Formula E set for thrilling season finale in New York

MotorNews.co.nz

The final two rounds of the 2017/18 ABB FIA Formula E Championship will take place on the streets of Red Hook in Brooklyn this weekend (14-15 July) as the New York City E-Prix marks the end of the first generation of the electric street racing series.

Remarkably, it is guaranteed that there will be a fourth different Formula E champion in as many seasons, as the two title contenders, Jean-Eric Vergne for TECHEETAH and Sam Bird for DS Virgin Racing, have never taken the crown before. In the teams’ championship too there will be a new name on the trophy, as TECHEETAH will also be hoping to hold onto the standings lead but face a hard charging Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler squad which has had a extraordinarily strong second half of the season.

Vergne has led the way at the top of the points since the Santiago E-Prix back in February, and is undoubtedly in a strong position coming into this weekend with a buffer of 23 points over his British rival. With 58 points on offer, Vergne need only score seven points more than Bird to be sure of overall victory, but Formula E rarely follows a predictable path.

“I love New York and I can’t wait to go racing there,” said Vergne. “Our approach remains the same as it has always been. You don’t change a winning concept at this stage of the season. We head to New York with a positive frame of mind, we’re as prepared as we can be and now we’re ready to give it all we’ve got to bring home both titles.

“We have an incredible team and each and every team-member should be proud over what we have achieved. No matter how this weekend goes, we have shown that a customer team can take on the manufacturers and be successful.”

Bird was the king of New York City at the inaugural event last year, scoring an impressive double win in a dominant display. The playing field isn’t exactly the same this time around, however, with modifications made to the track which will add another layer of unpredictability.

“For sure, we’re ready for the challenge and will be giving it everything we’ve got,” said Bird. “It’s going to be tough with the new layout and extended lap count but the whole team has been working flat out – as they have done all season – to prepare for this weekend. We never expected to be in this position at the start of the season, but we’re here and we’re going to do the very best job we can.”

The track has been extended from 1.953km to 2.373km, adding four additional turns and overtaking opportunities. With a 45-lap contest on Saturday and a 43-lap final spring on Sunday, the fans in Brooklyn are sure to see a thrilling conclusion to the first generation of Formula E competition.

While the main focus will undoubtedly be on the two title contenders this weekend, there’s sure to be action aplenty throughout the field. Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler and its two drivers – Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt – will likely be in the hunt for outright victories once again as they go all out to outscore TECHEETAH for teams’ championship honours.

Former champion Sebastien Buemi is currently fourth in the standings, but incredibly has yet to take a victory in season four. With this the final event for the Renault e.dams team before their entry is taken by Nissan for season five, there will surely be extra motivation to produce a fitting finale for the squad which has won the team’s championship in all of the first three seasons of Formula E. This event will also be the last for Nico Prost with the team – the Frenchman having won three times in his four-year spell.

The 2018 New York City E-Prix marks the final event for the first generation of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, and the last time drivers will need two cars to make the full race distance. Testament to the remarkable rate of development, the first round of season five will see the new FIA Formula E Gen2 cars take to the track to do battle for the first time.

Championship standings:

 Drivers’ ChampionshipTeams’ Championship
DriverPointsTeamPoints
1Jean-Eric Vergne163TECHEETAH219
2Sam Bird140Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler186
3Lucas di Grassi101DS Virgin Racing157
4Sebastien Buemi92Mahindra Racing116
5Felix Rosenqvist86Panasonic Jaguar Racing105
6Daniel Abt85Renault e.dams99
7Mitch Evans60Venturi Formula E Team56
8Andre Lotterer56NIO Formula E Team47
9Oliver Turvey46DRAGON41
10Nelson Piquet Jr45Andretti Formula E24

Formula E set for thrilling season finale in New York

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