BMW i Andretti fastest again on final Valencia test day

Antonio Felix da Costa
Antonio Felix da Costa

Antonio Felix da Costa set the pace at pre-season testing in Valencia, showing promising speed from BMW i Andretti Motorsport in their first season as a full factory team in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

After three days of testing at Circuit Ricardo Tormo with the new Gen2 machinery, Da Costa posted a best time of 1:16.977s – over three-tenths clear of his closest rival and reigning Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne for DS TECHEETAH.

Alexander Sims gave BMW a clean sweep of fastest times in Formula E's official 2018/19 pre-season testing at Valencia as he set the fastest lap of the final day.

Sims, who also topped the opening day of running at the Ricardo Tormo circuit, moved to the top of the times late-on with a 1m17.402s, pushing reigning FE champion Jean-Eric Vergne into second place.

BMW retains the test's fastest time, which was set by Antonio Felix da Costa during Wednesday's morning running, with Sim's Friday effort ending up 0.425 seconds adrift of that benchmark.

It was the first time the drivers were together on track with the new-look next generation car – boasting more power, performance and almost double the battery capacity. The teams had their work cut out getting acclimatised to the systems software and set-up – racking up mileage with race simulations and qualifying runs throughout testing.

Following storms in Spain during the rest day on Thursday and inclement weather continuing into Friday – there was limited chance to overhaul Da Costa’s time set on day two.

Buemi
Buemi

It isn’t just the car that’s new for season five, there are plenty of fresh faces up and down the pitlane getting a first taste of Formula E. The new kid on the block – HWA RACELAB – ran through their programmes with Gary Paffett and Stoffel Vandoorne behind the wheel, as well as Dani Juncadella on the final day.

Antonio Fuoco and Maxi Gunther exchanged sessions for GEOX DRAGON with both vying for a race seat alongside Jose Maria Lopez.

Newly-named Nissan e.dams ran with season two champion Sebastien Buemi and one-time E-Prix entrant Oliver Rowland. Da Costa’s team-mate Alexander Sims quickly got to grips with the BMW i Andretti Motorsport car, with Pascal Wehrlein (MAHINDRA RACING) and Felipe Massa (VENTURI Formula E Team) also busy preparing for their first competitive outing at the SAUDIA Ad Diriyah E-Prix on December 15.

QUOTES – TOP-THREE

Antonio Felix da Costa, BMW i Andretti Motorsport, said: “It’s been very promising. We got off to a good start from the word go – so that was really positive. We’ve done a lot of testing – 15 days that each manufacturer gets – and we worked hard and went through a lot. It’s nice to see that we’re on the pace together with everyone on track. The track isn’t very representative compared to our street circuits… so it’s not like we can go away from here thinking we’ll win the first race. But the performance definitely motivates everyone and I’m encouraged with the outcome of testing. I’m very excited for the new season – it’s impressive what’s going on here in this paddock. I never thought five years ago in Donington that we’d be here today with all these top drivers and manufacturers. The growth of this sport is remarkable."

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS TECHEETAH, said: “Testing has gone very well. I’m very pleased and we haven’t had any issues. The team is working very well together and we have more people thanks to DS and a lot more resources – it’s just a question of how to use them best. So far I’ve been very happy with what I’ve seen. I also see a lot of improvements in many areas and the car behaves well. There’s still a lot to come with understanding the car and systems. We now need to go back and analyse everything ready for Ad Diriyah."

Alexander Sims, BMW i Andretti Motorsport, said: “All in all it was a really positive pre-season test in Valencia for BMW i Andretti Motorsport. I was a bit hesitant of how to judge things after the first session on Tuesday, but we’ve gone through all the different conditions, particularly with the rain today and a fairly green track this afternoon. I think we’ve managed different situations well with our BMW iFE.18 cars. Obviously, the track itself is still unrepresentative but nevertheless we’ve been competitive in all conditions. I learned a lot from my side as the team was able to put me through different runs and set-ups, which has been really beneficial."

2018/19 – Official pre-season testing (Combined fastest times over three days)

