With the third FIA Formula E Championship due to kick off in the streets of Hong Kong on October 9, teams gathered at Donington, England, at the end of August and early September for two three-day tests. These sessions allowed them to fine-tine the set-ups of their respective cars and familiarise themselves with the new, second-generation Michelin Pilot Sport EV.
Following a request by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) the specification of the tire, which featured in the second Formula E Championship campaign (2015/2016) was unchanged compared with the inaugural season on the grounds that its performance had surpassed initial expectations. A stable base was also preferred because the second year’s cars were due to undergo significant evolutions to their motors, transmissions and rear suspension pick-up points.
For Season 3, however, the Michelin Pilot Sport EV – which was the first 18-inch, dual-purpose (wet and dry) tire for a single-seater racing car at the time of its launch, has evolved in two main areas.
“The Michelin Pilot Sport EV2 has revolutionised the role played by tires in motor racing,” said Serge Grisin, the manager of Michelin’s Formula E programme. “The new second-generation Pilot Sport EV pushes out the envelope even further in terms of low rolling resistance, a phenomenon that accounts for 25% of the energy consumed by any vehicle. It is also lighter for the same level of performance and grip as last season.”
“We didn’t get many opportunities to lap with the new tire during the break between the two seasons so we all had to familiarise ourselves with it quite quickly,” added Renault-e.dams’ 2015/2016 Formula E champion, Sébastien Buemi. “It gets up to temperature more quickly and that’s sure to be good for the show!”
“The performance of the new Michelin Pilot Sport EV2 is similar to that of the former tire but its characteristics are different,” furthered Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Faraday Future Dragon Racing). “It has good potential, especially with regard to lateral and longitudinal grip.”
Five new venues appear on the third season’s calendar, namely Hong Kong, Marrakech, Brussels, Montreal and New York, whilst two host cities remain tbc at this stage.