DTM ace Paffett gets Formula E seat
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”.