that, really, the g-forces arenít that high, the cars not especially physically demanding.
The brakes, in comparison, are incredibly firm, and you have to press deep into them to kill speed. The tight cockpit bisected by the steering column means you have to left-foot brake.
Wary of destroying the car and of its worn-out tyres, Iím perhaps a little over-cautious in the faster corners, but Iím never really aware of an aero effect, and the DSV-02 is quite car-like in the way it shifts around slightly beneath you. Feed in throttle as the corner straightens and the electric racer gathers speed with the kind of runaway intensity that makes you tense and smile all at the same time.
Exiting slower corners, the front tyres start to scrub slightly. A Formula E car does have a higher percentage of its weight at the rear than a typical single seater, and maintains that balance because it doesnít burn fuel; perhaps that contributes some understeer. Yet if youíre just a little greedy on the throttle, itíll oversteer eagerly, especially in second gear. You need to be quick with corrections, but itís a lot of fun.
Familiarity with car and circuit increasing, I start to take more kerb and cut corners more heavily, following Birdís advice. Diving into a fast left-hander, I cut the left wheel slightly into a dusty compression and tense up, expecting a large thwack through the chassis, but it softens it all off like the wheel never left the circuit. The compliance is unreal, and essential on street circuits.
Earlier, Bird had told me to hold out for the brake board at the end of the long back straight, and I swear heís shifted it 50 metres upstream as a prank. It feels very, very late, especially as the speed is escalating so quickly as you hold out for the marker.
Towards the end of the stint, I steel myself to brake maybe just very slightly earlier as the hairpin zooms up.
I feel the brake pressure build up hard, and itís then that I have my lock-up. Bird says the grooved tyres are easy to lock, but are more resistant to flat-spotting than a slick.
Iím already getting mentally overloaded, but in races, Bird will blend his braking with a pull on the re-gen paddle to feed more energy back into the battery, and sometimes brake even later because heís going just a little slower to conserve energy.
Understanding what heís doing is relatively simple, but how he strings it all together during a race as a pack of world-class drivers bear down on him is incredibly impressive.
Me? After about eight laps, Iím about five seconds off Birdís pace. During a race, Iíd be running around like a stray safety car. But Iím happy enough with that, and even happier to bring it home in one piece.
BATTERY IS A STRUCTURAL COMPONENT, WEIGHS 250KG AND PRODUCES 28kWh. WITH TWO CARS PER RACE AND 56kWh CONSUMED, THATíS COMPARABLE TO SIX LITRES OF PETROL
THREE-SPEED GEARBOX MUST USE THE SAME RATIOS ALL SEASON; ENGINEERS HAVE TO COMPROMISE. FOR NOW, CARS ARE REAR-DRIVE; EXPECT ALL-WHEEL DRIVE IN THE FUTURE
TEAMS CAN DESIGN THEIR OWN REAR SUSPENSION AND POWERTRAIN PACKAGING SOLUTIONS. ELECTRIC MOTOR PRODUCES UP TO 200kW IN QUALI TRIM; 170kW FOR RACES