Jaguar has stellar weekend at São Paulo E-Prix

Jaguar has stellar weekend at São Paulo E-Prix
New Zealander Mitch Evans of the Jaguar TCS team celebrates after winning the São Paulo E-Prix. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Isaac Fontana)

Jaguar had a fantastic day at the office at the São Paulo E-Prix, locking out the podium with its powertrain. Executing a stellar energy management strategy was the key for the team, which maximised where others fell short.

Jaguar TCS Racing came out on top at the São Paulo E-Prix in Brazil over the weekend, where the outfit claimed all three podium spots.

The team’s Mitch Evans pulled off a powerful drive from third on the grid, staying on pace with those ahead and biding his time for the perfect moment to seal his win.

On lap 32 of 35, the Kiwi made his move down the inside of Turn 1, outbreaking leader Nick Cassidy. With a few laps to go, his position was by no means certain, but he managed to hold off those behind to take the chequered flag.

“This win has come at the perfect time… to finally get a victory is incredible. This is all down to the hard work of the team; there’s a lot of graft that goes in, so much work into the strategy, to try and put it together is not easy, so I’m super happy to get some big points on the board,” Evans told the media after the race.

Teamwork was certainly a highlight of the weekend, with the Envision Racing vehicle of Cassidy, with a Jaguar powertrain in the back, taking second. With Jaguar TCS Racing’s Sam Bird clinching third place, this sealed a one-two-three result with three Jaguar-powered cars dominating the podium for a historic result.

Mitch Evans of Jaguar TCS Racing (left) battles Nick Cassidy of Envision Racing for the lead at the São Paulo E-Prix. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Isaac Fontana)

“Amazing for Jaguar TCS Racing to get the podium locked out. Massive hats off to the team here and back at base, it’s a brilliant result,” Bird said.

With the added point for the fastest lap going to Bird, the team leaves Brazil with 41 points and third in the constructor standings. 

Energy management: the greatest rival

Formula E racing is as much about energy management as it is about daring overtakes and skilful driving. In São Paulo, teams knew that energy strategy would be key: the 2.96km circuit is made up of four long straights with just 11 turns.

This meant that drivers were pushing full speeds for longer periods down the straights, with fewer breaking zones where they could recover energy, requiring them to lift off the power to save as much as possible – not ideal for the innate desire to drive flat-out, but absolutely essential in a championship powered by batteries.

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“It’s an energy-intensive circuit, and it will be quite difficult for teams and drivers to meet their lap-by-lap energy targets… A lot of lifting will be required, and some energy will be recovered in the braking zones, but the long straights will also consume a lot of energy,” Maserati MSG Racing’s racing director, Jeremy Colancon, predicted.

Long game

Come race day, the track did not disappoint and provided plenty of nail-biting moments as drivers pushed the limit.

Strategy, as in any racing series, was vital to maximise result, and forced teams to play the long game – which is where Jaguar and Evans excelled.

“With a strong car and a proven team, we knew it was about executing a clean weekend with a great strategy and that’s what we did today,” said Jaguar team principal James Barclay.

Unfortunately, energy strategy was also what caught out reigning champion and pole sitter Stoffel Vandoorne, forcing him down the order of a race that he led for a good length of time.

From left: Race winner Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Team principal James Barclay and Sam Bird, who finished third, celebrate with the trophies after the São Paulo E-Prix. (Photo: Andrew Ferraro / LAT Images)

In this case, being the first car was not the advantage for Vandoorne. While his DS Penske vehicle was pushing through the air, the cars after Vandoorne could slot into his slipstream, using less energy per lap than the pole sitter.

In a race that was predicted to be all about energy management from the beginning, Vandoorne lost out in the latter laps, forced to save where his rivals had energy to spare, seeing him fall down to sixth by the end.

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“We led the race for too long, and then at a certain point, the energy deficit I had compared to my rivals was too much. This meant I couldn’t fight with them anymore and I lost some places,” the Belgium lamented at the end of the race.

Wehrlein holds onto the lead

While Jaguar was the team of the race, championship leader Pascal Wehrlein won the fan vote for driver of the race, and deservedly so. The Porsche driver failed to impress in qualifying, seeing him start from 18th.

Wehrlein more than made up for his qualifying performance, putting in a mega drive through the field to land up in seventh place. His show in São Paulo saw him maintain his lead in the championship and he goes into the next race with an advantage of more than 20 points. DM

Formula E races again on 22 April in Berlin, Germany.


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