Last season’s inaugural Jakarta E-Prix, the first FIA-sanctioned race in Indonesia since 2006, saw Jaguar TCS Racing driver Mitch Evans take victory, finishing on the top-step of the podium after a decisive race in challenging hot and humid conditions.
Evans fended off the close attentions of Jean-Eric Vergne and Edoardo Mortara to take his third win of Season 8. The Jaguar driver made a late-race lunge that caught then-leader Vergne off-guard at Turn 7 on Lap 31 - an opportunistic move from way back. From there, walking the tightrope of energy and outright speed on the new circuit became increasingly critical for the lead duo as they fought between themselves and against searing track temperatures which were among the hottest the series had ever encountered.
That allowed Mortara to join the party and look to pick up the pieces as Evans and Vergne squabbled. Evans had some five minutes plus added time to hold the pair off, with the race anybody's heading into the final turn and his rear tyres fading fast. The Kiwi did hold on, though, to head Vergne home with Mortara right with both of them - all three drivers within a second of one-another.
“The last run of races has been positive for us, and we’ve been able to close the gap in both the Teams’ and Drivers’ championships," says Evans. "It’s given the team some healthy momentum as we head into the next double-header. Jakarta is a physically challenging race, but I performed well there last season, so we’re feeling positive and we’ll push to bring home some strong points and podiums this weekend.”
Jaguar TCS Racing currently sit third in the Teams’ Championship, just 26 points behind the leader and Jaguar’s customer team, Envision Racing. So far this season, Jaguar powertrain race cars have secured a combined total of four first-place finishes, 11 podiums and 338 championship points. Jaguar TCS Racing driver Evans is fourth in the driver standings, with teammate Sam Bird in seventh.
"While we’ve had some fantastic races recently – both for Jaguar TCS Racing and our customer team, we are not complacent and our focus is firmly set on having two strong races in Jakarta," said James Barclay, Jaguar TCS Racing Team Principal. "It’s a difficult race to manage as it can be physically tough for the drivers, the team and the car with high temperatures and humidity.
"It’s always good to return to the scene of success but we are realistic that with a new race car, the Jaguar I-TYPE 6, and the new Hankook tyres it is a reset, and we cannot rely on what we did last year. As with all the races so far this season, tyre and energy management will be really important and success will require a perfectly executed race, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
“Monaco was a tricky race for me and didn’t deliver the results we were hoping for, but I’m putting it firmly behind me and focusing on the double-header in Jakarta," adds Bird. "There are twice the points available in one weekend, so it’s all to play for. We’ve been working hard as a team and it’s clear we have the performance - I’ll give it everything I’ve got.”
Searing heat and unpredictable weather
Phil Charles, Jaguar TCS Racing Technical Manager sees a big challenge keeping the GEN3 in the right window, with teams and drivers experiencing the Indonesian heat and humidity for the first time in new machinery.
“The Jakarta E-Prix is one of the trickiest races to manage on the calendar, with sweltering temperatures and high humidity. Not only do we need to keep the battery, powertrain and tyres in the happy temperature window, we’ve got to keep the team in comfortable operating levels as well; and with a double header this time around, that will be a challenge. It’s a really fast, technical track and with unpredictable weather thrown into the mix as well – we will need to keep on our toes!”