DTM ace Paf­fett gets Formula E seat

Autosport (UK) - - CONTENTS - ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Mercedes DTM star Gary Paf­fett is to switch to Formula E with HWA – the same team with which he is bid­ding for a se­cond Ger­man tin-top crown in this week­end’s Hock­en­heim fi­nale.

The 37-year-old Bri­ton, who has FE ex­pe­ri­ence from the se­ries’ in­au­gu­ral rookie test in Mar­rakech last Jan­uary, rep­re­sents HWA in its de­but cam­paign in the elec­tric cham­pi­onship af­ter Mercedes’ pull-out from the DTM. The team is a pre­cur­sor to the works Merc squad, which takes over for the 2019-20 sea­son.

“It’s in­cred­i­bly valu­able to have such an ex­pe­ri­enced man as Gary at the wheel,” said HWA head of FE op­er­a­tions Franco Chioc­chetti, who was for­merly Lu­cas di Grassi’s en­gi­neer at the Abt Audi squad. “His feed­back is an im­por­tant in­di­ca­tor for the fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of the cars.”

As a cus­tomer Ven­turi squad, HWA is only guar­an­teed run­ning in the three days of of­fi­cial pre-sea­son FE test­ing, which takes place at

Va­len­cia over Oc­to­ber 16-19.

Two other FE teams have also con­firmed their 2018-19 line-ups. At Virgin Rac­ing, team stal­wart Sam Bird is joined by Robin Fri­jns, who re­turns to FE af­ter a sea­son out fol­low­ing his exit from the Bmw-aligned Andretti squad at the end of the 2016-17 cam­paign.

Virgin will run Audi pow­er­trains as a cus­tomer squad this sea­son, al­though it is un­der­stood that the man­u­fac­turer has granted the team three of its pri­vate test­ing days to dou­ble the squad’s prepa­ra­tion time.

Audi works driver Fri­jns’s place with Virgin is un­der­stood not to be part of the team’s ar­range­ment to run the man­u­fac­turer’s tech­nol­ogy. Audi mo­tor­sport boss Di­eter Gass ex­plained that Fri­jns’s Virgin deal

“is com­pletely sep­a­rate to the con­tract with Audi”.

At NIO, which re­vealed its driver line-up and 004 Gen2 car liv­ery at a smoke-filled Cop­per Box Arena in Lon­don on Mon­day (be­low), Oliver Tur­vey con­tin­ues for a fourth full sea­son with the team along­side new hire Tom Dill­mann. The French­man, who has impressed on 10 FE ap­pear­ances for Ven­turi over the past two sea­sons, said he en­joys “the com­pet­i­tive and pro­fes­sional at­mos­phere within the team”.

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