The first outing of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Cape Town treated fans in the packed grandstands to the most gripping race of the season. Spectacular wheel-to-wheel duels and overtaking manoeuvres on the 2.927-kilometer (1.82-mile) circuit in the picture postcard setting between the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain perfectly showcased the fascination of fully electric motorsports. For the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, this marked the third victory after five rounds of the season.
Despite his early retirement, Pascal Wehrlein, the winner of both races at Diriyah, leads the drivers’ standings of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with 80 points. Thanks to his first win with Porsche, António Félix da Costa has moved up the rankings to fourth place with 46 points. The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team extends its lead in the team classification with 126 points. The Porsche customer squad Avalanche Andretti occupies third place after André Lotterer (GER) finished ninth and Jake Dennis (GBR) finished in P13.
With his charge from P11 to first place, António Félix da Costa drove one of the best races in his Formula E career on the picturesque city circuit. At the wheel of his Porsche 99X Electric, he immediately launched his charge up the order and ploughed through the field – especially in the second half of the race: after 21 of the 32 laps he was running third, and in lap 24 he put in a spirited overtaking move to snatch the lead. After pulling clear of his pursuers, he activated his attack mode but had to try a second time and lost his lead. However, the Portuguese racer refused to give up and, with another impressive overtaking manoeuvre on the penultimate lap, brought home the well-deserved victory. A collision in the first lap threw his teammate Pascal Wehrlein out of the race.
Comments on the Cape Town E-Prix, Race 5
Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport: “That was an incredible race with a fantastic result for Porsche. I’m thrilled that António has won his first race as a Porsche works driver and scored crucial points for the team. It’s a shame about Pascal. His qualifying performance was very strong but he made a mistake in the race. Still, mistakes happen. All the better if your teammate can step up. We have two drivers who can win races. I’m proud of the whole team. That was our third win of the season. Now we have to stay focused.”
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E: “The Formula E debut in Cape Town was a great event. Fantastic circuit, great racing, avid fans and victory for António – this was the best advertising for Formula E. I’m delighted for António. He made a minor error in qualifying but made up for it with a sensational race. On the flip side, I’m very sorry for Pascal. But we’re a team. We win together and we lose together. He’ll be back at the next races to show what he’s capable of. Now, for the first time this season, we have a four-week break. The team will use this time to recharge our batteries. And then we’ll be back at full revs in Sao Paulo.”
António Félix da Costa, Porsche works driver (#13): “I still can’t believe it. What a race! Clinching my first win for Porsche here in Cape Town after starting from P11 is simply fantastic. It actually felt like an endurance race with so much happening. Our strategy worked perfectly and I tried to keep my cool over the whole distance but when I crossed the finish line, I got a bit tearful. I want to thank everyone in the team for their terrific support and trust. It spurred me on and made this achievement possible.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94): “That was a disappointing race for me. After qualifying well, I could have achieved a lot today. That was obviously my fault. I braked a little too late and a little too hard, the wheels locked up and I couldn’t avoid the collision. Mistakes happen. I’m now looking ahead. It was a great day for Porsche. The team and I are very pleased about António’s win.”
The next race for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team is the Sao Paulo E-Prix on March 25 – round 6 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. This is the first Formula E race in Brazil.
Another unfamiliar racetrack awaits teams and drivers in Cape Town – only two weeks after the race in Hyderabad. Pascal Wehrlein and António Félix da Costa from the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team underlined in India that they can easily handle such challenges: The German extended his lead in the drivers’ standings, with his Portuguese teammate clinching his first podium for Porsche. In the team rankings, the squad from Weissach moved to the top of the leaderboard for the first time in its fourth Formula E season.
The Porsche customer team Avalanche Andretti will also tackle the race in Cape Town with two Porsche 99X Electric. The racing crew of the American motorsport legend Michael Andretti currently ranks second in the team standings behind the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team. Competing for the team are Jake Dennis (GBR), currently second in the drivers’ classification, and André Lotterer (GER).
Q&A on the Cape Town E-Prix
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E
You took the lead in the world championship in Hyderabad under tricky conditions. How did you manage that? What sets your team apart?
Florian Modlinger: “It was possibly due to the sensational team effort. Starting with the mechanics who rebuilt the car overnight after Pascal’s accident during the practice session, to the engineers who analysed the data and fixed the problems. And let’s not forget the drivers. Missing the first free practice was a clear disadvantage compared to their rivals but they made the most out of it. Pascal in particular made a huge impression with his mental grit and incredible performance on race day. I’m extremely proud of the attitude and willpower of everyone on the team.”
They didn’t let setbacks throw them out of kilter. Where does this mental toughness come from?
Modlinger: “The team has an incredible spirit and impressive tenacity. We focussed on this pre-season, and I think we saw the result of this work in Hyderabad. To stand strong and united after such a setback and get the most out of the situation is what makes a top team.”
How do you regard the state of play after the first quarter of the Formula E season?
Modlinger: “We had a sensational start to the season and we’ve demonstrated that our Porsche 99X Electric is capable of winning on different racetracks. The team and drivers have maintained an incredible focus in the first four races. We must keep working hard to remain among the frontrunners in the future. There’s still potential in the overall package. We have to tap into that. The situation can change quickly because the learning curve with the new cars is still very steep. That’s why we must ensure that our package continues to evolve from race to race.”
