Lucas di Grassi gives Formula E car its first test

Formula E

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.

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

  1. Alexander (@alexanderfin) said on 21st November 2013, 11:07

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

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 21st November 2013, 20:51

      It looks good but I hate that sound.

    • 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.

    • 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. Yosi (@yoshif8tures) said on 21st November 2013, 11:08

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

  4. MattDS said on 21st November 2013, 11:22

    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?

    • Zantkiller (@zantkiller) said on 21st November 2013, 11:44

      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

      • MattDS said on 21st November 2013, 11:54

        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.

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

      • BJ (@beejis60) said on 21st November 2013, 16:52

        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.

    • Carlitox (@carlitox) said on 21st November 2013, 11:45

      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. Sam (@) said on 21st November 2013, 11:25

    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.

    • Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 22nd November 2013, 0:13

      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. Carlitox (@carlitox) said on 21st November 2013, 11:43

    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

    • Mike (@mike) said on 22nd November 2013, 0:10

      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.

      • 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. andae23 (@andae23) said on 21st November 2013, 11:53

    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.

  9. Ben (@b3ndy) said on 21st November 2013, 12:18

    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.

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

  12. lordhesketh (@lordhesketh) said on 21st November 2013, 12:33

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

    • Mike (@mike) said on 22nd November 2013, 0:17

      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. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 21st November 2013, 12:35

    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.

    • drmouse (@drmouse) said on 21st November 2013, 13:21

      The sound of grid full of these things will beā€¦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.

      • 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. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 21st November 2013, 12:38

    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. Yosi (@yoshif8tures) said on 21st November 2013, 12:56

    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. Deej92 (@deej92) said on 21st November 2013, 13:33

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

  17. TMF (@tmf42) said on 21st November 2013, 13:41

    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. Prof Kirk (@prof-kirk) said on 21st November 2013, 14:05

    Really excited about this series.

    Anybody else reminded of ‘real’ rc cars?

  19. Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 21st November 2013, 14:45

    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. Roald (@roald) said on 21st November 2013, 15:32

    Looks better than modern F1 cars do!

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