HWA RACELAB takes on the Formula E with a strong team

Presenting the new Challenger: HWA RACELAB takes on the ABB FIA Formula E championship with a strong team

A new era is dawning for HWA AG: It is only a matter of weeks until the most successful team in the history of the DTM makes its debut in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. The team will race in the fully-electric series under the new name HWA RACELAB. In order to master the challenge of Formula E, the engineering company from Affalterbach has assembled a powerful team of motorsport experts and put in place a completely new technical infrastructure.

As team principal at HWA RACELAB, Ulrich Fritz bears overall responsibility for the new Formula E project. The CEO of HWA AG and long-time DTM team principal will be assisted by Franco Chiocchetti as Head of Formula E Operations. The South African joined HWA AG in March 2018 and brings with him a wealth of Formula E experience as technical director and race engineer. Completing the HWA RACELAB leadership team is Director Track Operations Martin Marx, who, in this role, has been instrumental in HWA’s long list of successes in the DTM.

“The team name HWA RACELAB bundles the DNA of HWA AG. Since the company was founded in 1998, our core area of expertise has been developing, researching and running cars in motor racing. In order to compete successfully in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the focus on, and confidence in, these areas of expertise will be particularly important,” says Ulrich Fritz.

The HWA RACELAB team in the Formula E championship also includes a host of motorsport engineering specialists, as well as the appropriate support and service facilities. The team’s main hub is its new headquarters in Affalterbach: The outfit operates from a new 630 m² workshop, designed specifically for the Formula E project, located on the HWA AG premises. It is here that the race cars are assembled and certain components manufactured. The new facility is also the location for testing and race preparations using simulators.

The car run by HWA RACELAB in Formula E will be the new Generation 2 car, the VFE-05, supplied by manufacturer and partner Venturi Automobiles. The futuristic design of the car, with its black carbon look and ‘Technical Blue’ accents, is based on the new HWA RACELAB image.

Gary Paffett will make his debut in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship at the wheel of the fully-electric race car. The 2005 DTM champion, and title contender in the current DTM season, is one of the biggest names in international motorsport. The Brit gained his first experience in a Formula E car at a rookie test in Marrakech at the start of 2018. He and HWA RACELAB kick off the new 2018/19 season in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) on 15th December. The driver of the team’s second car is yet to be confirmed.

Ulrich Fritz: “We are looking forward to the new challenges that come with Formula E. Over the past weeks and months, we have worked very hard to lay a solid foundation, upon which to enter this fiercely-competitive series. In doing so, we have benefitted greatly from the experience gained in cooperation with the Venturi team, whom we supported last season as technical partner. We are now well positioned with our own team to compete under our own flag. We are approaching this challenge with a healthy mixture of confidence and respect. The season ahead will be a learning year for HWA RACELAB, but I am confident that we will very quickly establish ourselves and be competitive in the series.”

Franco Chiocchetti: “Since I took over the project for HWA, we have laid a lot of important foundations. I am very familiar with the specific requirements of Formula E. It is very different to more traditional racing series. That goes for the events themselves, which do not take place on permanent race tracks, but on the streets of major cities, as well as all the technical aspects. The engineers and mechanics must take on board completely new things when dealing with the innovative electrotechnology. The job of the driver in the cockpit is also very complicated. It is incredibly valuable to have such an experienced man as Gary at the wheel. His feedback is an important indicator for the further development of the cars.”

Martin Marx: “I am pleased that the 2018/19 season is edging ever closer. We still have a few important points on the agenda before the start in Riyadh: The official tests for all teams take place in Valencia next week. That will be a baptism of fire for our two cars. We will have to wait until the season-opener to really find out where we stand in relation to the competition. In any case, preparations are in full swing.”

Gary Paffett: “I am really excited about driving for HWA in the fifth season of Formula E. This is basically the first time for 15 years that I will have switched series and cars. It will be a major challenge – for me, and for the team. Most of them – like me – are moving over from the DTM. As such, we have a lot to learn. It will certainly not be easy at first, but we are ready and are all looking forward to it. Formula E is a very promising series with great prospects. It is great to be a part of it. I watched the race in Marrakech at the start of the year and was impressed by the atmosphere. It was totally different to the DTM and anything else I’ve seen before. We must adapt to this new format and adjust our approach to the race weekends accordingly. The standard of the drivers and teams is definitely very high.”