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.

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.”

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About this article
Series Formula E
Teams Virgin Racing
Article type Breaking news