The BMW i Andretti Motorsport team has released images of its Gen2 FIA Formula E Championship car as Alexander Sims joins Antonio Felix da Costa for the 2018/19 season.
The team turns German from Formula E’s Season 5 onward as BMW joins in to provide factory support to the Andretti outfit with da Costa retained alongside another of BMW’s factory driver Sims drafted in with a full-time seat.
The British driver had a solid junior single-seater career but was forced to turn to sportscar as funds didn’t allow him to pursue that road any longer. He now makes a return to open-wheel racing after serving as the simulator driver for Andretti in 2017/18.
The team also revealed a brand new livery for the 2018/19 Formula E season starting on December 15 with the Saudi Arabia ePrix, sporting a blue and white combination along with some new partners.
Andretti’s boss Michael Andretti said: “I can’t wait to see BMW i Andretti Motorsport hit the race track in Season 5. I believe we have the right partners, drivers and personnel in place to compete at the very top level of Formula E.
“Everyone on both sides have been dedicated to the development of the new BMW iFE.18 and I look forward to seeing it in action. We are entering not only a new era of Formula E, but of motorsport as a whole.”
“I know Formula E really well and was always convinced that BMW would enter as a manufacturer one day. Now, to be part of this team is an incredible motivator,” said Felix da Costa, driver of the #28 car.
“Formula E has quickly become the place for top manufacturers and top drivers to meet. I am honoured to be entrusted with taking on this adventure in collaboration with BMW i Motorsport,” added Sims who will drive the #27 car.
BMW’s board member Klaus Frohlich said: “Formula E is not only an innovative and spectacular race series that has established itself as one of the top race series in the world with a totally new approach to sustainability and events within just a few years.
“For BMW, it is also the perfect test lab for production development. The technology transfer between motorsport and series production is intense. Our experience from series production benefits the drivetrain of the race car.
“At the same time, insights from Formula E flow directly into the development of future series production drivetrains. So I am looking forward to a great racing season.” BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt added:
“BMW’s expertise in the BMW iFE.18 is primarily in the heart of the vehicle, the drivetrain. We told the production engineers designing the electric motor and inverter: Forget about all the considerations you would usually have in development, and just think about performance, the greatest efficiency, the lowest weight.
“When we have reached that point, you can think about how to integrate that into series production later on. Our BMW Motorsport engineers designed the rear-axle including suspension and had to integrate the drivetrain in the rear end of the race car.
“The knowledge we gain in this highly competitive environment then flows straight back into production development. This is the perfect implementation of our motto: from the racetrack to the road.”
The private tests of the Gen2 car has been going on behind the scenes for BMW as well as the other teams, with the first and only official pre-season test scheduled on October 16 and 19 in Spain’s Valencia circuit.
Formula E 2018/19 line-up till now:
Venturi: Felipe Massa & Edoardo Mortara
Jaguar Racing: Nelson Piquet Jr & Mitch Evans
Audi: Lucas di Grassi & Daniel Abt
BMW Andretti: Antonio Felix da Costa & Alexander Sims