1 – Antonio Felix da Costa, BMW i Andretti Motorsport, 1:16.977s

2 – Jean-Eric Vergne, DS TECHEETAH, 1:17.342s

3 – Alexander Sims, BMW i Andretti Motorsport, 1:17.402s

4 – Jerome D’Ambrosio, MAHINDRA RACING, 1:17.431s

5 – Andre Lotterer, DS TECHEETAH, 1:17.437s

6 – Sebastien Buemi, Nissan e.dams, 1:17.473s

7 – Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, 1:17.535s

8 – Felipe Massa, VENTURI Formula E Team, 1:17.696s

9 – Edoardo Mortara, VENTURI Formula E Team, 1:17.729s

10 – Pascal Wehrlein, MAHINDRA RACING, 1:17.781s

11 – Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, 1:17.819s

12 – Jose Maria Lopez, GEOX DRAGON, 1:17.830s

13 – Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, 1:17.864s

14 – Maxi Gunther, GEOX DRAGON, 1:17.947s

15 – Stoffel Vandoorne, HWA RACELAB, 1:18.032s

16 – Robin Frijns, Envision Virgin Racing, 1:18.088s

17 – Sam Bird, Envision Virgin Racing, 1:18.115s

18 – Gary Paffett, HWA RACELAB, 1:18.164s

19 – Tom Dillmann, NIO Formula E Team, 1:18.217s

20 – Oliver Turvey, NIO Formula E Team, 1:18.240s

21 – Antonio Fuoco, GEOX DRAGON, 1:18.284s

22 – Nelson Piquet Jr, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, 1:18.498s

23 – Dani Juncadella, HWA RACELAB, 1:19.353s

24 – Oliver Rowland, Nissan e.dams, 1:20.416s

25 – Alexander Albon, Nissan e.dams, NO TIME SET

Day 3 Times

Morning times

POS DRIVER TEAM CAR TIME GAP LAPS
1 Antonio Felix da Costa Andretti BMW BMW 1m24.870s 29
2 Jean-Eric Vergne Techeetah DS 1m25.258s 0.388s 32
3 Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra Mahindra 1m25.519s 0.649s 38
4 Alexander Sims Andretti BMW BMW 1m25.567s 0.697s 27
5 Lucas di Grassi Audi Audi 1m25.659s 0.789s 40
6 Sam Bird Virgin Audi 1m25.912s 1.042s 29
7 Sebastien Buemi Nissan Nissan 1m25.972s 1.102s 46
8 Felipe Massa Venturi Venturi 1m26.027s 1.157s 39
9 Maximilian Gunther Dragon Penske 1m26.524s 1.654s 40
10 Andre Lotterer Techeetah DS 1m26.571s 1.701s 33
11 Daniel Juncadella HWA Venturi 1m26.655s 1.785s 32
12 Jose Maria Lopez Dragon Penske 1m26.872s 2.002s 35
13 Nelson Piquet Jr. Jaguar Jaguar 1m26.978s 2.108s 43
14 Mitch Evans Jaguar Jaguar 1m27.489s 2.619s 43
15 Oliver Rowland Nissan Nissan 1m27.705s 2.835s 36
16 Tom Dillmann NextEV NIO 1m27.921s 3.051s 34
17 Oliver Turvey NextEV NIO 1m27.950s 3.080s 28
18 Gary Paffett HWA Venturi 1m28.011s 3.141s 12
19 Jerome d'Ambrosio Mahindra Mahindra 1m28.163s 3.293s 38
20 Daniel Abt Audi Audi 1m28.906s 4.036s 16
21 Edoardo Mortara Venturi Venturi 1m29.024s 4.154s 21
22 Robin Frijns Virgin Audi 1m29.887s 5.017s 42

Afternoon times

POS DRIVER TEAM CAR TIME GAP LAPS
1 Alexander Sims Andretti BMW BMW 1m17.402s 51
2 Jean-Eric Vergne Techeetah DS 1m17.620s 0.218s 36
3 Mitch Evans Jaguar Jaguar 1m17.864s 0.462s 37
4 Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra Mahindra 1m17.888s 0.486s 30
5 Maximilian Gunther Dragon Penske 1m17.947s 0.545s 32
6 Robin Frijns Virgin Audi 1m18.088s 0.686s 49
7 Gary Paffett HWA Venturi 1m18.164s 0.762s 41
8 Sam Bird Virgin Audi 1m18.219s 0.817s 45
9 Sebastien Buemi Nissan Nissan 1m18.220s 0.818s 25
10 Lucas di Grassi Audi Audi 1m18.269s 0.867s 46
11 Antonio Fuoco Dragon Penske 1m18.284s 0.882s 35
12 Jerome d'Ambrosio Mahindra Mahindra 1m18.409s 1.007s 19
13 Daniel Abt Audi Audi 1m18.479s 1.077s 50
14 Tom Dillmann NextEV NIO 1m18.778s 1.376s 34
15 Oliver Turvey NextEV NIO 1m19.083s 1.681s 35
16 Felipe Massa Venturi Venturi 1m19.328s 1.926s 30
17 Daniel Juncadella HWA Venturi 1m19.353s 1.951s 39
18 Oliver Rowland Nissan Nissan 1m20.416s 3.014s 49
19 Nelson Piquet Jr. Jaguar Jaguar 1m21.997s 4.595s 41
20 Andre Lotterer Techeetah DS 1m23.048s 5.646s 56
21 Antonio Felix da Costa Andretti BMW BMW 1m23.121s 5.719s 16
22 Edoardo Mortara Venturi Venturi 0

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