The first official driver placements have been announced for the inaugural season of the FIA’s Formula E all electric championship, shortly after the last set of drivers were revealed as part of the Drivers’ Club. ABT Sportsline have confirmed former Formula One and Audi factory driver Lucas di Grassi and the team principle’s own son, Daniel Abt as the duo to contend for the Formula E title.
Lucas di Grassi perhaps comes as no surprise given his recent promotion as replacement driver for Allan McNish in the World Endurance Championship, driving Audi’s R18 e-tron quattro. Although the German team is the first of the ten teams to have presented its driver line-up, other teams drivers are quite likely already settled, including Marco Andretti for the Andretti team. The inaugural event of the new fully-electric race series will take place in Beijing, China, on 13 September 2014.
Team owner Hans-Jürgen Abt said:
“In Daniel and Lucas we’ve signed our absolutely ideal pairing. My thanks go to Audi who released Lucas for the Formula E commitment. He’s been involved in the development of the series right from the beginning and is one of the most sought-after names on the scene – we’re proud that he’s opted for us.”
The 29-year-old Brazilian has previously competed in Formula One, various Formula series and endurance races. In 2014 di Grassi is again part of the Audi squad, running in the FIA World Endurance Championship including Le Mans. Lucas said:
“I’m delighted that Audi is giving me the opportunity to drive in sports car racing as well as in Formula E. I’ve been watching ABT Sportsline on track for a long time – a very professional and cool outfit. It’s great that it worked out. We’ve got ambitious plans.”
Lucas was the only FIA Formula E official driver up until the announcement of the Drivers’ Club last month. As such, you might say he is the most experienced having seen the development first hand. His first Formula E test with ABT is scheduled for June.
The second seat for the only German Formula E team goes to Daniel Abt. The 21-year-old is starting his second GP2 season in 2014 after having previously clinched the runner-up’s spot in the GP3 Championship. As the son of team owner and CEO Hans-Jürgen Abt he was one of the first applicants. Daniel said:
“I was really thrilled with the ideas of Formula E from the very beginning and obviously even more about ABT Sportsline competing with a team of their own. That I’m part of the line-up in the inaugural season is both an honour and a huge challenge.”
Formula E is a new FIA racing championship featuring fully-electric single-seater race cars. The series will compete in the heart of 10 of the world’s leading cities – including Germany’s capital Berlin – with 10 teams, each with two drivers, going head-to-head to create a unique and exciting racing series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans. The only German race will take place in Berlin on 30 May 2015.
Although the inaugural event in Beijing will not be held until 13 September preparations are already in full swing. In May the ten international teams are scheduled to move into their new, state-of-the-art headquarters in Donington Park, UK, where the Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E cars will be prepared for initial track tests.
Thomas Biermaier, who, as sports director, is responsible for all motorsport activities at ABT, said:
“All our plans for Formula E are perfectly on track. The two drivers we’d been wishing to sign are on board and our discussions with partners, sponsors, engineers and mechanics are making very good progress as well.”
Everyone is invited to see the Formula E race car in the flesh on ABT Sportsline’s stand at the Geneva Motor Show, between the 6th to 16th March 2014.
Source; FIA Formula E