Porsche’s factory motorsport director has been convinced that Formula E is the “right formula” for the marque after observing the opening rounds of the 2019-20 season.
Porsche joined the ABB FIA Formula E Championship after ending its involvement in LMP1 at the end of 2017 and spent the time in between developing its electric program.
Pascal Zurlinden, who worked on the LMP1 project as an engineer, told reporters recently that Formula E is complementing Porsche’s customer-focused programs in sports car racing with GTE, GT3, GT2 and GT4 machinery.
“I am really positive about how it works,” he said.
“Many people were skeptical, and I was also skeptical about going to Formula E. But when I went to the first race and saw how close the racing is and how high the levels of teams are… it’s proper racing.
“The focus is on what you want to communicate. The aero is the same for everyone and the chassis is the same. At Porsche, we can already say with our other racing that we can do race cars.
“What we want to show with Formula E is that we can do the best and most efficient drivetrain, which is what it’s based on. It’s the right formula.”
Zurlinden admitted that Porsche’s expectations for its debut season were prematurely raised following Andre Lotterer’s second-place finish in the Diriyah season opener.
In the second Diriyah race and round three in Santiago, both Lotterer and Neel Jani failed to score points which left Porsche ninth in the twelve-team championship.
“I think with the strong start, probably the expectations went too high, but our expectation has to be to do the same and get a podium again, to show that it was not a one-off,” said Zurlinden.
“We are really happy with how the program is going. We started from zero and we were on the podium in the first race which was a real positive.
“In Santiago, after two and a half laps, both cars were in the box because of accidents which is the risk of street racing.
“We repaired one car after 12 laps because testing is limited so we wanted test kilometers. So far it has been positive, and we are looking positively towards Mexico, which should suit us.”
Zurlinden added that Porsche is standing by its driver selection for 2019-20 and believes that Jani has the potential for higher finishes as the season progresses.
“Neel is a rookie, for most rookies it takes six or seven races to finish in the top part,” he said.
“In the last race, he made a big step between Diriyah and Santiago. In qualifying, he missed the top five by one and a half tenths with a mistake in Turn 1.
“If you correct this, he would have been in the top five and the race would have been different.
“[For Lotterer] it was really important to us, it’s why we chose him, to have his Formula E experience and at the same time, he knows us. This has made him a perfect fit.”
John Dagys contributed to this report