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Turvey: “I am a strong believer in teamwork”

Focus | Drivers

  • Turvey took his maiden pole position in Mexico City
  • His engineering background means he can help the mechanics develop the car

Recognisable for his ginger hair, strong performances on track and kind personality, NextEV NIO Formula E driver Oliver Turvey shares his duties behind the wheel with being an engineer. In an interview with our editor Andrea Perilli, he talks about his career in engineering.

Turvey is definitely no stranger to Formula E. Having scored points on his debut at the first London ePrix in 2015, he followed this up with another points finish in the finale the next day. The Brit went on to complete season two with NEXTEV TCR and continues with the Chinese squad in season three, now NextEV NIO.

The NextEV NIO team is one of the strongest ones this year, having been on Super Pole in the four rounds contested so far this season. Turvey himself was awarded pole position in the last Mexico City ePrix, after Daniel Abt’s penalty and looked strong in P1 until issues affected his car and caused him to retire. But this may not be the only time we will see the 30-year-old on pole, judging by the brilliant performances he has been putting in so far.

But there is more than driving for him. Turvey is a Cambridge University Engineering graduate, a career that gives him a further understanding of everything that is going on in racing. As part of a world where engineering is a key, he talks about the benefits it has given him as a driver.

You are a driver and an engineer, could you tell us what came first: your passion for driving or engineering?

“Definitely my passion for driving and racing was first, which was when I started racing karts at 8 years old but, in order to continue racing, my parents encouraged me to do well in school. Due to the amount of money it costs to progress in motorsport I wanted to study engineering to help with my racing and understanding to be a more complete driver.”

In which aspects does being an engineer help your performance on track?

“I believe having an engineering background helps me on track as it makes me an analytical driver – I am always trying to understand where I can go quicker. I think it also helps working with the engineers in the team to be able to develop the car as well as optimising the set-up to get the most out of the whole package.”

Truth or myth, is engineering one of the hardest careers that exist?

“I think engineering is a challenging career and I have the highest respect for the leading engineers in motorsport but I also think that there are many other equally hard careers and ultimately being the best in any career is a challenge.”

Of course you’re at the wheel on Saturdays, but when you are not driving, do you help the team's engineers?

“Yes, I am a strong believer in teamwork so I am always trying to help the team’s engineers to develop the car and improve the team to achieve better results together. I have trust in all the engineers within our team, they have a lot of experience and have done a fantastic job with this season’s car.”

“My primary focus is on being the best driver I can be for the NextEV NIO Formula E Team and, as part of that, I am always trying to offer as much feedback to the engineers. Between races I am going to the engineering office to spend time with the engineers and drive the simulator to help with our development between races.”

The car has shown an enormous improvement in terms of performance this season and you're currently tenth in the championship standings. What would you highlight about your racing and the team’s results so far?

“The NextEV NIO FE Team have put in a huge effort since last season. The design of this season’s car is a massive step forward, so I am very proud to be working with them and driving for the team. I am pleased with our pace in the opening three rounds, qualifying on the front row in Hong Kong was a highlight as well as making Superpole again in Buenos Aires.”

“Although the races haven’t gone to the high targets we are aiming for, it is pleasing to have scored points in all the races so far this season and if we keep improving at the current rate I am confident we can achieve some great results together.”

Andrea Perilli | e-racing.net

Images courtesy of NextEV NIO

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