to the rigours of a tough, flat-out contest although the cars were always on the same lap.

As the final hours approached, the gap remained relatively stable around two minutes and the focus switched to bringing the cars home safely. All appeared to be going to plan until car no.7 experienced its dramas and Nakajima took the lead with less than an hour to go. From there, it was smooth sail for the Japanese and more importantly a 1-2 finish. The closest challenger was six laps behind the two Toyotas.

2019 Le Mans 24-hour LMP1 results

1st    #8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing                                385 laps
2th    #7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing                               +16.972secs

3rd    #11 SMP (Petrov/Aleshin/Vandoorne)                 +6 laps
4th    #1 Rebellion (Jani/Lotterer/Senna)                     +9 laps
5th    #3 Rebellion (Laurent/Berthon/Menezes)            +15 laps