“It was this big…”

Video: in this short video produced for technology company Qualcomm, Formula E development driver Lucas di Grassi gives a brief overview of the Spark Renault racing car that will be used in the first series by all teams.

The film is stylishly shot but in need of an editorial once-over. While di Grassi’s enthusiasm is commendable, some of his claims err on the side of…well, they just appear erroneous.

Three examples stand out:

  1. “This car has been designed to be the most aerodynamically efficient car ever produced.” That seems an awfully bold claim to make, certainly without supporting evidence. Aerodynamic engineers and analysts that Current E has spoken to have explained that it is difficult to accurately estimate the drag coefficient of the Spark Renault without dedicated testing, but that they doubt that the car can live up to the claim.
  2. “300hp motor.” FEH quotes a peak power of 200kW for the Spark Renault powertrain, which translates as less than 270hp. The Spark Renault borrows the motor from the McLaren P1; in that car, it produces just 176hp. Exuberant exaggeration or inadvertent revelation of undeclared extra power? No comment has yet been forthcoming from FEH.
  3. “Six-speed gearbox.” This is rather more interesting. Information in the public domain to date suggests it is actually a four-speed transmission from gearbox specialist Hewland that is being used to link the McLaren electric motor to the Spark’s rear axle. Hewland was unable to comment due to a non-disclosure agreement, and queries put to McLaren, FEH and Spark have gone unanswered. The mystery deepens.

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