The second season of the Formula E Championship has been a rude wake-up call for NEXTEV TCR. After stealing the Driver’s Championship from Renault e.Dams, the Chinese outfit has found themselves on the back foot with their innovative twin motor configuration. But Renault e.Dams stumble at the second round in Putrajaya proved, that in a series still in its technological infancy, even the most bullet-proof teams can get it wrong and leave the door open for a resurgence from the pursuing pack.
eRacing Magazine editor Trent Price caught up with NEXTEV TCR Team Principal, Steven Lu to discuss how the team is regrouping heading into the third round of the championship at Punta Del Este.
Nelson and Oliver have projected contrasting images given their different expectations heading into this year. What’s their involvement been like behind the scenes?
“They are professional racing drivers and they have done great jobs last year and also in the off season testing. We are delighted to see two great drivers in the team and we have done whatever we could to provide a good car for them to win again this year. Both of them gave a lot of great feedback about car and helped a lot for development. Meanwhile they are getting more fans from China, especially Oliver, all the Chinese young fans like his engineering education background, helped us a lot for team image.”
Sam Bird mentioned that weight was still an issue at DS Virgin with their twin motor set-up, but they seem to be getting around the problem. Does this give your TCR hope for better results? Has the extended break given the team time to find some solutions?
“For us also the issue for weight, we have seen progresses from Beijing to Malaysia, and I believe we will get better for next race in Punta and further in the rest of the season. We have to find the balance with torque and balance of the car, we were good in the simulation, and I expect to see better performance later season.”
Renault e.Dams seemed impervious after China, but even they are now looking fragile – does that surprise you?
“No, we thought there might be something in Malaysia as temperature in Beijing is much cooler, but e.Dams cars are really fast for sure, I think they can solve the reliability issues.”
By running two motors was there a risk of having too much torque? If so, how did you get around that?
“We hope to use torque to compensate weight issues, this is the way we are going, and we need a bit more time to setup balance.”
Are there any tracks that you think might suit the car more favourably? Did the team look at the calendar track layouts as a consideration for the twin-motor/single gear set-up?
“From Punta we will have more favourable tracks. We did consider track conditions, but there are many more new tracks.”
One area that TCR has carried over from last year is strong energy management. What do you attribute to this? Good engineering or your drivers?
“It’s a team work, I have to special thank for Craig from OmniGear for his contribution to the team, we have been working very hard to get to know EV from season One, and drivers also did great works to make it happen.”