Chile calling: Formula E arrives at pioneer country of electric mobility

25.01.19 / Warm-Up / Formula E

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Next stop, South America: The season’s third round leads the electric racing series Formula E into the heart of Santiago de Chile.

At the new city circuit, the drivers of the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team want to conquer the podium. Ex-champion Lucas di Grassi is particularly motivated this time around.

The ABB FIA Formula E Championship is visiting South America: On Saturday, January 26, the fully electric racing series will hold round three of the season in Santiago de Chile. After Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi, the reigning Formula E teams’ champions, scored points in both races of the 2018/2019 season held to date, the drivers of the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler factory team are now determined to mount the podium. Robin Frijns and Sam Bird from Team Envision Virgin Racing, whose Audi e-tron FE05 is also equipped with Schaeffler technology, most recently clinched second and third positions in Marrakesh.

After 2018, Formula E is racing in Santiago de Chile for the second time. The Chilean capital seems predestined to host the race: President Piñera aims to establish the country as a pioneer of electric mobility. In 2017, the metropolis in the Andes was recognized for its sustainable transportation policy. The race is taking place on a new track: The 2,348-kilometer circuit near the city center is located at Parque O’Higgins. The temporary track with its long straights, hairpin turns and chicanes loops around the Movistar Arena. The Formula E round in Chile’s capital gives Lucas di Grassi, 2016/2017 Formula E champion and 2017/2018 Formula E teams’ champion, an additional motivation boost. “Santiago de Chile is only a four-hour flight away from my hometown, São Paulo, so the race is kind of a home round for me,” says the Brazilian.

Formula E is entering its second era

Formula E is a FIA-sanctioned motor racing series for fully electric cars. In 2018/2019, 11 teams and 22 drivers are on the grid. Formula E races worldwide on temporary circuits in the hearts of metropolises such as Hong Kong, Berlin and New York City. Schaeffler is one of the co-founders and one of the most notable and successful players in Formula E. In 2016/2017, Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler won the drivers’ title (Lucas di Grassi) and in 2017/2018, the teams’ title (Lucas di Grassi/Daniel Abt).

Now in its fifth season, Formula E is entering its second era. The most notable change: Each driver now has only one race car. That is because the second-generation cars mark the end of the mid-race car swaps previously required at each Formula E event. The battery capacity is now sufficient for the entire race distance. Also new for this season is the cars’ futuristic design without a rear wing, plus the Halo protection system above the cockpit.  

Audi e-tron FE05: A state-of-the-art electric race car

The new Audi e-tron FE05 was meticulously developed by Audi Sport and Schaeffler with the new technical and strategic challenges in mind. The motor-generator unit named Audi Schaeffler MGU03, the centerpiece of the Audi e-tron FE05, was jointly developed by the two technology partners. 95 percent of all powertrain components are new, having resulted in weight savings of ten percent. Two Audi e-tron FE05 cars are fielded by the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler factory team for Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt and, in 2018/2019, two by the recently added Envision Virgin Racing customer team with drivers Sam Bird and Robin Frijns.