Lucas di Grassi gives Formula E car its first test

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The FIA’s plans for an all-electric racing series came a step closer to reality when Lucas di Grassi drove the car at a test in France.

The former F1 racer completed 40 laps of the La Ferte Gaucher circuit in a Spark-Renault SRT_01E last Wednesday.

Di Grassi only had a quarter of the car’s intended power output available as it was fitted with a 50kW battery compared to the 200kw (approximately 270bhp) the final car will have.

“I can assure all the drivers will have a lot of fun with this car,” said Di Grassi after the test. “Even with just a quarter of the power, it has quite a lot of grip and the electric motor produces huge torque.”

The inaugural Formula E championship will begin in Beijing next September and will race in nine further cities in its first year. Super Aguri, Andretti Autosport, Audi Sport Abt and a team backed by DAMS and Alain Prost are among the confirmed teams.

First Formula E test in pictures

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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55 comments on “Lucas di Grassi gives Formula E car its first test”

  1. Notice the big wheels, doesen’t look bad at all!

    1. It looks good but I hate that sound.

    2. Yeah, the bigger wheels look good. I wasn’t sure, especially after being used to seeing nice big sidewalls on current F1 cars but I like them. BUT do you see how silly the little brakes look? I know they’re designed for purpose and F1 brakes are similar sized, but they just out of proportion…
      Like massive mags and stock rotors on a Civic.

    3. Why is it that these are allowed higher noses but not F1? Seems like they would pose the same danger.

  2. Oh god. Please no! ._.

  3. An indycar with a silent engine with tweet to pass. I think I’ll stick with f1

    1. It looks nothing like that. For a start it has a high nose.

    2. @yoshif8tures I’ll follow each driver on twitter so I know when they’re using their TTP.

  4. I’m starting to wonder if everything will materialize come 2014. I guess there’s still time for the final spec car, but there are only 4 confirmed entries as of yet. That’s not much. Also, are all contracts with cities in place? Are said cities prepared?

    1. There are 7 confirmed entries actually with another 3 teams planned to be announced before the end of the year.

      – Drayson Racing
      – China Racing
      – Andretti Autosport
      – Dragon Racing
      – E.Dams
      – Super Aguri Formula E
      – Audi Sport ABT

      1. OK I didn’t read that post too well, missing a few things. I counted the confirmed teams without seeing the “among others”, and I missed that the series will only start in September. Which gives them time still to put things into place.

        Might as well ignore what I said. :)

        Thanks for the correction. And thanks @zantkiller for the information.

        1. That should have been thanks @carlitox for the information… Not having my most brightest moments.

      2. Yeah I’lll root for Audi Sport. Obvious dominating champions.

      3. Aren’t all these a spec chassis and aero? Meaning that, in theory, it shouldn’t be all won by one driver/team while still not being Nascar and indy.

    2. Well, I as a local resident can tell you that Punta del Este has done nothing so far. We do have a street track already designed for touring cars, but not sure it’ll work for these little things.

  5. They sound awefull. Right now I really don’t see how this will work out.

    Am looking forward to the first start of a race because the thing with electric motors is, you have all your power immediatly. You don’t have to wait for the revs or go in higher gears.

    1. agree with the sound being woefull, it alreadh hurts my ears! Cant imagine a full grid.

      The electric motor still needs a tranmission to relay the power to the wheels. If you notice, Di Grassi mentions a gearbox at the end. I have no idea what type of gearbox it is. In the real world, electric trains use a form a frequency shift to relay power to the wheels, so I dont know if its similar to this.

      The projected 0-60 times for FE is around and about an F1 car, maybe a bit slower.

  6. It sounds as if the engine was fueled on moaning souls and you are hearing their screaming.

    But credit where it’s due: the car looks awesome!

  7. Look awful, sound awful. Nothing can compare to Formula 1

    1. For sure things can compare with F1.

      I mean, judging by what Newey said the cars next year will not be attractive at all. These things aren’t bad imo.

      1. This is only the first round of regulations.. Give it a few years and I’m sure they will manage to make them look awful.

  8. Alright, so the sound requires some getting used to, but apart from that I’m impressed. Of course Di Grassi was nowhere near the limits, so it remains a mystery how good the non-restricted car is going to be – 270 bhp does sound promising. It will also be interesting to see how an electric car, with high torque at lower speeds, will affect driving style.

    All in all, I’m very curious, but not very excited yet.

    1. +1 Agreed

    2. Weren’t the old GP3 cars 270bhp?

      If they are around that fast then i will be impressed but we will never see them go that fast due to being on city circuits but the high torque should look pretty good on a tight and twisty street circuit.

  9. I’m really excited for this, the car looks awesome and the series seems to actually thinking about technological development rather than pseudo racing (vote to pass aside). I don’t want to get onto the noise bandwagon but can someone enlighten me, will the sound improve as the power does?

  10. That’s obviously the first step of the series, and the acoustic may sound weird but they will fine tune that before the season starts.

    Big tyres (18 inches if I’m correct) are road relevant, plus the engines and gearboxes are eco-friendly.
    It’s the future of motorsport if we dare take a look at non-renewable resources such as oil and so on…

    FE just has to work a little bit on the acoustic side of the engine to please fans and tweak some things.

    As a long time single-seater fan, I was waiting for something like that to come.

