Lopez: Dragon's Gen2 FE car a 'fresh start' for the team
Only just last week did the world learn that three-time World Touring Car champion and current Toyota LMP1 driver Jose Maria Lopez will remain with Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing outfit for a second consecutive season in Formula E.
“We only really needed the confirmation”, said Lopez.
“It was already decided a few a few weeks ago, but you’re never completely sure until you see the official release!”
Joining the Formula E grid in season three, Lopez was originally partnered at DS Virgin Racing alongside Sam Bird, but was replaced before he could finished the season by Alex Lynn. In a twist of fate the move saw Lopez find a home at Dragon Racing in season four – replacing former Porsche LMP1 driver Neel Jani after just two rounds.
“I’m very happy as I wanted to continue after I joined the team last year”, admits Lopez. “We made huge progress during the season and were clearly fighting for podiums in the end.
“Now with the new generation car we start fresh, but we’ve been working hard, so I hope it’s enough to fight from the start of the season”.
After some initial upheaval in staffing, the Dragon team turned their fortunes around to be hunting for podiums by season’s end – with Lopez securing much needed points at the Punta del Este and Paris rounds. Lopez however doesn’t believe there was one silver bullet that marked the turnaround in performance.
“It’s hard to say”, says Lopez. “When I arrived it was a hard time for the team, but I drew on the experience I had from my previous year, did the work and we started to see progress.
“There’s been some new crew come in with the new car and it’s going to be even more difficult with factory teams joining. But we’re committed and have a big passion for motor racing. Jay (Penske) has racing in his blood so we’re looking for results”.
Lopez believes that along with rounding off the rough edge of his own and his team’s performances, the continuity that Dragon has carried through will be key to moving Dragon further up the grid.
“The car was already very good, but from my side there were some little mistakes in the beginning that really didn’t show what I could have achieved.
“At the end of the year we knew we had the potential and we’ve learnt from it”.
Images: FIA Formula E
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