Kiwi driver at forefront of E class on the rise
Evans looking forward to improved season with Jaguar in Formula E class which is rapidly gaining traction among many of the world’s leading car manufacturers F
ormula E is now in its fourth season and has firmly established itself as a championship to watch.
Sure, the cars sound like angry vacuum cleaners with something stuck in the nozzle but it’s probably no worse than the current Formula One cars.
The series has many of the major car manufacturers backing teams, with the likes of Porsche getting involved in the near future.
The major point of difference Formula E has over any other form of motorsport ( other than DTM) is that every driver is paid by the teams to race.
That’s right; it’s not the size of a driver’s bank account that will get them a seat, rather the size of his or her talent.
Last season’s newcomer, Panasonic Jaguar Racing Team, signed young New Zealander Mitch Evans for the 2016- 17 season and he’s been retained for the 2017- 18 championship, which kicks off this weekend on the streets of Hong Kong.
Although a rookie last season in a fledgling team that spent most of the series on the back foot, Evans was ranked one of the top 10 drivers.
“Just in the 14 months since my first race in Formula E, it’s grown so fast,” said Evans from Hong Kong.
“It’s getting very big, very quickly, and everyone in the championship is getting really excited to see where it’s heading. It’s all very positive at the moment, with all the big manufacturers getting involved.
“A lot of people didn’t take it very seriously when it first started, but a lot of views are changing now, especially with drivers. All the drivers are paid professionals and the racing is at a very high level.
“The quality of the drivers is so high and every driver in the championship is world class. It’s getting to the stage now, there i s so much demand from the driver market to get into Formula E.
“There are queues of drivers trying to break into Formula E, it’s that good, which in turn goes to show just how highly regarded and popular the championship is.
“I really enjoy the racing and I’m loving it. We get to race in the middle of some incredible, big and iconic cities.”
Evans has a new teammate in Nelson Piquet jnr this year. The Brazilian has a well regarded CV, having raced in Formula One, GP2, A1GP, Nascar and Global Rally Cross.
He brings a wealth of Formula E experience to the new team, having won the first Formula E championship in 2014.
“It’s great to have Nelson on board as he brings a lot of experience to the team we were lacking last season. It’s not that we don’t have the right people in the team, it’s just that we were all new at the same time.
“We were all trying to help each other but we had no one whose brains we could pick who had been in another team, or season before.
“To get someone like Nelson involved has been really helpful, as he has different ideas at times.
“On a personal level, it will be great to work with him and I can evolve even more by racing with him and I hope we can share a lot of success this season,” said Evans.
The Kiwi and his team will be looking to make a big leap forward this season, as they will now have a car on a par with the rest of field.
In Jaguar’s first tilt at the championship, they were late to the party and had little development time. As a result, they were consistently playing catch- up using older and, for them, untested powertrains.
“There’s been a big change with the car. We’ve got a whole new powertrain and everything that could be changed within the regulations has been changed. I think over 200 components have been changed on the car and it’s looking a lot more positive for this season.
“Testing seemed to go all right and we were comfortably inside the top 10. Hong Kong is a completely different circuit, as it’s quite short and tight. We’ll just have to see how we go during practice and qualifying.
“It’s not my favourite circuit, but the team has grown so much over the past 12 months and we’re looking forward to going racing this weekend and getting some good results,” he said.
TVNZ has recently taken the opportunity to show the races live for the 2017- 18 season.
A lot of people didn’t take it very seriously when it first started, but a lot of views are changing now, especially with drivers. All the drivers are paid professionals and the racing is at a very high level. Mitch Evans on Formula E
Mitch Evans practises tai chi in the build- up to the opening round of Formula E in Hong Kong.