Along with a new chassis and drivetrain for Porsche’s next assault on the Formula E season, the team is doing a bit of shuffling of its driver lineup as well. While long-serving Andre Lotterer is headed over to the team’s LMDh prototype efforts to spearhead the Le Mans program, his seat in Formula E alongside Pascal Wehrlein is empty. In order to fill Lotterer’s seat, Porsche has hired 2019-20 Formula E Champion Antonio Felix da Costa from the DS Techeetah team. Da Costa has eight full years of Formula E experience, having won seven E-Prix events and scored a further nine podium finishes in that time. While running in Formula E the Portuguese driver has also competed full time in the FIA WEC running an LMP2 with Jota Sport. In fact, he and his Jota team won at Le Mans this year, and are leading the FIA WEC LMP2 title fight.
The 30-year-old driver has long been an open-wheel maven, taking a regional Formula Renault championship way back in 2009, which vaulted him up to Formula 3 and GP3 with highly regarded team Carlin and a testing position with then-F1-team Force India. The driver found his greatest early career success by winning the famed Macau Grand Prix in 2012, and landed a Red Bull Racing test driver position. From there he spent a few years in DTM with BMW Team MTEK, and won the Macau Grand Prix a second time in 2016. Since then he has raced several open wheel, sports car, and endurance prototype events for various different teams, showing his prowess along the way. This is a solid hire for Porsche, as they now have one of the more impressive driver lineups on the Formula E grid. Lotterer was solid and reliable, helping the team develop a good car, but found a number of ways to be unlucky across the race weekend. Hopefully da Costa’s luck will prove better for the team next season.
“I’m delighted that António is coming on board. He has an incredible skill set as a racing driver and has demonstrated many times that he’s a winner, not only in Formula E,” says Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “We hold him in high regard as a driver and on his own merits as a person. He’s a positive guy who is a great fit for us and the Porsche Motorsport family. I’m confident that we’ll fight for victories and titles together for years to come.”
“It’s like a dream come true. I’m really looking forward to cracking on and winning races for this team,” says António Félix da Costa. “I’ve been beaten by a Porsche many times in my career, and not only in Formula E, so I know that Porsche does everything to win. It’s in the brand’s DNA. I share the same ambition and can hardly wait to bond with the team and work together to ensure a successful start to the Gen3 era.”
“We’re very much looking forward to working with António,” says Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E. “I know him from various racing series and I have a lot of respect for him on a personal level. It’s incredible what he has already achieved in Formula E. We’ll do our utmost to give him a competitive Gen3 car so that he can fight for wins and titles. The team is very much looking forward to welcoming him.”
If we were going to be placing some bets, we’d wager that da Costa will do more than just Formula E with Porsche. Considering his serious chops in LMP2, he’ll probably get a chance in Porsche’s upcoming LMDh program, perhaps as an extra driver for the 24 Hours of Daytona or 12 Hours of Sebring. Either way, we’re excited to see him in a Porsche!