Tom Blomqvist has set “realistic” expectations in his ABB FIA Formula E Championship race debut, having limited experience with the all-electric racer heading into Saturday’s Marrakesh E-Prix.
The BMW factory driver will complete the remainder of the 2017/18 season with Andretti Formula E after Kamui Kobayashi took the Anglo-Swede’s seat in the second Andretti ATEC-03 entry in Hong Kong.
Blomqvist, who only has two total days of seat time in the car from official pre-season testing at Valencia in September, admits it will be an uphill learning curve this weekend.
“It’s a big weekend, definitely, and a big change for me, new scenery,” Blomqvist told e-racing365. “I’ve got a lot to learn this weekend, to be honest.
“I came here with a big goal, apart from just learning as much as possible, to making the most of the situation.
“Expectations are within a window that’s realistic. I have to be realistic this weekend, and then we’ll just take it as it comes.
“I think more than everything. There’s excitement and I’m eager to get going.”
The 24-year-old, son of rally legend Stig Blomqvist, has enjoyed a diverse career that’s most recently included a three-year stint in DTM, multiple GT outings in BMW M6 GT3 machinery and a LMP2 start in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Blomqvist makes his open-wheel return for the first time since finishing runner-up in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship in 2014.
“I’ve driven quite a few cars,” he said. “You adapt quite quick. It’s not a big issue but it takes time. It depends how quickly you can get the maximum out of the car and the package.
“The first time I drove it, was obviously a bit strange, with the sound and the way you have to drive the car.
“The driving style is quite different and you have to adapt. That’s my job to do so. We’ll see this weekend how well I’ll do.”
The unique nature of the 1.86-mile Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan, a partial street circuit that’s used multiple times each year, could play into Blomqvist’s benefit this weekend, in getting up to speed in the highly competitive championship.
“I think it can work both ways,” he said. “You can make less of a difference on a circuit like this than you could on a full Formula E track.
“For sure, it’s a little bit easier in that regard, but in terms of performance, it’s hard to say.
“But I’ve got a lot to learn with the feeling of the car… I’m definitely up against it. The competition is extremely high. We’ll see.”
Formula E the Priority in 2018
Blomqvist’s focus will be on Formula E this year, with the DTM race winner not returning to the German-based championship in 2018.
While yet to get behind the wheel of BMW’s new M8 GTE, he will also take part in selected WEC races with BMW Team MTEK, including the season-opener at Spa, and could make his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in June.
BMW has nominated three drivers for two available seats in the French endurance classic, with a decision yet to be made on its exact lineup.
“We have a few good platforms, with DTM and around the world in the World Endurance Championship with the brand-new M8 GTE and now Formula E,” Blomqvist said. “BMW i is growing as well and they’re putting a lot of effort behind the program here.
“We definitely have our feet in a lot of doors. There’s a good base there for me, as a BMW works driver, to work on.
“I’m here now in Formula E and BMW is coming in as a fully fledged manufacturer in Season Five, and that’s what we’re really looking forward to.”