Mahindra Valencia Mahindra Valencia

Formula E: Mahindra and Abt Cupra test in Valencia

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Last week, the first official test drive for all teams for the ninth season of Formula E took place in Valencia, Spain. A special milestone, because the teams drove for the first time with the new vehicle generation, referred to as "Gen 3"
Moritz Nöding,
Moritz Nöding spends much of his time at international race tracks. He is working as Press Officer for motorsports at ZF and is in charge of internal and external motorsport communications for the company.
The focus of the ZF engineers and the Mahindra team was on the successful development and testing of the newly developed powertrain for the Gen 3 vehicle, which Mahindra and, for the first time, the Mahindra customer team Abt Cupra will launch. With a maximum output of 350 kW, the vehicles are not only more powerful than Gen 2, they are also lighter and more efficient with a maximum weight of 840 kg and a maximum recuperation of 600 kW. This has a direct impact on the powertrain. The inverter, for example, had to be completely redesigned to adapt to the new power levels. In addition, a new, powerful processor was implemented, which offers the development team greater potential for performance optimization, especially in the area of ​​software control.

Other development goals included weight reduction and a new coating for the ZF gearbox, which is already considered one of the most efficient in the field. The electric motor also contributes to improving the overall system with a higher top speed and a simultaneous weight advantage.
In addition to Oliver Rowland, Formula E legend Lucas di Grassi will be at the start for Mahindra this year. Di Grassi has been part of the grid since the first Formula E race in 2014 and leads the all-time points table as the most successful Formula E driver.

Nico Müller from Switzerland and Robin Frijns from the Netherlands will start for Abt Cupra this year – both are experienced Formula E drivers and have already been successful for Abt in the DTM.
Another highlight: ZF Race Engineering is now equipping all Formula E teams with standard, 5-way adjustable standard shock absorbers. The design, which has already been used by some Formula E teams in previous seasons, has been made significantly more robust and the stability of the setting has been increased. The dampers are designed for 25kN in the compression stage and 15kN in the rebound stage - impressive values ​​for dampers of this dimension.

The test week passed without any technical difficulties for the ZF-equipped teams, even if the lap times in Valencia traditionally do not allow any major conclusions to be drawn about the performance of the teams. This is not least due to the track characteristics of a classic circuit, which are unusual for Formula E. The tracks actually driven on in the racing calendar are mostly temporary street circuits, which are often characterized by rather slower, winding track sections. In the first session on Tuesday, Oliver Rowland in the Mahindra was able to make his mark with a third place in the timesheets. On Thursday, Rowland even posted the second-fastest time in the field.

Sascha Ricanek, Managing Director of ZF Race Engineering, is looking forward to the start of the season:

“Formula E is really taking off in its ninth season: More powerful vehicles, four new racetracks and we are represented in four cars with our electric ZF powertrain for the first time. That makes us proud, and we hope that together with our partners Mahindra Racing and Abt Cupra we can finish on the podium as often as possible.”

Thomas Biermaier, CEO ABT Sportsline and Team Principal ABT CUPRA FE, is confident about Abt's return to Formula E:

"ABT and ZF have been working together successfully in many racing series for a long time. We are therefore very pleased that our two brands are now forming a team in Formula E and that they also have common ideas for the future. ZF's experience and expertise in powertrain development, as well as the physical proximity of our two companies, played an important role in the decision to choose Mahindra Racing as the manufacturer. Of course, when we come back to Formula E as a small team, we are initially in the role of the underdog. Nevertheless, we want to set one or two exclamation marks in the first season of the new Formula E era.”

At Mahindra Racing, a new team principal, Fredric Bertrand, is responsible for the success of the Indian-British racing team:

"It is great to see the new Gen3 cars on track and we are very excited to develop our relationship with ZF throughout Season 9. Our aim is to be competitive, and it is important to work with a strong partner to achieve this ambition. We are hoping to be fighting to be at the front with ZF as often as possible."