BMW i Andretti Autosport’s Max Guenther topped the times in the opening session of the official 2019-20 pre-season test session at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia.
After BMW i Andretti Motorsport dominated testing last season, the German marque once again sat at the top of the time sheets after Guenther posted a lap of 1m15.926s lap. The Bavarian driver’s fast time improved on Antonio Felix da Costa’s lap record of 1m16.977s, set on a different circuit configuration last year. This season, a simplified chicane on the start/finish straight led to a total of 17 drivers topping the former fast time.
Close behind Guenther was reigning champion team DS Techeetah with da Costa (1m16.032s) and Jean-Eric Vergne (1m16.162s) finishing second and third.
For new teams Mercedes-Benz EQ and TAG Heuer Porsche FE, the session marked the first time all four German marques took to the track in Formula E, alongside BMW and Audi’s works squads. New Porsche hire Andre Lotterer proved to be the quickest of the new teams, setting a best lap time of 1m16.662s.
Technical trouble in the second half of the session for Mercedes-Benz rookie Nyck de Vries caused him to stop on track. The Dutch driver was back out on track late in the session but only managed a best time of 1m22.500s.
Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s rookie James Calado — fresh from his victory in the GTLM class at Petit Le Mans — had a rough introduction to Formula E when a collision left his car stranded on track with a broken front axle, prompting a red flag while his car was retrieved, bringing the session to a halt temporarily.
The second session of the day kicks off at 2 p.m. local time.