This weekend in New York City, the Porsche Formula E team made its North American debut to promising results. For the first time in the team’s history, both cars made it into a superpole qualifying session at the same time, which is a massive step forward, and the drivers came away with decent points. While neither Pascal Wehrlein or Andre Lotterer made it to the podium, they both delivered well for the team, and are inching closer to securing Porsche’s first official win. The Red Hook circuit is a tough one for the Porsche team, having never been to NYC before, thanks to the round being canceled during last year’s pandemic spiking cases around the world, but the team got together, put their heads down, and pushed through a tough weekend with something to show for it on the other side.
Saturday — Round 10
Of the two races, Saturday’s event was the worse one for Porsche, despite Lotterer earning points for the first time since his podium finish in Spain. He started the race from tenth on the grid, moved up two positions to finish eighth, and scored good points. Sadly, the race went far worse for Wehrlein, despite qualifying in sixth on the grid. After an incredibly promising start and first few laps of the race, he rear-ended a competitor as he was merging back onto the race surface from selecting his second attack mode. The damage was too severe and Wehrlein was forced to retire from a points paying position.
Comments on the New York City E-Prix, Race 10
Amiel Lindesay, Head of Operations Formula E: “Like in Mexico, we again showed our potential here in New York City. Pascal did a mega job coming from the second quali group and made it through to Super Pole. In the race, he took the second attack mode, which means he could brake a bit later, his front tires locked and he went into the back of another car. Unfortunately, suspension damage signaled the end of his race. It’s a shame because he could definitely have been among the top contenders. Like Pascal, André had to start on the dirty side of the track. Still, he drove a solid and efficient race and brought home points. We’ll be back in the fight tomorrow. Credit must be given to the team for handling the battery temperatures so well. They did a great job in doing this in such hot conditions with no noticeable performance offset.”
André Lotterer, Porsche works driver (#36): “I finished in the points and I’m satisfied with that result. I had a good race and I made the most of my options. Our car handled well on the challenging track and I think we can do better tomorrow.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#99): “I’m disappointed. It was clearly my mistake. I activated attack mode for the second time, braked later than the car in front of me, the brakes suddenly locked up and I couldn’t swerve in time. Luckily we have another chance tomorrow, which we’ll hopefully make better use of.”
Sunday — Round 11
In what may have been Porsche’s best result since it joined the Formula E grid, both cars finished in the points at round 11 in New York. This time Wehrlein managed to keep his car on the track for the full duration, and both cars were in contention for another podium pretty much the whole race. Both of Porsche’s 99X Electric drivers made it up into Super Pole for the first time ahead of Round 11, and the pair qualified with Wehrlein on 4th and Lotterer on 6th. The pair made it through a crazy first lap unscathed and settled into a rhythm following the top three racers. They raced in lock step the rest of the event, closing in on third, but not quite making a pass stick.
Comments on the New York City E-Prix, Race 11
Amiel Lindesay, Head of Operations Formula E: “It was a good day for Porsche. For the first time, we had two cars in the Super Pole, that was a strong team effort. The race wasn’t easy for the team because both cars were up at the front, but we’ve shown that we can handle it. Pascal’s first attack mode perhaps didn’t come at the best time, but in the end, it’s the team performance and the points that count. We’re on our way up the championship rankings. Pascal is on ninth, just 21 points behind the leader. Everything is still open.”
André Lotterer, Porsche works driver (#36): “We can be very satisfied with this team effort. But there’s still a bitter feeling that we had the potential to finish on the podium today. Our cars were set up well and very fast, but we had to allow an opponent to pass in attack mode and we weren’t able to counterattack. It’s a shame because a podium would obviously have been nicer. Now we have to try to do even better in London.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#99): “We earned important points for the team. Still, we always want the maximum and more would definitely have been possible today. We had the potential for this. But right now we’re pleased with the strong team result. We’ll analyze where we can make improvements and come back even stronger in London. We’re definitely heading in the right direction.”
There are four rounds remaining in the season, and with these points, Porsche has managed to pass the ROKiT Venturi Racing team to move into 7th in the teams championship, and closed some valuable points on German competitors Audi and Mercedes, which collectively scored just one point all weekend. It is unlikely that Porsche will win the championship this season, but a couple late-season victories, especially at the German doubleheader season finale, would certainly not go unwelcome.