FIA Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich set the fastest time in the Berlin Rookie Test, just two tenths of a second off the best time set in practice by Maximilian Günther at the 2023 SABIC Berlin E-Prix double-header race weekend – in the same car.
The new GEN3 race car has already delivered the fastest lap in Formula E history earlier this season while the capacity Berlin crowds at the weekend witnessed more records smashed with a total of 362 overtakes in 83 racing laps.
Yesterday it was the turn of 23 Formula E rookies – none with any experience racing in the series – to put the GEN3 through its paces at the Berlin Tempelhof Circuit. They seized the opportunity to show what the next generation of drivers are capable of in the fastest, lightest, most powerful and efficient electric race car ever built.
Brazilian Drugovich set the standard with a 1.05.509 lap towards the end of the second session of the day which was only 0.208 off Maximilian Günther’s time in the SABIC Berlin E-Prix weekend, set in the same car.
The rookies did not have to factor in energy management, allowing them to push their driving capabilities and new race craft to the absolute limit.
Current DTM champion and sportscar driver Sheldon van der Linde took the top spot in the morning’s running with a 300kW powered-lap, not the full-power 350kW that was available.
Luca Ghiotto (Nissan Formula E Team) wound up second, just 0.073s back. The former FIA Formula 2 driver’s best lap from the morning session was set in 350kW mode, as was Mahindra Racing Test and Reserve driver Jehan Daruvala in third and former Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat in fourth spot.
Felipe Drugovich jumped into the Maserati MSG Racing fold for the day, and found himself 12th in the morning’s running, 0.765s shy of the ultimate pace.
Reigning FIA Formula 3 champion Victor Martins fared better in the Nissan – winding up eighth, inside half a second of Sheldon van der Linde’s benchmark.
The afternoon’s running proved quicker than the morning with Felipe Drugovich, Nissan’s Victor Martins and Luca Ghiotto, and Zane Maloney (Avalanche Andretti Formula E Team) all inside Sheldon van der Linde’s time from the opening session.
Van der Linde couldn’t replicate his earlier pace and ended his second session early after an incident by the Airplane turn left the right front corner and front wing of his Jaguar I-PACE 6 missing. He wound up in 16th this time around.
Reigning FIA Formula 3 champion Victor Martins was a tenth of a second back from Drugovich in the second session, with FIA Rookie of the Year and current F2 racer Zane Maloney third at the chequered flag.
Former F2 driver Ghiotto added the fourth fastest time in the afternoon to the second quickest time he sealed in the morning’s running while Scuderia Ferrari reserve driver Robert Schwarzman and Mahindra Racing reserve Jehan Daruvala rounded out the top six runners.
Sheldon van der Linde, Rookie Test Driver, Jaguar TCS Racing, said
“Experiencing different categories for myself, seeing what suits my style and trying new things out, I’m very thankful for this chance. It’s very nice to be here, and the formula cars are not very natural to me.”
Victor Martins, Rookie Test Driver, Avalanche Andretti, said:
“It was a learning morning for me, I was quite surprised by the power and it’s strange to not have engine noise and to hear the tyres skidding, so you feel the limit more but I was taking pleasure in pushing the car and fighting with it requires more movement compared to an F2 car.”
The second half of Season 9 in the 2023 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship opens on Saturday 6 May with Round 9 at the spiritual home of motorsport – the city streets of Monaco.