ABT CUPRA celebrates Formula E debut in Japan

A premiere for the ABT CUPRA team: Next Saturday (March 30) the team will contest its first Formula E race in Japan. The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will visit the capital city of Tokyo for the fourth round of the season and has found a spectacular venue for the event: The 2.585-kilometer circuit runs around the Tokyo Big Sight convention center, with Tokyo Bay directly behind the pit lane.

Even though Lucas di Grassi and Nico Müller are still without points this season, the duo recently continued their upward trend in São Paulo: Muller showed a strong performance in the duel phase and finished seventh in qualifying, while di Grassi scored his best result of the season so far in his home race.

The 33-lap race in Tokyo starts at 15:00 local time (7:00 CET). 

Thomas Biermaier, ABT CEO and Team Principal: “Maybe we’ll spring a surprise”
“Japan is still a blank spot on the world map for our Formula E team – it’s great that we can now celebrate our premiere in this fascinating country with such a Formula E highlight in the middle of Tokyo. The circuit is new for all teams and drivers and everyone has to adapt quickly to the conditions. We have prepared thoroughly and want to be there from the first minute. Maybe after the good qualifying in São Paulo we can spring another surprise.”

Nico Müller, #51: “Never had so much fun in the simulator”
“I’m really looking forward to this race, also because it’s my first visit to Japan. The layout of the track is great – I can’t remember ever having so much fun in the simulator. It’s a very challenging layout with a technical first sector, high speed sections and even jumps – the fans can look forward to an exciting race with lots of action.”

Lucas di Grassi, #11: “It will be a great debut”
“Tokyo is one of the most fascinating places in the world – it’s fantastic that Formula E has managed to organize a race there. The track is challenging, very technical, flowing, almost a bit like the circuit in Rome last year. Add to that the enthusiastic fans, the delicious Japanese food – it will be a great debut in Japan.”

Interview with simulator and reserve driver Kelvin van der Linde

You have already raced at Suzuka, what are your experiences in Japan?
“I was particularly impressed by the politeness of the people. This applies to everyday life as well as the race track – nowhere else in the world do fans wait patiently for autographs. At the same time, they are the most passionate fans you can imagine – they make a driver feel like a real star.”

This is your second season as a simulator and reserve driver for ABT CUPRA. What are your tasks?
“To support the team and Lucas and Nico in the best possible way. I spend a lot of time in the simulator in Kempten and give my feedback during the preparation. I’m also present at all the meetings, as I am now in Tokyo, looking at the data. Of course, Lucas and Nico are absolute professionals, but sometimes six eyes can see more than four. In my free time I look after groups of guests or media appointments – that’s a lot of fun.”

You drive for ABT in the DTM and 24h Nürburgring, are part of the Formula E team and also compete in the WEC. How do you manage to juggle it all?
“Very well, actually, because a full calendar is perfect for me. My role model in recent years has been Mattias Ekström, who has always competed in different categories at the same time. This variety keeps the excitement high and helps you develop as a driver and as a person.”

Did you know that …

… Kelvin van der Linde is back as a reserve driver, as he was in Diriyah?

… ABT CEO and team boss Thomas Biermaier is back after a forced break due to a knee operation?

… Tokyo is the most populous city in Japan with almost 10 million inhabitants and the largest metropolitan area in the world with around 38.5 million people?

… some ABT team members took the opportunity to arrive a few days early for a sightseeing tour?

… Nico Müller is still training in the simulator at the beginning of the week and then travels directly to Tokyo?

… Formula E comes to Europe for the first time this season after the Tokyo race? Events in Misano, Monaco and Berlin are on the calendar every two weeks.

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