One of the highlights of the London ePrix weekend was watching the talented Oliver Turvey step in at NEXTEV TCR alongside Nelson Piquet. In front of his home crowd, Turvey delivered in both qualifying sessions and in both races, culminating in two strong P9 finishes.
I spotted Oliver in the NEXTEV garage during testing and managed to get a quick five minutes with him…
So you raced in Battersea Park for NEXTEV, how was it to race in front of your home crowd there?
It was fantastic. It was great to get the call up from NEXTEV TCR to come in and do the final race in London. For me it was very special to race in central London, I lived there in London just a couple of miles away from Battersea Park so to race there was an amazing experience and to race in the Formula E Championship in the first season in the last round was really special and it is a great championship with some great drivers, so I was really pleased with how the weekend went, it was my first time in the car without any testing so to be already on the pace and matching Nelson’s pace in the race and actually quicker than him in practice on Sunday morning I was very pleased to already be as quick as him considering he won the Championship on Sunday.
Was there a learning curve in terms of learning how to manage the batteries and stop them from overheating and extracting the pace?
There’s a lot of different driving strategies in terms of managing the battery in the race and managing the energy and it’s all about being quick and being efficient with your energy, I think it’s a bit of a skill I already have experience of in other cars and other formula so I did already have an idea of how to do it but I guess until you have actually done it, it is hard to know but I think my efficiency and battery/energy management in London was very good, and certainly that’s where Nelson has been very strong in all of last season so to be already matching him on the energy efficiency as well, I was pleased to be the closest team mate he’s ever had.
You sound very confident about challenging Piquet…
Yeah we’ll see, it’s good to have the champion in your team, everyone wants to beat him. I want to as well so hopefully we can both be pushing each other forwards and both be challenging for the championship at the end of the season.
Out of interest, your relationship with NEXTEV how did that come about? Were you in contact with them quite a bit before Battersea?
No completely out of the blue. I got a call form them regarding whether I was available for London so it was a big surprise, and it was only a couple of weeks before I was racing at Le Mans so it was a very nice surprise and they gave me the first opportunity and I am very grateful for that. Hopefully I’ll be racing with them in season two.
Final question, everyone says that times means nothing, but I’ve seen a lot of drivers up and down the pit lane looking at the timing boards. How much can you take away from this testing? I know the circuit is not very representative and it’s not very bumpy either like most other circuits you go to. What can you take away from the times here or is it just about reliability?
Around this track I think times don’t mean that much because it is such a different track to what you race on, it’s very fast, smooth, it’s wide, it’s very flowing – street circuits are narrow, bumpy, tight, twisty so it’s a completely different type, even the Melbourne Loop which has two hairpins in there, they’re more open hairpins than any street circuit so it’s not so representative for car setup, so in terms of trying to get the lap time around here you could work with the car but it’s not so important for the season, so with the new powertrains it is very important to make sure you get on top of that, reliability wise and also performance wise, there’s a lot more possibilities there so I guess that’s really the main focus, and when it really matters is the first race and qualifying in Beijing.
In terms of setup work, Beijing practice will be the first time you really get to experiment with the setups?
Yeah, I think that’s when set-up matters, but that’s similar to last year so it’s mainly getting on top of the new powertrains this year. That’s the main focus really.
I don’t think there is a more sincere and friendly face in the Formula E paddock than Oliver Turvey. He clearly feels at home within the NEXTEV team and from our short meeting I could tell that he is relishing the opportunity to take on Formula E champion Nelson Piquet. Whilst Oliver hasn’t been confirmed for season 2, NEXTEV TCR would be foolish not to keep him on beyond testing. He confirmed his pace at Battersea Park and we can only hope that he is given an opportunity to showcase his talents in the upcoming season.
image courtesy of official Formula E website
Written by: Anil Parmar