It is the only comparison with the competition before the ABB FIA Formula E Championship starts its new season in mid-December: Until coming Friday, all eleven teams are meeting for the official pre-season tests of the racing series in Valencia. On the occasion of the test Audi unveils the liveries of Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi’s all-electric Audi e-tron FE05 cars to media and fans.
#66 and #11 – these are the numbers of the cars in which Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi intend to defend the title in the teams’ classification and battle for the drivers’ title. The 25-year-old German has retained the number he once chose himself whereas the Brazilian is switching back to his favorite number following a year as champion in car number 1. In Valencia, both of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Audi e-tron FE05 cars are on track together for the first time. While Daniel Abt has two white front wheel arches and red mirrors, di Grassi can be recognized by black mirrors and black front wheel arches, among other things.
“Following the private tests in recent months, the pre-season test in Valencia now mark both the conclusion and pinnacle of our preparations on the track,” says Team Principal Allan McNish. “It is the first and only direct comparison with the competition and therefore an important assessment for every team of where it stands.” In addition, a simulation of the new race format that will no longer include a mid-race car swap but a new “attack mode” which is armed when the driver passes through the so called “activation zone” is planned as well. When the driver passes through this zone, the power output of his car will receive a short-term boost.
While Formula E is facing major changes in terms of technology and regulations before season five, Audi has opted for consistency both on the track and trackside: Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi form the only driver pairing in the field to have contested all previous 45 Formula E races side by side. No other duo has clinched as many trophies in the process. All partners and sponsors have remained on board as well.
The pre-season tests in Valencia will continue until Friday. Afterwards, the two Audi e-tron FE05 will return to the team in Kempten once more for preparation before being loaded on November 20 to embark on their journey to Saudi Arabia. On December 15, the first of the new season’s 13 races will be held at Ad Diriyah on the outskirts of Riyadh. Besides the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler factory team, the squad of Envision Virgin Racing will compete with two Audi e-tron FE05 cars driven by Sam Bird and Robin Frijns.