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Breath-taking finish at the Cape of Good Hope: Da Costa snatches last-gasp victory

2023. 02. 27

- António Félix da Costa won the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in South Africa
- High speed through Cape Town – the Hankook iON Race gives the drivers the confidence they need
- Sacha Fenestraz set a Formula E new record, clocking an average speed of 154,987 km/h

Neu-Isenburg, Germany, February 27, 2023 – The premiere of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in South Africa could hardly have been more exciting. The lead changed hands on numerous occasions as the race headed towards its breath-taking climax, drawing standing ovations from the packed grandstands. Portuguese driver António Félix da Costa (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team) pulled off a spectacular overtaking maneuver on the penultimate lap of the street circuit in Cape Town to wrest the lead from Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne (DS Penske) and secure his first victory since the Formula E race in New York in 2022.

The Porsche driver benefitted from his genial energy management and the strong performance of the Hankook iON Race. The 31-year-old started from eleventh place on the grid and worked his way through the field. “We are constantly learning how to work with the tire. Even in today’s race, we gained more new insights. Based on the experience gained so far, we started with a certain set-up, which allowed us to be really strong, particularly at the end of the race. The strategy worked perfectly. It is fun getting to understand a new tire. We are doing precisely that, and the tire is behaving really well. The tire gave us the maximum grip level, despite the different surfaces,” said the race winner. Third place went to New Zealander Nick Cassidy from the Envision Racing team.

Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Director Motorsport: “Congratulations to António Félix da Costa. He fully deserves his success in South Africa after an excellent performance. He will go down in the history books as the first winner of this E-Prix. I am pleased that our Hankook iON Race mastered this high-speed race with great aplomb and, with its excellent performance, contributed to the successful premiere. Cape Town and, above all, this special layout have been a fantastic experience for all of us. The organization was also extraordinarily good. We were particularly delighted by the great interest shown by the spectators and the friendliness of the people. I hope we will return next year and can once again put on a show of top-class motorsport for the fans.”

Very fast, very bumpy, and with a lot of different surfaces – that was how the 22 Formula E drivers found the street circuit in Cape Town. Race number five of the season posed a number of challenges for the Hankook iON Race. Thomas Baltes, Hankook Formula E race engineer “The circuit is one of the fastest in Season 9. The bumps and five different types of asphalt, in particular, really put the drivers and our tire through their paces. The difference in temperature between the red and the black asphalt was up to six degrees Celsius. That obviously affected the grip level. However, the high level of consistency demonstrated by the iON Race gave the drivers the confidence they needed to pull off overtaking maneuvers and the belief that they had the necessary grip to brake hard at the end of the high-speed straights.”

New Zealander Nick Cassidy from the Envision Racing team set a new record for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in the second free practice ahead of the Cape Town E-Prix. On the Hankook iON Race tire, he completed a lap of the circuit at an average speed of 154.373 km/h – faster than ever before. However, just two hours later, Frenchman Sacha Fenestraz (Nissan Formula E Team) went even quicker, clocking an average speed of 154,987 km/h to set a new Formula E record.

Formula E races are broadcast live on television all over the world. One of the best-known German sport presenters is Andrea Kaiser. The Munich resident was in South Africa to present live coverage of race five for free-to-air TV station ProSieben, which shows every race exclusively on German television. Kaiser spoke to Hankook Motorsport Director Manfred Sandbichler to get the key information on the Hankook iON Race.

Why does one compound work for every Formula E race? How does the Hankook iON Race manage to provide the same level of grip throughout the entire race distance? How did the idea to use two running surfaces on one tire come about? Hankook Motorsport Director Manfred Sandbichler and Benoît Tréluyer, test and development driver for the iON Race, provided Hankook colleagues from South Africa and selected journalists with answers to these questions and more about Hankook’s premium product.

Will Formula E be part of a Hollywood production for the second time? Magazine “Variety” is reporting that producer Ted Field of Jumanji could welcome Formula E on board as a partner for his new action thriller “Breakneck”. The film tells the story of a female racing driver who finds her way into Formula E after a difficult childhood. However, her dream ends after the first race when she is thrown out of the team. In order to make ends meet financially, she instead becomes a getaway driver for a gang in Miami, but continues to reminisce about her time as a Formula E driver. “Variety” is part of the Penske Media Corporation, whose CEO is Jay Penske. Formula E has already been the subject of a film production in the documentation “And We Go Green” from Fisher Stevens.