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Champion: Lucas di Grassi and Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport Triumph in Formula E Electric Racing Series
A brilliant finale in Montreal following a thrilling season: Lucas di Grassi is the 2016/2017 Formula E Champion, the Brazilian having wrapped up the title for himself and Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport in their third year. In the teams’ classification, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, like last year, is ranked in second place. As the exclusive development partner for the powertrain of the ABT Schaeffler FE02, electric mobility pioneer Schaeffler proved foresight by taking on the Formula E commitment three years ago, now celebrating a great triumph in the innovative racing series that has intensively come into focus with automobile manufacturers and the global public.

The Formula E finale in the metropolis Montreal was a real treat for motorsport fans. Lucas di Grassi had traveled to the two final races in Canada with a ten-point deficit. With a pole position and a victory on Saturday the Brazilian achieved a turnaround and in the season’s last race on Sunday seventh place was enough for him to win the title.

“I’m overwhelmed – now we’ve truly done it. Twice before, we missed out by just a narrow margin. We’ve worked hard for this moment for more than three years. I’d like to thank everyone on the team for their incredible commitment. We’re really like a family. Thank you to ABT and a big thank you to Schaeffler who with their tremendous expertise jointly developed a powertrain for our ABT Schaeffler FE02 that has made me a Formula E Champion. Together we won the first-ever Formula E race in history and now, in our third attempt, we’ve also won this title,” the 32-year-old said.

Schaeffler has been a partner of Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport since the 2014/2015 inaugural season. Thus, the automotive supplier is one of the electric mobility pioneers to have believed in the vision of electrically powered motorsport in the heart of metropolises around the globe and to have paved the way for the growing worldwide popularity of Formula E. After the regulations opened up additional technical opportunities for the second season, the globally active technology group has been involved in the joint proprietary development of the powertrain with ABT, including the motor, transmission, rear suspension and control software. The tally at the end of the third season not only reflects the first win of the drivers’ title but also a total of seven victories, 24 – and thus the largest number of – podium places and four pole positions. In the teams’ classification, third place was achieved in the inaugural season, followed by two second places since then.

When the fourth season opens in Hong Kong in December 2017 a new era will begin for the team after it has been taken over by Audi. At the German race on home soil a few weeks ago, the automobile manufacturer and Schaeffler signed a three-year cooperation agreement for the further development of the powertrain. “Arguably, there’s hardly a day on which the saying ‘Never change a winning team’ is more appropriate than today,” says Prof. Peter Gutzmer, PhD, Deputy CEO and Chief Technology Officer at Schaeffler. “Now we’re going to celebrate this title here in Montreal which everyone at ABT and Schaeffler has earned as a result of three years of focused and innovative teamwork. At home, though, we’re already testing for the next season. And we’re looking forward to Mercedes and Porsche as new, strong competitors joining us in two years’ time.”

The Formula E commitment perfectly fits Schaeffler’s corporate strategy billed as “Mobility for tomorrow” with which the globally active technology group helps to shape the future of mobility. The Formula E electric racing series is an ideal field for Schaeffler to gain findings and motivation for the company’s own engineers in the increasingly relevant electric mobility sector. The motorsport commitment also includes the DTM – with conventional internal combustion engines – and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), high-tech hybrid powertrains focused on exceedingly high efficiency.

Just like Schaeffler has been contributing its technical expertise to Formula E from day one, the technology group is a pioneer in electric mobility for the road as well. For the past two decades, Schaeffler’s research and development departments have been exploring this field. In the most recent past, the size of the development team for electric vehicle components has doubled, with team members having direct access to on-track know-how in their work. Schaeffler by now is offering a wide range of products for electric mobility and the electrification of the entire powertrain: from technologies for 48-volt hybridization and high-voltage hybrid modules through to modular e-axles of the kind soon to be used in premium-class electric vehicles. Other focus topics of the globally active technology corporation include electric vehicle concepts below the level of the automobile and the entire interaction of all visionary and innovative mobility concepts for environmental and economical “mobility for tomorrow.”