After winning the opening race of the FIA Formula E Championship in Hong Kong four weeks ago, Renault e.dams’ next challenge is the Marrakesh ePrix this weekend. Defending drivers’ champion Sébastien Buemi took the first honours of the season with a solid victory owing much to a combination of canny driving, the strength of the Renault Z.E.16 car and an innovative pit strategy. Completing a successful weekend for the team, Nicolas Prost came home fourth in the second Z.E.16 after an eventful race from tenth on the grid.
The Marrakesh ePrix will be the first ePrix to take place in Morocco and indeed on the African continent. The Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan is a 2.97km anti-clockwise loop through the modern hotel district of the city, passing alongside the ancient Marrakech wall that circles the medina and famous souks.
The track, which has been used by the FIA World Touring Car Championship in the past, starts with a flowing section down towards the medina before a series of tight corners and chicanes back to the pit straight.
Underlining the importance of sustainable technologies within global environmental concerns, the Marrakesh ePrix takes place alongside the COP22, the 22nd session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which runs in Marrakesh from November 7-18. The summit will focus on action to achieve the priorities set in the Paris Agreement last year, particularly related to adaptation, transparency, technology transfer, mitigation, capacity building and loss and damages.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance will provide a fleet of 50 all-electric vehicles including Renault ZOE as the official passenger-car provider for COP22. More than 25,000 participants from 195 countries are expected to attend the annual climate summit and it will be the second time the United Nations will use a zero-emission shuttle fleet in support of public transport at one of its major conferences.
The vehicles provided will be available to shuttle delegates 24 hours, seven days a week to key venues at the conference, as a complement to public transportation. The Alliance will also provide a network of more than 20 accelerated and standard charging stations at strategic locations. The accelerated charging stations will be able to charge the EVs from 0 to 80 percent in about one hour.
Jean-Paul Driot, Senior Team Manager
We started season three in the best way possible, despite the competition being closer than ever. Our objective for Marrakesh is to continue as we began as our competitors are not going to let off! Our drivers delivered what we needed last time out and we were able to use a good strategy to take advantage of the circumstances of the race. Marrakesh and Morocco have very good personal memories for me as I have contested the Rallye du Maroc Historique on three occasions and have a class win too! This means I know and love the country. I’m pleased that we will see Formula E make its debut in the fantastic city of Marrakesh and I hope we can have a glorious weekend for Renault e.dams as we head there with a winning spirit.
Alain Prost, Senior Team Manager
We saw that the competition was close in the season-opening Hong Kong ePrix and it’s likely to be even more tough for us in Marrakesh. Even though we had a strong result to start the season, we weren’t perfect last time out so we know where we need to make improvements as our rivals are pushing us very hard indeed. Both Nico and Séb delivered well in Hong Kong and this is a reward for their continuity with the team. We know exactly what we want to achieve this weekend and we are all striving to continue our run of success.
Vincent Gaillardot, Renault Sport Project Leader
We head to Marrakesh with a positive charge. Hong Kong was a fantastic event which gave us a very strong knowledge base as well as the race victory with Séb. In round one we saw many different racing situations over the weekend, so we were able to test our systems in ‘live’ conditions, which means we are better prepared heading into this weekend. The track interruptions last time gave us a chance to harness the additional flexibility the control systems and extra regeneration now allow. We also confirmed that the competition is very close, as expected and there is not much in it between Audi, DS Virgin, Mahindra, NEXTEV at the moment, so we are expecting another close race. Our goal is still the same: fight hard and win if we can.
I’m looking forward to racing in Marrakesh but I know it won’t be easy to repeat what we achieved in Hong Kong. This year’s package is clearly a step forward from last year, however everyone else has improved strongly too. We were able to win last time out thanks to great teamwork so as ever we’ll be looking to maximise every detail possible. Marrakesh is a very different city from Hong Kong so it’s going to be exciting to go there for the first time. The track has been used for the World Touring Car Championship in the past so we have a good idea about it before we arrive. I can’t wait to get out in action.
Hong Kong was certainly an eventful race for me, and even though it was fun and ultimately rewarding I want a cleaner race and a stronger result in Marrakesh. Certainly, Hong Kong was the first time I’ve scored points in the first race so hopefully I can see more of the same this weekend. I’ll be focussing on qualifying as strongly as possible no matter what the qualifying group, then having a good clean race with hopefully a podium as the result. As a team we’ve won the last four races in Formula E so let’s go for five in a row!
Thematic article: The Renault TreZor: inspired by Formula E!
In 2010, Renault presented the DeZir concept car, which embodied the renewal of its brand identity, with a new styling signature founded on simple, warm and sensuous lines. Following completion of the renewal of its entire model line-up between 2012 and 2016, Renault unveiled the DeZir’s successor, the TREZOR, at the Paris Motor Show.
The TREZOR marks the beginning of a brand new design cycle. The name of the new concept car conjures up the image of a prized, multifaceted object to be discovered and explored, but the letter ‘Z’ refers to its all electric Z.E.powertrain, which has been inspired by the Renault Z.E.16, Renault’s all-electric challenger in the FIA Formula E Championship.
The TREZOR’s motor derives from the Z.E.16, two-time winner of the Formula E Teams’ title. With maximum power of 260kW (350hp) and peak torque of 380Nm, it provides acceleration from standstill to 100kph in less than four seconds. The TREZOR also features two batteries, each of which has its own cooling system optimised by the variable-geometry air intake incorporated in the bonnet. Equally, the TREZOR incorporates a brake-operated energy recovery system, courtesy of the Rechargeable Energy Storage System (RESS) technology developed for Formula E racing.
The future certainly is bright, and thanks to Formula E, it’s lightening quick too.