GP2 race winner Tom Dillmann tested a Formula E car for Team Aguri earlier this week - and he spoke about his experience with Motorsport.com France's Emmanuel Rolland.
Currently sixth in the Formula Renault 3.5 standings with Carlin, Tom Dillmann made the most of the summer break by making his Formula E test debut with Team Aguri.
Setting the 10th fastest time on Tuesday, Dillmann spoke to Motorsport.com after this first outing at the wheel of an electric single-seater.
How did you end up testing in Formula E at Donington with Aguri?
"An engineer with whom I used to work recommended me to Aguri. The team called me last week for the first tests at Donington, I went to see them and did a bit of simulator.
"Then I was at the track on Monday to follow the first day with us [with Salvador Duran at the wheel], before doing three laps in the rain to make sure my driving position was fine. On Tuesday, I was the one driving."
Considering your significant experience in single-seaters, did the Formula E car feel much different?
"Not really, no, it’s not that different, it’s still a car. Once you’re in there, it’s the same.
"For sure, in terms of driving, it doesn’t behave the same way as a normal single-seater. First of all, you need to manage the weight – with 900kgs, driver included, it’s quite a heavy car, and you need to take that into account.
"In terms of driving, you’re between single-seaters and GTs. Then, you need to familiarise yourself with the energy recovery system on the rear brakes as the car is sometimes a bit unpredictable when braking, but nothing serious. Nothing really surprised me."
How was the feeling, driving the car on Tuesday?
"It’s not very fast, for sure, but the car is not easy to drive either. It should be noted that Donington does not really suit the Formula E car, but on a street circuit, between the walls, it must be very nice indeed."
Do you feel attracted by the challenge that Formula E represents?
"Completely. First of all, it has a bright future ahead, it will develop and grow. You can see that several constructors are heavily involved now, with Renault, DS or Audi, and that’s very interesting when you want to be a professional driver.
"And the level of the field is very high, with former Formula 1 drivers, current LMP1 drivers, that’s quite a high level, and that’s what makes the competition nice."
How is Team Aguri doing compared to the other teams?
"We don’t have the best resources, that’s for sure. Now, Renault, Audi, DS and Mahindra are developing their own engines. Dragon and Venturi are coming with evolutions on the shared powertrain.
"For Aguri, the base is exactly the same as last year, without any evolution. But on the other hand, that’s an engine with proven reliability. And we can still optimise the software, so there’s something to do with that car."
What will come after this test?
"I don’t know, I know that the team is going to keep evaluating drivers in the next tests, we should know about it soon.
"In any case, the testing has enabled me to get to know the car, it’s positive for the future. If I am to ever drive again, I will already have that first experience."
Translation by Benjamin Vinel