Benoit Treluyer says that his Formula E test with Envision Virgin Racing reminded him how much he’s missed driving single-seaters.
The three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner last competed outside of sports cars in 2009 when he finished runner-up in the Formula Nippon series.
“The first few laps I realized that I missed single-seaters a lot, it was really fascinating,” Treluyer told e-racing365.
“Even if it’s electric, you forget it after two laps about the noise and the [open] cockpit, you just enjoy again.”
The French driver, who at 42 is the oldest driver to appear publicly at an official Formula E test, also said that the feeling of the Gen 2 car interested him more than he originally anticipated.
“Honestly, the combination between a single-seater and an EV single-seater like a prototype, no downforce like GT – it’s a mix, a part of everything, very interesting indeed,” he said.
“For me, the approach is completely different from a driving sense, and then there is the marketing and the image which I think they [Formula E] are doing a brilliant job with.”
From Prototype to Production
Treluyer also detailed his previous ‘behind closed doors’ work with Spark Racing Technologies and the original prototype Gen 2 car in 2017.
“At the beginning, we had no brake-by-wire and it was much more simple than the car here and we didn’t have all these systems,” he said.
“We were just testing the battery if it was working good enough which it definitely was. I did only a few days, four days, but it gave me the ambition to do a bit more in Formula E.”
Treluyer revealed that a call from Envision Virgin’s Sylvain Filippi triggered the deal for him to run in Marrakesh.
“With Audi, we started to work on the sim and I had contact from Envision Virgin when it was known that Audi will be their supplier and Sylvain [Filippi] called me back for this test, I was really happy.
“I didn’t expect that, because I’m 42 years old and they’re looking [for someone] for the rookie test!”
Treluyer, who is still contracted to Audi Sport, completed a total of 97 laps during the test day and says that data gathering was the key objective.
“It’s a data thing and what I did was mainly what I do on the simulator with software development with Audi,” he explained.
“For me it’s very interesting because I know the relation between the real car and the simulator so I can correlate things and this is very positive for Audi and for Envision Virgin.”