Mahindra Racing on Tuesday said it has signed Jerome d’Ambrosio and Pascal Wehrlein as its two drivers for the fifth season of the Formula E championship.
D’Ambrosio, a two-time Formula E race winner who has raced in each of the championship’s 45 races so far, moves from Dragon Racing.
Wehrlein, the 2015 DTM champion who returned to the German touring car series this season after two years in Formula One, will make his Formula E debut.
“I’m very happy to be joining Mahindra Racing,” 23-year-old Wehrlein said. “I had the first meeting with Dilbagh in the summer and met the team for the first time at a test event. It’s a small team but with really high ambitions and I have the same high ambitions,” the German added.
D’Ambrosio said: “I think we have a great team and a really dedicated bunch of people with the possibility of doing something great so I am really motivated to make sure that we achieve the results that the team deserves. I’ve known Dilbagh for the last four years and what the team has achieved in that time is amazing and has shown great progression and I want to make sure that continues,” d’Ambrosio, who raced for the Virgin team in Formula One in 2011, added.
Wehrlein and d’Ambrosio replace Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld. But, the latter will remain with the team in an advisory role and as a test and reserve driver.
Belgian Sam Dejhonge will be the team’s simulator and development driver.
Mahindra unveiled the driver line-up ahead of the first pre-season test in Valencia, which kicks off today. The team also took the wraps off their new season five challenger the M5 Electro. The only Indian team on the grid, the outfit has scored three wins, 15 podiums and six pole positions in their four seasons in Formula E. They were in contention for the title in the early part of last season.
“Last season we had a very strong start and were in championship contention,” said team principal, Dilbagh Gill. To attract and retain drivers of this calibre shows Mahindra Racing’s future potential and intention and I cannot wait to get out on track in Saudi Arabia to begin our 2018/19 campaign.”
The fifth season of Formula E, which will feature radically redesigned and faster cars capable of lasting an entire race distance, flags off in Saudi Arabia on December 15th this year. The season, which runs for 13 races, will end in New York on July 14th, 2019.
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Smart looks, spacious interiors, punchy engine and frugal nature – these have always been the Tucson’s strengths. They are also the reasons that have made me hold on to this particular long-termer for a while now. Since it joined our fleet in February last year, the Tucson has undertaken plenty of long-distance drives and has even been driven across the border to Nepal! It has definitely earned a reputation for being a great highway cruiser and tops my list in our long-term fleet for whenever I plan a drive out of town. It’s travelled frequently to Nashik, Mahabaleshwar and Goa, and apart from these long drives, I also clock about 60-odd kilometres on my daily commute.
Our Tucson is a top-of-the-line GLS variant loaded with features that have really spoilt me. The keyless entry-and-go, for example, is very useful to get into the Tucson and drive off without having to pull out the key from the pocket. What I really find very convenient, though, is that the tailgate opens automatically when it senses the key in close proximity to the boot – quite useful for when my hands are full of bags. I also like the dual-zone climate control which lets me select different temperatures for the driver’s and the passenger’s side. Another feature I have really become used to is Apple CarPlay; it mirrors some of my phone’s applications onto the Tucson’s infotainment screen, from where I can use them without having to fiddle with the phone. The infotainment system has also been integrated with the Amazon Music app, allowing me to use it directly.
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The petrol-powered Santro houses a 69hp, 1.1-litre petrol engine with a claimed 20.3kpl fuel economy, irrespective of the transmission. However, the CNG-powered version of the Santro will put out a lower 58hp when mated solely to a 5-speed manual gearbox.
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