Punta Del Este
- Mitch Evans storms from 16th to fourth in Uruguay
- Jaguar I-TYPE 2 shows competitive pace in qualifying and race
- Panasonic Jaguar Racing team work keeps Mitch and Nelson on track and in fourth position in the team standings
Punta Del Este -E-Prix in photos
Punta Del Este E-prix race report
The Formula E championship was held in Punta Del Este for the third time this year, having first appeared on the roster in the championship’s inaugural 2014–15 season. When we arrived at Montevideo airport, we saw lots of excited people wearing Jaguar, Venturi, Nio and other Formula E teams' shirts and hats. It was already a very busy and lively atmosphere.
When we arrived at the racetrack the day before the race, the 40 degree sun was already waiting for us. We made our way down to check out the track in front of the Playa Brava beach - a very beautiful place. We met with one of the Panasonic Jaguar Racing team, who took us on a tour showing us all the preparation for the race. When arriving at the PJR garage we had a pleasant surprise, as we were able to meet with the two drivers Mitch and Nelson! We took a picture with Nelson and he wished us a good visit.
On the Saturday of the race, the city was now full and still very hot indeed. We walked through the E-Village and saw the simulators, models of cars and electric motorcycles, loud music and everything ready for the big day. Formula E has a real focus on sustainability, and that was clear when entering the event. There was an “E-Planet” structure with workshops for the children teaching them about energy use reduction, reuse and recycling projects. Yet more activities highlighted the importance of introducing and innovating electric vehicles for our planet’s future.
Nelson and Mitch both started the day well as the action began in the first and second practice sessions, with Mitch clocking one of the top three fastest laps both times. It was a promising start for the day. Mitch continued to show rapid pace in qualifying, finishing third which ensured him a spot in the “super pole shoot-out” to determine the top five starting positions on the grid. With a time only 0.692 seconds slower than the leader Di Grassi, he secured the 3rd Position in the starting grid. In qualifying Nelson kissed the wall during his time-trial lap and couldn’t finish the second sector of his qualifying lap.
Around 30 minutes before the start of the race, we were asking ourselves why Mitch was starting in 16th place on the starting grid, and later were informed it was because of a technical infringement (incorrect weight distribution). PJR paid a big price for a very small infringement but the rules are clear. A small upside was that Nelson, who should have started in 19th, moved up to 14th due to penalties suffered by 5 other drivers.
Both Nelson and Mitch made encouraging starts to the race, moving forward together. They started towards the back of the grid and came out fighting. Mitch repeated his heroic performance in Santiago, performing overtake after overtake, and by lap eighteen was well-placed among the top ten. Following a quick pit stop he sat in sixth with less than fifteen laps remaining. He completed one of the overtaking moves of the day when he surpassed Alex Lynn, giving him 5th place at that point. As the race came to a close, Mitch had moved up an impressive 12 places to win 4th place, almost reaching the podium.
Before even completing the first lap, Nelson had quickly come to occupy 12th place. However, the Brazilian’s driveshaft broke soon after and he had to stop to change cars ten laps ahead of schedule. It left him in a very difficult position as he had too many laps to complete and be competitive with the available battery life in his second car. The Panasonic Jaguar Racing team decided to stop and opted for abandonment since there was no chance of scoring points on the board.
The leader of the 2017-18 Formula E championship, Jean-Eric Vergne, won the race. The Frenchman resisted the attacks of Lucas di Grassi, who tried everything to overcome the Techeetah rider. As the teams head back to Europe for the first Rome E-Prix, Mitch has moved up to 6th in the driver standings. Nelson remains one place higher in 5th. The Panasonic Jaguar Racing team is in 4th place overall with 86 points.
Team Panasonic Jaguar Racing
Formula E Punta del Este
The Punta Del Este E-Prix features a unique track, which follows the picturesque Playa Brava beach in sunny south-east Uruguay.
Punta Del Este is replacing the Sao Paolo E-Prix in the Season 4 calendar. The FIA Formula E Championship is returning to Punta Del Este for a third time this season, and previous years have not disappointed. This is the first time that Panasonic Jaguar Racing will be racing on the Uruguayan track, but there is solid experience in the team as Nelson Piquet came second here in the inaugural season of Formula E.
The resort is famous throughout South America for its beautiful beach. The track is so near it that drivers have mentioned sand has even been seen in the pits!
About the circuit
The Punta Del Este street circuit runs along the city’s harbor, closely following the shoreline before doubling back on itself.
The track is based on one previously used for Argentinian touring car events. It features a lot of tight chicanes, and is not an easy one to overtake on. This means that qualifying will be even more important than normal, as it will be very difficult to fight to the front of the pack from a start at the rear.
The surface of the track is also a challenge. The beachside location means that sand on the track may well affect the grip of the Formula E race cars, a performance characteristic that will be in high demand on the sharp turns at Punta Del Este.
The Championship races
In the media
Connect with GKN Driveline on social media to keep up to date with news and events from across the Driveline division.