Mitch Evans is in contention to join Neel Jani at the Porsche Formula E team as it embarks on its first season in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship later this year.
E-racing365 sources have indicated that the current Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver could make the move to the German manufacturer after the present season.
The New Zealander has been a consistent front-runner in the all-electric championship over the last two seasons and claimed Jaguar’s first ever podium finish and pole position in Zurich and Hong Kong respectively last season.
E-racing365 believes that Evans’ two-year contract with Jaguar, which was signed after his first initial one-year deal ended following the 2016-17 season, will lapse at the end of the current campaign.
Evans has stated that while he is happy at Jaguar and would be keen to stay, his primary focus was on success in Formula E.
“[Porsche] would definitely interest me,” Evans told e-racing365 in Santiago last month.
“But, at the moment it is too early to tell what’s going to happen in the future with any team, so I’d really rather not comment on it too much, just because it’s completely up in the air.
“I’d like to stay with [Jaguar]. But ideally, I want to be winning as well, so you’ve got to look at that too.
“I have a lot of confidence in Jaguar, even though at the moment we’re not getting the results, but all the ingredients are here for us to be successful, especially this year.”
Evans has some links with Porsche via his management team of Mark Webber and Ann Neal who have overseen his career since 2011.
He also tested a Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 car at Barcelona and Bahrain in late 2015.
Porsche Targets Experience
Porsche is targeting Formula E race experience as it gears up for its long-awaited Formula E debut in 2019-20.
Its signing of Jani, a full year ahead of its race debut in December 2019, indicates that it will give the 2016 Le Mans winner the majority of developmental testing time with the allocated 15 days of private running this year.
This is one of the reasons why either Evans or Andre Lotterer are believed to be the preferred options as Jani’s teammate, because of their familiarity with Gen 2 Formula E hardware which would make them a ‘plug-and-play’ option.
The status of the decision for Jani’s teammate is believed to be delicate, however, on account of Porsche’s aim to confirm its second driver before the end of the current season in July.
This is thought to be unlikely as Evans’ contract runs up until the final race of the season, while Lotterer would have to be bought out of his Season Six deal with DS Techeetah.
That would still leave two full months of private testing possibilities and the three days of official pre-season running which is usually held in October.
It is understood that double FIA World Endurance Champion and Porsche-contracted driver Brendon Hartley may also be a prospect for the drive.
Like Jani, Hartley knows all of the key personnel in the Porsche Formula E team including former race engineer, in all but one of his successful WEC campaigns, Kyle-Wilson Clarke.
Hartley only has a brief test in a Venturi Gen 1 car in the summer of 2017 to his name, however, and so wouldn’t fill the familiarity criterium.
However, should Evans and Lotterer be unobtainable, Porsche could utilize Hartley immediately for track testing and other developmental work.