    1. Yeah I agree. I think this is really exciting.

      Can you imagine what Monty would say? O.o

  11. I quite like the appearance. But without the sound it just doesn’t seem right.
    It’s a no from me.

  12. Has anyone bothered to look into the environmental implications of producing and disposing of these batteries?

    1. No I haven’t “bothered” to look into it.

      Although I will say that if you’re trying to imply that it’s worse than what we already have, you’d also need to give evidence of that.

  13. The sound of grid full of these things will be…interesting. Like a swarm of wasps or something.

    The car looks good, the quality of the teams is pretty good and they are from a variety of backgrounds which is good, the drivers will hopefully be of a good quality, so I’ll watch it for a season to see how it goes. Tweet to pass is ridiculous and the mid-race car switch makes the series a bit of a farce, but it’ll be interesting to see how it develops.

    1. The sound of grid full of these things will be…interesting. Like a swarm of wasps or something.

      Until they press the pedal, there will be no sound.

      Personally, I like the cars. This is where automotive technology is heading. OK, it’ll take a bit of time to get used to the lack of engine noise.

      The whole tweet to pass thing is a stupid gimmick. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would suggest it is there to stop people from viewing this as a serious form of motor sport.

      By the way, to those who say they need to “sort the acoustics out”: This is how the cars sound. It is how they are supposed to sound. It is how they will always sound. You can’t make an electric motor sound like an ICE (unless you want another, even more stupid gimmick in the form of speakers giving off an engine sound). Deal with it.

      1. I agree with @drmouse. If you think about it, the awesome sound of F1 indicates that a lot of energy is being wasted. As someone else said somewhere else (sorry, I can’t be more specific ;-) it will make a change to be able to hear the tyres squeal.

        I’m looking forward to seeing how this pans out.

  14. I think this looks pretty exciting.
    Wouldn’t it be great if they made this available free-to-air and streamed the races on the web – and allowed the races to appear on You Tube with no silly copyright restrictions. Yes, I’m getting at you, Bernie!
    I love the idea of bring the races into the city centres around the world. No noise, no fumes, no problem! Bring the racing to the people and make it into a mass event. Sponsors will love it.
    I wonder if they will have to have increased ride height and softer suspension to deal with the city streets.

  15. Wasn’t one of the reasons for the failure of A1GP due to the fact it was only available via a pay channel rather than free to air?

  16. Does anyone else say it “Formula-r-E”?

  17. I’m really interested in that series from a technological pov and if I’ve the possibility to watch it then I’ll definitely give it a try.

  18. Really excited about this series.

    Anybody else reminded of ‘real’ rc cars?

  19. I would have liked to see a more open formula, leaving room for hydrogen fuel cells and fish-finger power. Real manufacturer involvement would really validate the whole thing, as well. I’m hazy on the details of the powertrain’s origin. Has it been developed by a single manufacturer (or consortium) as a spec part? If so, that’s not going to spark the kind of development war that helps new technology trickle down to road cars, where its really needed.

    Still not excited, though. PR chaps: put the Stig in it. Everyone always seems to like that.

  20. Looks better than modern F1 cars do!

  21. I like the sound actually, just hate that front wing.

  22. If there was ever a car fit for a city it would be Formula E and Austin, Texas. The anti- combustion engine nuts here in Austin would love to see this.

    I hope it works out…

  23. The drivers will experience a whopping 1.5 G’s in these mean machines.

  24. Sounds like a giant remote controlled car

  25. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    21st November 2013, 18:04

    What’s its top speed?

  26. I think this video proves how bad the big rims look in such small wheelbase cars, I still don’t know how good they look on longer wheelbase cars like the F1, the indy though looks horrendous. I kind of like the E cars, I’m looking foward to watching some races in full KW!!

  27. looks great! sounds sh…

  28. I don’t see this becoming the next Formula One by any means, but i am very happy to see it come together and i hope it works out. Just look at all of the creations that have came out of an F1 paddock over the years…if Formula E can do 1/4 of that, just look at all of the electrical development that will follow. Stronger battery tech, electric motor tech, increasing EV range, it’s pretty cool. Who knows, the car you buy in ten or fifteen years may have tech that came from a Formula E team.

  29. I’m actually really looking forward to this series. Whether the racing will be good is yet to be seen, though I am confident, but I’m more interested in how technology will advance thanks to this series’ success. What will be intriguing is when they have a few seasons under their belt and start to open up the regulations, which could lead to some fantastic developments.

  30. Looks good….sounds terrible!! It seems like you´re playing with RC cars :(

  31. I remember the first time I went to a F1 race, back in the 90’s, we arrived there with no tickets, and the only ones available were with the resellers at a very high price, so we hesitated expecting to find a better option, but then, at that very right moment the cars started to go off for the first practice, and as soon as we heard those spectacular engine noises we bought the tickets immediately!! no matter the price!!!

  32. Hey maybe this league can take care of the politically correct nonsense, and F1 can go back to V10s and V12s.

  33. There are these scientists in America who have managed to synthesise petrol from thin air using concentrated solar energy.
    That is the answer to the energy problem; all you need is an amplifier which is basically a 1 off purchase and keep it clean and free from dust.
    This machine is called the CR5 and 1 machine can make approximately 70 litres overnight.
    This also effectively removes the CO2 from the atmosphere which causes global warming if done to a large extent.

  34. Not a big fan of EVs… however, I love the concept of Formula E and I think the cars look & sound great. Something totally different for us motorsport fans; the more variety, the better. Why bash it before it even begins?

  35. Sounds like a cross between a turbine and a teapot. Maybe they could put air-driven sirens or aero-fluting on them.

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