Alexander Sims’ fastest lap on the final day on Formula E testing at Valencia wasn’t enough to overhaul BMW team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa’s overall quickest time of 1:16.977 set on Wednesday morning, but was an indication of the massive turnaround from Andretti Motorsport from last season and the development BMW have invested into their Formula E programme.
“It’s been really exciting to see the development”, says Da Costa.
“Obviously I knew about the programme for a year and a half, but I couldn’t really say or show anything”.
“It’s been really interesting to see how BMW have been working with Andretti and now building their own car and to finally see it last week. We’ve been involved in this from the very beginning so it’s a very proud moment for all of us”.
Da Costa and Simms were first and third over the combined three days of testing, split only by last year’s champion Jean-Eric Vergne in the DS Techeetah entry. It was night and day from their previous season, which saw the Andretti team finish last in the standings during BMW’s exploratory year in the series.
“It’s been very promising”, says Da Costa. “We got off to a good start from the word go – so that was really positive. We’ve done a lot of testing – 15 days that each manufacturer gets – and we worked hard and went through a lot. It’s nice to see that we’re on the pace together with everyone on track”.
Da Costa however isn’t placing huge emphasis on testing times given the lack of representation that Circuit Ricardo Tormo has for the street circuits the teams will face later in the year with the first competitive outing at the SAUDIA Ad Diriyah E-Prix on December 15.
“Maybe we can conduct an efficiency comparison between the manufacturers, but I think the way we do a race simulation and the way we save energy (at Valencia) has nothing to do with racing”.
“Probably the slowest corner at Valencia is one of the quickest corners we’ll have at the championship, so it’s not really worth it”.
Whilst the factory outfits are all boasting of synergy between their commercial and racing departments there appears to be a genuinely refined association between the Andretti racing team and BMW’s electric road programme.
“It’s no bullshit that the OEM’s and the manufacturers are there to push the boundaries. The OEM’s go conservative and then they release an electric programme”, Antonio explains.
“If you’re racing you have to go very aggressive with your development and then after then you can bring it down. The approach is the exact opposite. We’re actually pushing the road department a lot harder, so for BMW it really is a lab to develop their electric road cars”.
“All the engineers at BMW are really enjoying being a part of it. These are engineers that aren’t normally involved in racing .It’s good to see that. Now hopefully the powertrain has some juice in it and we can go for it”.
Images: BMW Motorsport
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