Audi unveils e-tron Formula E cars

Lucas di Grassi’s 2017/18 Audi e-tron FE04

Audi has unveiled its 2017/18 Formula E cars, which it has named the e-tron after its former LMP1 cars.

The German manufacturer enters Formula E as a factory concern for the first time this season, having previously supported the Abt team which it took over.

The Audi e-tron FE04 will utilise a single-speed gearbox as part of what Audi motorsport boss Dieter Gass called “a completely new powertrain”.

Three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Allan McNish has also been installed as team principal of the Abt-run outfit, having completed a season as a special advisor to Audi.

The e-tron FE04’s livery is a significant departure from last season’s red, yellow and green design.

Now the car features a white base with green, a nod to technical partner Schaeffler, and black additions.

Reigning Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi, who drove the car onto the stage at Audi’s official launch event on Wednesday night, will adopt the #1 for the coming season.

His car will be adorned with Audi’s famous four rings logo atop a black rear wing and a white rollhoop.

Team-mate Daniel Abt has been retained and elevated to factory Audi driver status – his car is differentiated by a red tip on the nosecone, as well as a red rollhoop and rear wing.

Audi board member for technical development Peter Mertens stressed the significance of Audi becoming “the first German automobile manufacturer to compete in Formula E”, with rivals BMW (2018/19) and Mercedes (2019/20) committing to later entries.

He also said the e-tron moniker, given to its R18 LMP1 machines from 2012, was to link the racing car to Audi’s family of electric and hybrid road cars.

Gass added, “Together with our technology partner Schaeffler, we have developed a completely new powertrain.

“You can immediately tell this by looking at the new carbon housing.

“The car also sounds different because we’re pursuing new avenues in technology.”

The new season starts on December 2-3 in Hong Kong.

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