McLaren driver Jake Hughes took an unofficial first win of Formula E’s Gen3 era at Valencia today in a simulated race organised to test aspects of the new sporting and technical landscape .
Hughes beat Maximilian Guenther’s Maserati by 1.64 seconds in the 25-lap encounter that featured a rolling start and a randomly assorted grid.
A mock qualifying session took place earlier in the day but wasn’t used for the grid. It had been organised without the usual ‘pre-duel’ group aspect of the format, with all 22 cars on track at the same time for 12 minutes of action.
The maximum total power output of the RESS battery was 300 kW throughout practice, although upped to the 350kW maximum for qualifying – with Guenther setting the fastest lap and reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne joining him on the notional front row of the grid with new employer DS Penske.
Both placed in the top six in the early running of the race, which featured pitlane starts for Jaguar pair Sam Bird and Mitch Evans.
Sergio Sette Camara failed to get away in his NIO 333 with a suspected battery problem, while both Nick Cassidy and Dan Ticktum pitted on the first lap with issues. Andre Letterer’s Andretti Porsche also pitted early with a brake-by-wire problem although he did make the chequered flag after the lengthy stop.
Cassidy and Lotterer briefly returned to the fray, with the Kiwi having started in the car previously nominated for Envision team-mate Sebastien Buemi and vice versa. Both Cassidy and Lotterer did subsequently come in again to retire, while Buemi also visited the Envision Racing pit but did complete the race and was classified 15th.
Nissan duo Sacha Fenestraz and Norman Nato parked their cars before the chequered flag, as did Bird, who was unhappy with the brakes on his Jaguar I-Type6.
Both Abt Cupra entries finished the race in the pitlane, with Robin Frijns halted by excessive battery temperature.
The race featured both a safety car and full course yellow test period, leading to one race lap being added to the event.
‘Winner’ Hughes had earlier followed team-mate Rene Rast, who headed the early running, but made a move to claim a lead he would not lose. Rast completed his race in third, while Pascal Wehrlein’s Porsche that initially sat in third place faded to fifth after both Guenther and Jean-Eric Vergne’s DS Penske found a way through for fourth place.
Edoardo Mortara made it three DS-powered cars in the top six in his Maserati MSG package ahead of a long train of cars that was headed by Antonio Felix da Costa’s Porsche, Vandoorne’s DS and Mahindra pair Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Rowland, who recovered from an unspecified issue in the practice session which limited his running.
Guenther was again fastest overall in the general test times for the day.