António Félix da Costa, Porsche works driver (#13)
How relieved were you after clinching your first podium as a Porsche works driver?
António Félix da Costa: “It wasn’t so much relief that I felt but more happy and satisfied that the work with my team led to such a great result. But we’re not quite where we want to be. I still need to get to know the car better so that I can tap into its full potential. The support I receive from my team and engineers helps tremendously. We’re making good progress. It felt great to achieve my first podium for Porsche.”
You’re facing another completely new racetrack in Cape Town within just two weeks of Hyderabad. What’s the biggest challenge?
da Costa: “A new circuit is always tricky, making meticulous preparation all the more important. Without being able to draw on experience from previous years, we have to do more foundation work in the simulator. That takes time. However, we adjusted well to the new circuit in Hyderabad and I’m very confident we’ll do the same in Cape Town. We’ve gained a lot of experience and we now know how the process works.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94)
You had a rocky start to the race weekend in Hyderabad but it ended on a positive note. What have you learned heading to Cape Town?
Pascal Wehrlein: “It certainly wasn’t an easy weekend. We only get two practice sessions for each race and so it’s not ideal for preparation when you miss out on one because of an incident. Still, we made the best of it. Our mechanics worked through the night with only an hour’s sleep to put my car back on the track. I was in the hospital until late at night. So with this in mind, I’m very happy with the result. These points are crucial for the championship.”
Not everything ran to plan in qualifying. What happened there and what do you expect in Cape Town?
Wehrlein: “Because of the missed practice, we didn’t have much time to tweak the setup of my car to the track in Hyderabad. In this respect, the qualifying is no indication of our true performance level. In Cape Town, we face a new track with new conditions. We need to find out what it takes to be fast on this circuit. Like all the others, we’re starting from scratch. As far as the city of Cape Town is concerned, this is definitely a highlight of the season. I’m looking forward to it and I’m thrilled to have the chance to race in such a fantastic place.”
The 2.927-kilometre racetrack winds around the 2010 FIFA world cup stadium and through two of the city’s trendiest districts. Green Point and Waterfront. Featuring long straights and just twelve turns, this circuit is one of the fastest on the Formula E calendar.
Live TV and Internet coverage
The worldwide broadcasting schedule of the Formula E event in Cape Town is available at: https://www.fiaformulae.com/watch/ways-to-watch.
The Media Service
The first photos from Cape Town will be available on the Porsche press database on 24 February. The race report follows on 25 February (race 5). Further information about the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team will be posted live on the Twitter channel @PorscheFormulaE All relevant information about the team, the drivers and the racing series can be found in the Porsche Formula E Media Guide. The content will be regularly updated throughout the season and expanded with additional interactive material.
The Porsche 99X Electric Gen3
Porsche contests season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with the Porsche 99X Electric Gen3. The new electric racing car featuring the Porsche E-Performance Powertrain – which underwent modifications in Weissach for the third generation vehicle in the innovative electric racing series – also serves as a development platform for the sports car manufacturer’s fully-electric production models. Energy management and efficiency are important factors for success in Formula E and Porsche’s all-electric production cars. The maximum output of the Porsche 99X Electric Gen3 is 350 kW (476 PS), which is 100 kW more than the predecessor generation (Gen2). At least 40 percent of the energy used is recuperated via regenerative braking. The new Gen3 cars are the fastest, lightest, most powerful and most efficient electric vehicles ever built.
Porsche Taycan Turbo S safety car
Porsche is committed to Formula E safety: With the all-electric Taycan Turbo S, Porsche again supplies the official safety car this season – thus underlining the importance of Formula E for Porsche Motorsport. Thanks to its driveability and safety as well as an output of up to 560 kW (761 PS), the top model in the Taycan range is the ideal choice as a safety car in the world’s first electric racing series. The striking paintwork incorporates the colours of all eleven competing teams as well as those of the FIA and Formula E. The design symbolises the joint commitment to the future of all-electric motor racing as well as social values such as diversity and community.
Formula E is the world’s first fully-electric racing series bringing thrilling motorsport to people living in major cities since 2014. As an accelerator for innovative and sustainable mobility technologies, it promotes the worldwide acceptance of electric vehicles. Eleven teams tackle the 2022/2023 season with 22 drivers. This guarantees interesting and fiercely competitive races. The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team contests its fourth season of the innovative electric racing series with the Porsche 99X Electric Gen3.
The races 2023
16 races in eleven metropolitan areas are on the calendar of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship 2022/2023.
14 January – Mexico City (Mexico)
Races 2 & 3
27 / 28 January – Diriyah (Saudi-Arabia)
11 February – Hyderabad (India)
25 February – Cape Town (South Africa)
25 March – Sao Paulo (Brasilia)
Races 7 & 8
22 / 23 April – Berlin (Germany)
6 May – Monte-Carlo (Monaco)
Races 10 & 11
3 / 4 June – Jakarta (Indonesia)
24 June – Portland (USA)
Races 13 & 14
15 / 16 July - Rome (Italy)
Races 15 & 16
29 / 30 July – London (Great Britain)