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Porsche Favoring Works Drivers for Formula E Program

Porsche is favoring using drivers from its LMP program in testing and possibly races…

Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Porsche is currently leaning towards utilizing drivers from its former LMP1 squad for its entry into the ABB FIA Formula E Championship next year, according to team principal Andreas Seidl.

The German manufacturer will enter the all-electric series for Season Six at the end of 2019 but will start on-track testing in January.

It has as yet not discussed who will drive or even undertake the initial development work of its first-ever electric race car, but Seidl has indicated that its first port of call is likely to be one of the six drivers from its LMP1 program.

“At Porsche our first aim is to be loyal to the drivers that we have on board, the six guys that we had inside the LMP1 program [Nick Tandy, Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani, Earl Bamber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley],” he told e-racing365.

“Let’s say that is always the target.

“But at the same time, obviously, you also have to make the call, or I have to make the call, on whether we take the risk and go for drivers without any Formula E experience, or do we go in the direction that we need some Formula E experience.

“However, this is a decision that we will make at a later stage and there is no rush to do so.”

Seidl told e-racing365 last month that Porsche’s powertrain should be dyno tested for the first time in September or October, prior to receiving its Gen 2 chassis and battery package in January and immediately going in to initial private testing.

“All the basic testing work will all be done with the guys that we have within the Porsche family, all six of whom are still somehow linked to us,” said Seidl.

“At the same time I need to weigh up, once we have a better understanding of Formula E, if it is wise to go into our first season with two drivers that have no Formula E experience.

“That is something that we have still not decided yet, but we also have time.”

Andre Lotterer is the only one of the six drivers mentioned by Seidl who is currently racing in Formula E.

The three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner has scored two podium positions in his first eight Formula E races for Techeetah with which he has the possibility of staying with in Season Five.

Neel Jani took part in two races at the Hong Kong E-Prix last December before agreeing to leave the Dragon team.

Of the others, Brendon Hartley is the only other driver to have sampled a Formula E car when he tested briefly for Venturi last August.

Double Le Mans winner Earl Bamber, meanwhile, attended last month’s Paris E-Prix as a spectator.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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