Andre Lotterer has expressed his excitement in joining what he considers to be “the most competitive driver field in motorsport” as he prepares to make his debut in the FIA Formula E Championship.
The German, who won the World Endurance Championship in 2012, will line up on the grid in the season-opening Hong Kong ePrix with the Techeetah team alongside race winner Jean-Eric Vergne, having explored other racing opportunities following the withdrawal of Porsche from the World Endurance Championship.
Having been contacted by Mark Preston, team principal of Techeetah, the three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner was highly interested in the series and is eager to make his mark in the all-electric series.
“With Porsche pulling out of LMP1 it’s fair to say that I was looking around to see what other opportunities were out there,” explained the 35-year-old. “Mark Preston was in the meantime looking around for a new driver to accompany Jean-Eric Vergne.
“Mark had a list of criteria he wanted the new driver to fulfil and when the team had gone through drivers who fulfilled these criteria, I was on top of their list and that is how the deal came about.
“It’s really exciting to be part of the Formula E championship. I don’t think anyone expected the championship to have such an expediential growth rate. Comparing Formula E’s development with how long it’s taken other established motorsport categories to have the same impact, it’s genuinely impressive!
“Alejandro [Agag] and his team has accomplished a great amount in only three years and it feel great to be part of what the championship will bring in the near future.”
As well as acknowledging the strength of the “on merit” field, Lotterer took the time to appreciate the global impact that Formula E is having not just in motor racing, but also in the automotive world.
“Formula E probably has the most competitive driver field in motorsport. None of the drivers bring money but are all here solemnly on merit. I am a fierce competitor and love taking on new challenges, and that’s the main reason why I am in Formula E.
“We will see more change in the automotive industry and in motorsport in the next five years than we have seen in the last decade and Formula E is spearheading that on the motorsport front.
“As drivers, we always have to adapt to our environment and even though my love for combustion engine cars will always remain, we have to accept that the future is electric and that we are going through a huge change at the moment.
“It is really important for me to be part of that change and that is the other reason why I wanted to be part of the championship.”
With pre-season testing completed, Lotterer is eager to make his debut in Hong Kong but remains realistic about his chances as he first looks to adapt to the series and integrate further into the Techeetah team.
” The championship will probably be the most competitive it’s ever been this season. There’s a lot of drivers who have been in Formula E from season one and the other teams have had two seasons to optimise their packages for season four. It will be hugely exciting that is certain.
“Although testing gives an indication of performance, the track in Valencia isn’t entirely representative of a Formula E track so we won’t necessarily know exactly what the grid will look like until we are in Hong Kong, and even then, there’s always surprises in Formula E!
“As a driver, you always aim for the top, otherwise you wouldn’t be a racer. Realistically though, I think we need to complete the races in Hong Kong to see where we are really at. It will be my first race together with a new team and it always takes a couple of takes to get everything completely right, that is just how it goes.
“I’ve got a really good team behind me though and we are doing non-stop prep to get everything that we can to be as ready as possible for the Hong Kong ePrix.”