Rossiter interested in Formula E after Berlin test

Toyota-contracted James Rossiter wants to race in Formula E after testing the electric single-seater for the first time in Berlin last weekend.

Rossiter interested in Formula E after Berlin test
 James Rossiter drives the Formula E show car
 James Rossiter in the car
 James Rossiter climbs into the car
 James Rossiter
 James Rossiter climbs into the car
 James Rossiter drives the Formula E show car
#36 Team Tom's Lexus LC500: Kazuki Nakajima, James Rossiter
#36 Team Tom's Lexus LC500: Kazuki Nakajima, James Rossiter

The Lexus Super GT driver completed two short runs on Saturday morning, after first practice for the first Tempelhof race, in the Spark SRT_01E test car used for demonstration runs at Formula E events.

Rossiter was encouraged to drive the car after attending the Monaco ePrix last month and Formula E arranged the mini-test at short notice in Berlin.

He borrowed a race suit and Loic Duval’s spare crash helmet before driving at reduced power on the first run and then 170kW on the second.

“I would really like to see what opportunities I can get,” Rossiter told Motorsport.com.

“I would be very interested to race it after my experience today. It’s very challenging, even though people can say they aren’t as fast as Formula 1.

“I would like to get into a competitive session and see where I am and if there’s an opportunity to do some testing for the series and [car supplier] Spark to help them out, I’d also be interested to do that.”

Rossiter had never experienced energy harvesting in a race car before Saturday’s running and said he enjoyed the challenge of the regen paddle, how the driver manually harvests energy from the rear axle under braking.

“If you brake too late or try to carry too much speed there’s nothing you can do as a driver to recover it,” he explained. “That’s what struck me the most.

“It gives a huge respect for the drivers who are good at it.

“You have to be so strict with yourself, you have to be so controlled not to overdrive it.

“The weight management on a bumpy circuit is another thing I found challenging and fun – the car moves around a bit, you’re in between walls, the kerbs can be taken at the apex.

“With the bouncy track and the weight of the car and the lack of grip, if you go over the limit and the car starts sliding it just carries on sliding.”

Rossiter has raced in Japan since 2013, having completed extensive testing for BAR, Honda, Super Aguri and Force India in Formula 1, and currently lies second in the Super GT points.

He also contested the opening two World Endurance Championship rounds with the ByKolles privateer LMP1 team but will miss the Le Mans 24 Hours because of a Super GT tyre test.

Rossiter’s employer Toyota is one of few major manufacturers not to have been linked with Formula E, though its LMP1 drivers Sebastien Buemi, Jose Maria Lopez and Stephane Sarrazin all currently compete in the series.

Mike Conway completed most of last season and made a one-off race appearance in Paris, while Nicolas Lapierre has tested the car as well.

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