2014 Auto Expo: Mahindra Formula E car showcased
Mahindra Racing is the only Indian team involved in the all-new Formula E championship that will kick off in 2014. At the Auto Expo, the Indian manufacturer showcased their new Formula E car, complete in Mahindra Racing colours. While the Formula E championship will run as a single make series during its first season, the organisers of the series are keen that from 2015 onwards, the various teams involved in the series will be responsible for developing their own race cars. OVERDRIVE caught up with SP Shukla, Chairman-Mahindra Racing, to ask him about the team's strategy over the coming two years.
Given that the series is being run as a single-make series the first year, the learning curve for a company like Mahindra, with special focus on Mahindra-Reva will be steep. Shukla declared that the main focus of the team would be to learn about battery management during the first season. Another important aspect that the team will focus on in 2014 will be powertrain control management and related learnings. However, it is in the second year that things will get truly interesting for Mahindra Racing's Formula E initiative. "The second year will allow us to join our racing expertise with our expertise in electric vehicles," declared Shukla, with a reference to the company's electric division. Add to that the fact that the company is the sole team in the Formula E series that manufactures electric cars, and this technology transfer becomes all the more important. Especially since for Mahindra Racing, the knowledge and technology transfer application isn't just limited to the team itself. "We hope to build a car that (like in Moto3) we can lease to other teams as well," he stated.
In terms of the drivers who will race for Mahindra in the championship's inaugural season, the rumours are plentiful. However, even as Karun Chandhok's name has been confirmed in the official Formula E driver pool list, and Narain Karthikeyan has been confirmed to take part in the Super Formula Japan series despite displaying some interest in Formula E, Mahindra is keeping mum about their driver selection. Shukla declared that drivers have expressed heavy interest in the Mahindra team, likening the situation to "being a mosquito in a nudist camp". However, to give us some timeline of when the announcement could be expected, he declared "We will announce the drivers later, maybe by March."
Speaking directly about Mahindra's role in the Formula E series, Shukla declared "Electric cars are important and we hope to learn lots that we can translate into production cars from the Formula E experience."