Fortune was not on the side of Venturi GP at the New York ePrix season finale.
Tom Dillmann, substituting for Edoardo Mortara who was away racing in DTM, fared a season best of 4th place in Saturday’s race, but was forced to retire early on Sunday due to a gearbox failure.
Heading out first in mixed conditions during group qualifying didn’t help matters for the Frenchman either.
“We were very unlucky in qualifying being in Group 1 with a drying track, there was not much more we could have done.” said Dillmann. “I was even in front of my teammate [Engel], who was in Group 3, so I think my lap was not too bad.
“Then the race – Good start, I passed the Dragon [car] straight away. Then the gearbox broke down and that was it for us.”
Dillmann’s teammate, Maro Engel, succumbed to similar mechanical issues that took him out of points scoring contention.
“Maro broke the gearbox in the first stint and the inverter in the second stint. It was not our day.
“The car has to do 12 races – looks like it could only do 11 this year!”
Dillmann said the mechanical faults masked the true pace and efficiency of the Venturi powertrain.
“We had good pace as well – good efficiency. I was under-consuming quite a bit and still overtaking people in the beginning, so we were looking very strong. Also, it was cooler than [Saturday], which helped us in general.
“Obviously we cannot really fight Techeetah and Audi and Renault, but I think we were in the mix for the Top 6. Realistically we would have been in the points easily.”
Although it may not show in the race results, Dillmann said the team has made great strides throughout the season and the progression within the team has been steady.
“I think the team made a huge step in every area in terms of race management. Some teams managed to be lighter than the regulation to run ballast – we don’t. We are slightly overweight. But it’s the small details that make Audi and Renault better.
“It seems in the race, especially when it’s really hot, they are better than everyone. When it’s cooler I think we are quite quick, but when it’s very hot in the race, we struggle. So there must be better efficiency on the thermal degradation that we put on our battery. That’s the main difference.”
Dillmann remained cautious on predictions going into Formula E’s fifth season with the second generation race car, saying it’s too early to tell how Venturi’s package will fare compared to the rest of the field.
“It’s very hard to say. I did three days in the [Gen 2] car with Venturi. It looks very promising. But you don’t know where the others are at. There’s no comparison right now. We need to see.”
Dillmann was optimistic that he will remain in contention for a full time race seat in Formula E for season 5 in spite of a mixed race weekend, although it will unlikely be with Venturi GP.
“A few teams are interested in me before this weekend. Also yesterday’s [4th place finish] boosted myself. At Venturi it seems it’s closed already. We need to wait and see. I still have a chance to be a full time next season. Let’s see.”
In the meantime, Dillmann will be kept busy for the rest of the year, splitting his time between racing for UOMO Sunoco Team LeMans in Japan’s Super Formula Championship, as well as in LMP1 with ByKolles in the World Endurance Championship.
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