For the second straight day, it was a BMW I Andretti Motorsport driver atop the speed charts in pre-season testing at Valencia. Under clear conditions, Antonio Felix da Costa set an unofficial track record at Circuit Ricardo Tormo with a 1m16.977s lap. His run comes a day after rookie teammate Alexander Sims dropped a lap at 1m17.553s.
“We’ve had two good days of testing so far, on which the BMW iFE.18 made a very good impression in terms of both pace and reliability,” da Costa said.
“It is just so much fun driving this car. The powertrain works perfectly. As a team, we are absolutely moving in the right direction. On Friday, we will once again be focused on starting the season well prepared.”
The day was split into three sessions, with a 45-minute afternoon session dedicated to testing cars and systems in a race environment. It saw the debut of Attack Mode, a higher power setting gained by passing through a predetermined section of track, off the racing line, and some of the new Gen2 cars were outfitted with illuminated halo devices. A 30-minute testing session followed.
DS Techeetah and reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne clocked the second-fastest time of the day, with a 1m17.342s lap in the afternoon. Less than a second separated the top 12 cars in both the morning and late afternoon sessions.
Jerome d’Ambrosio, now at Mahindra Racing after four years with Dragon, was third fastest (1m17.431s), followed by Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi (1m17.535s) and Venturi Formula E’s Felipe Massa (1m17.696s).
Sims developed a problem in the final hour of the morning session after clipping the chicane and damaging the front of his car.
HWA/FE rookie Stoffel Vandoorne stopped on track due to technical difficulties, bringing out the red flag again before NIO Formula E Team’s Tom Dillmann stopped on track shortly afterward.
“A completely new experience for me in the car,” Vandoorne said. “It’s maybe not been two ideal days. We’ve still managed to learn a lot, go through some of the issues we had; we knew it was gonna be a new start for everyone, a new experience, and now all the focus goes to Riyadh in a couple months, a lot of things to prepare, but looking forward to it.
The Valencia test wraps on Friday.