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Free battery choice needed for Formula E, says Porsche team

Porsche Motorsport Vice President Thomas Laudenbach (right) and Director Factory Motorsport for Formula E Florian Modlinger (left) speak during an interview with Korean media at Jamsil Sports Complex, Seoul, Friday. (Porsche Korea)
Porsche Motorsport Vice President Thomas Laudenbach (right) and Director Factory Motorsport for Formula E Florian Modlinger (left) speak during an interview with Korean media at Jamsil Sports Complex, Seoul, Friday. (Porsche Korea)

Every Formula E works as a giant laboratory to test the latest electric vehicle technology. But the competition rule that forbids carmakers from altering auto components, particularly batteries, should be lifted to bring electric mobility to the next level, Porsche Motorsports said in Seoul Friday.

“Battery is one of the most important parts of electric vehicles -- or the most important -- as it has huge impact to the weight and performance,“ said Porsche Motorsport Vice President Thomas Laudenbach on the eve of the Seoul E-Prix.

“Looking into the future, for sure, together with Formula E and manufacturers, there should be a detailed way to define which area (of vehicle specification) to be opened and allowed (for modification for race),” he said.

Under Formula E organizer FIA’s rule, carmakers are banned from modifying the chassis, tire or battery of a race car.

The rule -- which carmakers say limits their applications of the latest technology to racing cars -- forced other top auto giants such as Audi and BMW to leave the competition in the previous season.

All Formula E participants are required to use the official race car Gen 2. 

They are only allowed to modify the powertrain area such as the inverter, transmission and suspension depending on race strategy.

”What we do on track has relevance to what we do with cars -- technologies that we put here, such as powertrain solutions and software, for sure, must have benefits on the (mass-produced) cars,“ said Laudenbach, adding that its flagship electric car Taycan had been tested, developed and shaped through Formula E races. 

Florian Modlinger, director factory motorsport for Formula E, echoed the view that the battery is where money should be spent. 

“(The battery) would be where to spend money and where to make next step (for carmakers) and a very good idea would be to open up the parameters surrounding the battery or storage system,” he said.

Having teamed up in 2019, the Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E team has been competing for EV supremacy all around the world. It has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its 919 Hybrid model.

Porsche redesigned its race car Porsche 99X Electric exclusively for the Seoul E-Prix, a car inspired by its flagship EV Taycan and launched through a collaboration with Swiss luxury watch brand Tag Heuer. 

The Porsche team finished the race last weekend in the seventh spot.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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