Mahindra Racing development driver Sam Dejonghe is targeting “a full understanding of what Formula E is all about” as he prepares to make his first appearance in the cockpit of a Mahindra M4ELECTRO next weekend.
Dejonghe, who was signed by Mahindra in conjunction with the Voxdale design and engineering concern, spent last Friday in the Campos Racing simulator in Spain. The facility is used by Mahindra as part of its long-held partnership with the Spanish team.
Dejonghe has raced at the Circuit Moulay El Hassan in Marrakesh before when he raced in Auto GP for the Virtuosi UK team in 2014. However, that was the previous 2.8-mile iteration of the circuit rather than the current 1.83-mile version used by Formula E.
Dejonghe has some previous experience in a Mahindra Formula E car, having conducted straight-line testing in November, but believes that Marrakesh will be the ideal place to learn more about Formula E.
“I think it is positive for us rookies that we have a more conventional track to learn on rather than somewhere like Hong Kong for example,” said Dejonghe.
“I got to know the track and where the bumps are but it was more about the strategy of driving these cars which was beneficial for me. The energy management is just so different to any other car I have driven but I have heard a lot of established drivers say this.
“There will be a lot of talking with the engineers and understanding where and how things work best. The techniques are key and analyzing everything that is going on will be a very interesting. You have to adapt and this is what I worked on in the sim.”
Dejonghe said he was “realistic about how hard it will be to actually race in Formula E”, but felt that “Mahindra is the ideal team to be with at the moment.”
“I actually tried to get into the championship in year one,” explained Dejonghe.
“It didn’t happen then but I am enjoying the role now. I have this opportunity where we have a foot in the door now and I think that this championship is the right way to go for young drivers.
“Mahindra is an ambitious team and a very technology led one as well. They are the fastest growing team and what I have found so far is that by listening and learning I can understand and share where they are going.”