Ahead of its arrival to Formula E as a manufacturer, BMW is preparing intensely. Bruno Spengler took the wheel of their Season 5 challenger in Calafat, and he spoke to us to tell us how the experience was for him.
Formula E’s 2018-19 season will be a major step forward for the series and the racing world in general. Among the new aspects which will be introduced in this upcoming season, we find the Gen 2 car and the arrival of BMW as a manufacturer.
Precisely, in order to be ready ahead of this new venture, the German marque has been testing the futuristic-looking Gen 2 car in Calafat, Spain. Preparation is key to deliver good results, and the state of the car plays a significant role in the pursuit of success.
The Munich-based brand got their factory driver Bruno Spengler at the wheel of the BMW iFE.18. The French-born Canadian driver is a respected personality in the field of touring cars. He has been linked to BMW since 2012, the year when he won the DTM championship.
Earlier this year, he made a comeback to single-seaters after 14 years, when the MS&AD Andretti team announced he would be driving the Andretti ATEC-03 in the Marrakesh Rookie Test, giving the 34 year-old his first taste of Formula E.
“[The test] has given me some experience and also made me enjoy a lot driving the Formula E car”, he enthusiastically commented. “So was driving on a track that is being run in the championship, it was a super interesting test day for me”.
Spengler highlights that the weekend spent with the American team back in January, which gave him a big insight into the world of Formula E. “There was a lot of stuff for me to learn, a lot of new stuff I was not used to in a short day, but managed to learn it quite quickly, and really enjoyed my time working with the team; it was a great experience for me”.
Now driving BMW’s season challenger, the Canadian reckons having done the test in Marrakesh has been an advantage when jumping into the Gen 2. “It was good for me to have a bit of experience and to have a little bit of a comparison between both cars to know where to start from, and to work with the team to guide them a little bit on a certain direction, while doing development work.
“It was great for me as a driver to already have experience in a Formula E car, in an ‘old’ car, and then, when you transfer it to a new car, you have a base and you can work with the team”.
The particular design of this new machine has been praised by several drivers from the fully-electric championship, as well as others who compete in other series. Spengler’s opinion of the car design-wise matches to match what fellow racers say.
“I love the design of the Gen2 car! It’s a very aggressive car, it looks very quick –and it’s also very quick. It looks like a ‘batmobile’. I really like it; the work that has been done for the Gen2 car is great”.
Overall, testing the car was “a great experience” for the BMW driver. His run on Spanish soil had an important significance when it comes to driving a thoroughly new car. “Jumping in the car for the first time on the race track it’s something very special as a racing driver, and developing the car from the beginning is something that’s very interesting for me”.
Photo courtesy of BMW Press.