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It’s all change at DS Virgin Racing for Season 3 – with a new team driver in Jose Maria Lopez, new team livery and a brand new car, the DSV-02. We sat down with Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon and FE Technical Manager Thomas Chevaucher of DS Performance to talk through the car, pre season testing and pre season nerves.

Season 3 opens this weekend, in Hong Kong. What are the main lessons you’ll be carrying over from Season 2?

Xavier Mestelan Pinon

Season 2 was the formative part of our collaboration. On the ground, it was about learning to work in a team that was part English, part French in terms of systems of thought and approach. However, it’s worked to our strength as both sides complement each other. The English engineers tend to have a broad view of various issues, whilst the French like to dig down into specific detail. With these two elements combined, we’re entering Season 3 from an excellent platform from which to fight for top positions.

Thomas Chevaucher

Looking at Formula E’s development from a wider perspective, there’s an enormous amount of difference car to car. Arguably more so than any other motorsport. The choice of engine, of gearbox and other parts is fundamentally different between team, and it’s all so high tech you have the software element as an added element of diversity too. It’s a real surprise how close the racing has been with that in mind. We expect this season there may well be some real variation on the track.


Tell us about the Season 3 car

Thomas Chevaucher

The DSV-02 is a brand new car. We’ve completely changed the powertrain end to end: motor, gearbox, rear housing and surrounding tech.

I can’t tell you too much – the architecture is all under wraps! But what I can say is it’s a 3-speed. With gearing it’s always about finding the compromise between performance and efficiency.

Xavier Mestelan Pinon

We’ve learned a huge amount from our second generation powertrain – the innovative nature of the electric engine industry means this is all ground breaking research. We’ve seen a substantial jump in performance during testing through both engine tweaks and software adjustments, and we’re already seeing a knock-on effect in terms of trickle down tech to our wider DS automotive department.


What have been the major pre-season challenges?

Thomas Chevaucher

Generally speaking motorsports have a lot in common discipline to discipline, but Formula E is unique for a few reasons beyond the obvious. One is we’re not building a complete car, we’re only building segments such as the powertrain. The other is that we’re using completely new, never before seen technology, so much so that just getting the research done fast enough to develop the kit is half the battle. Our tech innovations are built on previous experience. We have no such luxury with Formula E.


At this early stage, are your forays into Formula E having an impact into your own road car developments?

Xavier Mestelan Pinon

Increasingly our remit at DS Performance is toward high performance hybrid cars. The electric segment of this is by nature, new territory, so our involvement in Formula E is crucial. Part of the challenge of being a manufacturer is understanding pacing: that a rational timeline to ever more hybrid vehicles is crucial to electric integration on road vehiclesWe’re all committed to the idea that the road ahead is an unmapped one, and Formula E is the vehicle for the job.


How are you feeling about the season ahead?

Thomas Chevaucher

With Formula E still being so new, and the engines being so high tech, I think every team has the same challenge going into the season. We’re all running very new tech, with very little testing time! So it’s always a bit nerve wracking, hoping both our drivers and our cars work to their potential. But I feel we are very strong competitors.

Xavier Mestelan Pinon

We’re looking forward to bringing the fight! We have a massive job to do, not least because now all the major manufacturers are climbing aboard Formula E. But the challenges presented by this new motorsport are best handled by good co-operation between manufacturers and other partners. We feel we’re ahead here – as DS Virgin Racing is already, at the start of Season 3, a slick machine.


The DSV-02 Specs:

Car Weight880 kg minimum with driver
Battery Weight190 kg (capacity 28 KW/h) / 190 kg (capacity 28 KW/h)
EngineOne electric engine driving AR wheels
Gear box3 speed
BrakesVentilated carbon disks, 4-piston calipers; adjustable AV/AR distribution from the interior
Max. speed225 km/h
Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/hLess than 4 s
Braking distance100 m to slow down from 210 km/h to 40 km/h
TyresMichelin Pilot Sport EV 2,)

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