Exclusive: Citroen’s top-secret Formula E test

Motorsport.com has learned that a top-secret Citroen Formula E test took place earlier this month close to Paris.

Exclusive: Citroen’s top-secret Formula E test
Virgin Racing
Citroen C4 WRC detail
Virgin Racing Formula E Team
Sam Bird, Virgin Racing
Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing
Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing
Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing
Sam Bird, Virgin Racing
Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing
Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing
Sam Bird, Virgin Racing
Richard Branson, Virgin Racing
Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing
Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing

The covert run is believed to have taken place on May 11 at the Val D’Or test facility close to Versailles, where Citroen Racing is based.

The test, which is the first time one of the eight season two manufacturers has track tested its technology, is understood to have been undertaken by an official Citroen Racing development driver.

Motorsport.com believes that several innovative electric racing technologies were shaken down at Val D’Or, including either a single-gear or seamless-shift gearbox.

CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) is currently not allowed in the Formula E technical regulations, but Motorsport.com understands that several parties are lobbying the organisers to allow its use in future campaigns.

Sources indicate that the topic was discussed at the team principals’ meeting at the Berlin event last Friday.

The eight manufacturer teams have purchased new chassis from Spark to fit season-two systems, and Motorsport.com can reveal that these were delivered at the beginning of May.

The Citroen test is the first time one has run on the track but at least two more (Andretti and eDAMS Renault) are expected to test next month.

Series boss Alejandro Agag admitted in Berlin last weekend that “some of the season two projects are more advanced than others. But I know one has already tested the powertrain. At least four or five will be ready for next season.”

Citroen and Virgin close-in on deal

Citroen is planning to enter Formula E next season under its DS brand, and it is believed that an official announcement concerning a partnership with the Virgin Racing team could be made next month at the London ePrix, where Sir Richard Branson is scheduled to attend.

It remains unclear as to whether Virgin Racing personnel attended the test at Versailles. Virgin Racing technical director, Sylvain Filippi, refused to comment on the test but spoke to Motorsport.com about the team’s season two plans.

“The homologation date for us is coming really rapidly now, next month,” Filippi told Motorsport.com. “We have tested most of our systems on the bench. We are working with several partners and we have a five year road map.

“We have the same goals as the championship has in running with one car per driver in season five. The focus will be on reliability next season as there is no point in having something exotic and then never finishing a race, so this is the key challenge.

“Small, lightweight and high torque is where we are aiming in the future,” continued Filippi. “At the moment there is a lot of speculation and I even heard we had a new battery already, which is complete nonsense."

Efficiency the key

Filippi quashed the notion that one team could advance so much and run away with the season two title, stating: “I don’t think it will happen because ultimately we will be limited by the battery.

“The differences you will see will be in acceleration, top speed and efficiency. You can only go as quick as your efficiency and no-one is going to make massive steps on efficiency.

"So ultimately we will have different designs but it should be still very close, which is great for everyone.”

shares
comments
Formula E: Kraft(y)werk in Berlin
Previous article

Formula E: Kraft(y)werk in Berlin

Next article

Visa Europe becomes title sponsor for Formula E London ePrix championship finale

Visa Europe becomes title sponsor for Formula E London ePrix championship finale
Load comments
Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong Prime

Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong

Formula E welcomes a mix of past, present and future for the 2021-22 season. The old guard facing off against a sprinkling of newcomers, a fresh qualifying format amid a sporting rules shake-up and a range of minor tweaks to the existing all-electric machines are all subplots to the final campaign before the next generation arrives

Formula E
Dec 3, 2021
The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams Prime

The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams

Electing not to share data with its competitive customer team would have been a straightforward means of gaining an edge on at least one of Mercedes' Formula E rivals last season. But by reciprocating the relationship forged under its initial HWA guise, when it was a customer to Venturi, both teams have reaped the rewards

Formula E
Nov 30, 2021
How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait Prime

How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait

With its ultra-successful sister team in Formula 1 and a support network providing some of the best minds and resources in the business, Mercedes Formula E team principal Ian James knew his squad had all the winning ingredients. But mixing it together was no easy feat and required key attributes to be grown from within

Formula E
Nov 29, 2021
How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself Prime

How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself

OPINION: Few figures in racing today divide opinion like Dan Ticktum. The Formula 2 race winner now has the chance to wipe his professional slate clean with his move into Formula E, but it won't be easy at the squad which has brought up the rear for the past three years. Here are the three key criteria he must meet to make a lasting impression on the series.

Formula E
Nov 27, 2021
How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E Prime

How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E

By virtue of its Formula 1 success, Mercedes was expected to rise to power in Formula E before long. That it won both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships this year, after only two seasons as a full works effort, belies a tricky path littered with potential pitfalls

Formula E
Nov 26, 2021
Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive Prime

Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive

OPINION: Circuit racing has traditionally favoured front- or rear-wheel-drive setups, eschewing the equal distribution of power. But for Formula E and other electric-powered series, our columnist believes it’s a perfect fit.

Formula E
Oct 13, 2021
How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success Prime

How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success

The Wolffs have carved their own paths in motorsport, leading their respective teams to success in Formula 1 and Formula E. But the two came together last month as their drivers finished first and second in the FE drivers' championship - a feat they are hugely proud of. In a rare joint interview, they reflect on a remarkable season

Formula E
Sep 21, 2021
The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21 Prime

The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was one without a narrative for much of the season, with no single car or driver able to break away from the pack. That makes choosing a top 10 especially difficult, particularly as the qualifying format meant some worthy performers were unable to enjoy their day in the sun.

Formula E
Sep 19, 2021