Formula E - Jaguar TCS Racing duo take charge in ABB FIA Formula E World Championship pre-season test

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New Zealand pairing complete clean sweep of fastest times as Valencia running kick-starts Season 10 of electric single-seater series

They had already been tipped as one of the strongest line-ups on the grid in the 2023/24 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, and during last week’s pre-season test in Valencia (24-27 October), Jaguar TCS Racing duo Mitch Evans and Nick Cassidy lived up to that billing by topping the timesheets on all three days.

In dry conditions, 28 drivers – including a number of promising rookies – took to the track over the course of the Spanish test, completing a total of almost 5,000 laps equating to 16,745km around the Circuit Ricardo Tormo as the forthcoming campaign got underway in earnest.

Up at the sharp end, Evans – a title contender in each of the past two seasons in the all-electric single-seater series – punched in a lap of 1m24.474s towards the end of the opening session on Tuesday, and it would not subsequently be beaten.

The New Zealander’s effort was more than six tenths-of-a-second quicker than the 2022 benchmark at the same track – set by Maximilian Günther – and ultimately, no fewer than 19 drivers would dip beneath the German’s time, underscoring the rapid pace of development during the Gen3 car’s short existence to-date.

Evans – along with TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein and Maserati MSG Racing ace Günther – was one of just three drivers to place inside the top six in every session in what proved to be a fiercely competitive test, with the final top 15 blanketed by less than half-a-second around the 3.376km lap.

After leading the way on both Tuesday and Thursday, Evans was supplanted atop the timesheets on Friday by Jaguar stablemate Cassidy, with the Season 9 championship runner-up’s 1:24.617s good enough for equal-second in the overall order, matched tenth-for-tenth by 2019/20 champion António Félix da Costa (Porsche).

Fellow former title-winner Sébastien Buemi wound up fourth for Envision Racing, with Günther – a regular pace-setter in Formula E pre-season testing – close behind in fifth ahead of Edoardo Mortara on his debut for Mahindra Racing, the Swiss star having held sway for much of day two.

Robin Frijns ended up seventh and took the ‘honours’ in the 27-lap simulation race, which enabled drivers and teams to run through a variety of procedures from ‘Attack Mode’ activations to Full Course Yellow and safety car interruptions, as well as seeing the impact of ‘Attack Charge’ in racing conditions.

Wehrlein, Norman Nato (Andretti Formula E) and Nissan Formula E Team’s Oliver Rowland rounded out the top ten, with defending champion Jake Dennis (Andretti) not far behind in 12th, less than four tenths shy of Evans’ best.

Amongst the rookies, Taylor Barnard turned heads at the wheel of Sam Bird’s NEOM McLaren Formula E Team car – lapping seventh-quickest on the first day – while Jehan Daruvala, who will compete for Maserati in Season 10, impressed throughout.

The upcoming campaign will begin with the Mexico City E-Prix on 13 January – the first of 16 rounds to determine the destiny of the coveted Drivers’ and Teams’ crowns.