The weather was beautifully sunny. bright and warm in Long Beach for the long one-day Long Beach Formula Electric Race.
The morning schedule calls for three 25-minute non-qualifying practice sessions, with breaks for non Fe-related activities. One of those activities was the lottery for the four qualifying groups, which each will have ten minutes of track time.
The sounds, such as they were, didn’t require earplugs. I watched from above Turn Three – Pine Avenue corner. The loudest noise was the tires when cars braked for the curve, and then the grinding sound going down the straight – much like a small power tool. The loudest noise was a car hitting and sliding down the concrete barrier wall.
All twenty drivers were on track for all three sessions.
Nelson Piquet/No.99 China Racing Formula E Team was fastest in the first practice at 59.723 seconds, which he turned on his last of his 11 laps. Second was Bruno Senna/No.21 Mahindra Racing Formula E Team at 59.977. They were the only two drivers under a minute around the 1.324-miles/2.131 km modified IndyCar street circuit. American Scott Speed racing for the American Andretti Autosport Formula E Team was third.
Lucas di Grassi/No.11 Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team was faster yet, topping the chart in Practice Two, at 57.3 seconds. And then he repeated his skills in Practice Three, running even faster – 57.203 seconds.
Despite his shunt in the second practice, Andretti Autosport’s second driver, Jean-Eric Vergne/No.27 was second fastest in the last practice. Vergne’s crash looked and sounded spectacular, but he was alright. He slid hard into a tire barrier, toppled the tires and then hit the wall and slid down. Quite noisy. Made all the Highlights Reels.
Di Grassi’s teammate, Daniel Abt/No.66 Audi Sport ABT, wasn’t as fortunate as di Grassi. Abt hit the wall in Turn One during P1, and the subsequent Red Flag ended that session prematurely. Abt was alright, and he got out for the other two sessions.
Points leader Nicolas Prost, driving No.8e.dams Renault was twelfth fastest in the first practice, and third overall in the second and third practices.
The SCCA volunteer track marshals had extensive training on Friday on marshalling the FIA way.The key point made regarded dealing with/responding to the fully electric cars. Marshals were told not respond to any car until the Green Light indicator is visible, and especially stay away when the indicator is Red.
FIA Formula Electric is not following in the path just taken by FIA WEC – banning Grid Girls from all races. For the Formula E race, the Grid Girls will be wearing chaste but very short FIA-blue dresses.
Next up Qualifying.