It is one of the highlights in the Formula E calendar: this weekend (15/16 July), the electro racing series will take place in New York for the first time and will hold two races in front of the Manhattan skyline. Lucas di Grassi and the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team come to the USA as hot pursuers.
The race in the heart of Brooklyn and the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty as an impressive backdrop: The anticipation for Formula E’s first appearance in New York is huge. With the ninth and tenth races out of a total twelve this season, the title fight is coming slowly but surely to the decisive phase: Lucas di Grassi sits 32 points adrift from the top of the table in second place, with 58 points up for grabs in New York, including for pole position and fastest lap.
“We are only concentrating on ourselves, not on points or the competition,” says Lucas di Grassi. “Our aim is to win each of the coming races – and if that’s not possible, then we want to score as many points as we can.” The Brazilian had to undergo an operation on his calf bone in his home county in mid-June, but he has convalesced in time for the US race. “The recovery has gone according to plan and I’m one hundred percent fit for New York.” And he’s tough too: He took both his podiums in Berlin with a double fracture of the fibula.
The 1.953-kilometre-long circuit in the Red Hook quarter of Brooklyn borough of New York sits right on the shores of the Upper New York Bay, which separates Manhattan and Brooklyn. Its layout bodes well for two exciting races, with a mix of fast straights and tight, 180-degree turns. The drivers will complete 43 laps on Saturday and 49 laps on Sunday. As always, a pit stop with the switching of cars is mandatory.
“A small dream has come true with the races in New York,” says Daniel Abt, who like many members of the team travels a day earlier to explore the city – and then focus fully on the racing: “In the first two seasons, I finished on the podium in both of the races in the USA. This is a tradition that I definitely want to continue. Last time out in Berlin, I only just missed out on a trophy – but I know what’s possible when all the little things fall into place.”
The races in New York signal the home stretch of the third Formula E season. The 30th race of the still young electro racing series will be held on Saturday. Up until this point, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport with Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi have taken 23 podiums – more than any other team in the international field. “The series has experienced great development from the first race simulations in rainy Donington in the summer of 2014 to the premiere in the heart of Brooklyn,” says Team Principal Hans-Jürgen Abt. “We’re really proud to be one of the ‘founding members’ of Formula E. But right now we’re not concentrating on statistics, but on how we can win our next trophy.”
The races in New York will begin at 4.00 p.m. and 1.00 p.m. local time on Saturday and Sunday respectively (10.00 p.m. and 7.00 p.m. CEST).