On Sunday 9 October the electric race cars of team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport will compete in Hong Kong at the Formula E event, under the banner of the four rings for the first time.
Audi is using this 2016/17 season to learn more about the world's first fully electric racing series to prepare for the next season on the road to a full factory-backed commitment. Allan McNish, former Formula 1 driver and Le Mans winner, has the responsibility of coordinating the Formula E project at Audi Sport in Neuburg, and will be on site at the season opener alongside the Deputy Head of Audi Motorsport, Dieter Gass.
Intensive preparation has been undertaken by team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport with thorough testing of the ABT Schaeffler FE02 electric race car. Official tests were completed at Donington Park on 7 September before dyno tests were added to the agenda. Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi, the team drivers, practiced on the near three-kilometre-long track in the Hong Kong harbour in the simulator, delivering valuable information for setting up the car and the software to the team’s engineers.
“Similar to the DTM, the Formula E race cars are homologated and cannot be altered during the season,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “At the same time, the software, which is so crucial to energy management in Formula E, can be constantly worked on. We have plenty of experience in this field, from the FIA World Endurance Championship, which we can use to support the team.”
The team's four race cars were loaded on to a plane and transported to Hong Kong in mid-September and delivered to the circuit on 6 October. In total, the team has sent around eight tons of materials on the Formula E world tour.
The temporary pits are now to be set up in the paddock area of the racetrack, located near the famous Star Ferry terminal in the Hong Kong harbour. Subsequently, the team will start working on the race cars and present them to the FIA for technical scrutineering, including the sealing of the motors, inverters, transmissions and other components.
On Saturday, 8 October, from 15:00 to 15:30, a brief shakedown session on the track is scheduled followed by two free practice sessions, as well as a qualifying round which is split between four groups, followed by a “Super Pole” – individual time trials by the quickest five on 9 October. The first race of the new Formula E season begins at 16:00 (10:00 CEST). The opener of the third Formula E season will be broadcast on television worldwide in 120 countries, and hundreds of media representatives have been accredited.
At fanboost.fiaformulae.com, motorsport fans can help Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi in the race with their votes on the so-called “FanBoost”. Through voting, three drivers each receive extra power for a short time, up to 270 hp. In normal race conditions, the power output of the ABT Schaeffler FE02 is 231 hp.
As an introduction to the Formula E opener, Audi Hong Kong has invited ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport to a reception on Friday evening, 7 October, in the showroom at the Admiralty Centre close to the track.