Nick Cassidy triumphs for Envision Racing in Formula E’s debut in Portland, Oregon
Jake Dennis finishes second but takes a one-point lead in the world championship standings ahead of Cassidy
António Félix da Costa finishes third while ninth place for teammate Pascal Wehrlein pushes him back from top of the title race to third
More than 20,000 attend the race event joined by celebrities including rapper, singer and fashion designer Jaden Smith, NBA player Jabari Walker and Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn
Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy won an enthralling Southwire Portland E-Prix ahead of Avalanche Andretti Formula E Team driver Jake Dennis in second place, propelling the pair to the top of the world championship standings with Dennis leading Cassidy by a point. TAG Heuer Porsche’s António Félix da Costa finished third while just seven seconds split the first 17 cars at the flag.
Cassidy measured his race to perfection starting from P10 on the grid as the 22-strong field jostled for superiority over the 32-lap race. It is the first time the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship has raced at the famed Portland International Raceway, and Formula E’s unique balancing act between energy efficiency and outright pace came to the fore.
The strategic battle for top spot was clear from the opening lap as positions and race leaders changed corner by corner in groups five and six wide at points, resulting in 403 passes during the race.
Kiwi Cassidy led the way several times but got the better of da Costa, himself a race leader, on Lap 28 with the decisive move, only a few turns after the Portuguese had seized the initiative.
Cassidy first hit the front on Lap 3 while da Costa clambered through the pack from P8 to pile the pressure on the Envision Racing driver right to the flag but Cassidy held fast for a third win of Season 9.
Jake Dennis started in Julius Bär Pole Position and led the opening stages but couldn’t time his late-race charge as precisely as Cassidy, though he did manage to pass da Costa in the final lap to push the Portuguese into third.
Going into the race, Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team) was leading the Drivers’ standings by just one point ahead of Dennis. The German was fortunate to escape contact and come home in ninth, just inside the points at the chequered flag. Wehrlein sits in third on 136 points, trailing the leading pair of Dennis and Cassidy on 154 and 153 points respectively.
On his 29th birthday, Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) recovered from 20th on the grid to fourth – earning the ABB Driver of Progress Award for the most places gained in the race – and ensuring he remains in the title fight on 122 points with four races to come in Season 9.
Off the track, more than 20,000 attended the sold-out debut race for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Portland. Cheerleaders from local NBA team, the Portland Trail Blazers entertained fans, while first-year forward for the Trail Blazers, Jabari Walker, also enjoyed the race. Olympic champion skier Lindsey Vonn was embedded with the Jaguar TCS Racing team and experienced a high-speed electric lap of the track.
American rapper, singer and fashion designer Jaden Smith unveiled his own unique livery design for a GEN3 race car – the fastest, lightest most powerful and efficient electric race car ever built – in the Allianz Fan Village before the race.
Jaden Smith said:
“I have such a connection with Formula E. I absolutely loved coming back for my second E-Prix, even more being able to design my own GEN3 livery. It’s such an incredible platform to express myself and my passion for innovation. Seeing it come to life was unreal. I believe we all need to give back to the world and create our own sustainable future. That’s where Formula E is leading the charge. They prove it can be done in a thrilling way which showcases innovation, technology and outrageous racing. That’s really exciting to me. I’m all in. I can’t wait to be back.”
Nick Cassidy, No. 37, Envision Racing, said:
“It’s cool. I’ve had a good run in America the last couple of years. I love racing here. That race was fun. Look it’s close. The guys we’re racing are top. Jake did an amazing job in quali. I think he was unlucky to be starting on pole – today wasn’t the race to be doing that. And António in these races is always fantastic as well. It’s close, it’s fun, it’s Formula E.
“To be fair, I saw Mitch up with me at stages, I saw Seb, I saw Sam. And we all started far back. So credit to Jaguar and credit to Envision Racing. What a car, what a powertrain.”
Jake Dennis, No. 27, Avalanche Andretti Formula E, said:
“Yeah we had a good day. I think after the flag I was a little bit disappointed, just because the way the race panned out. It was really, really difficult. Nevertheless, we got P2. There was some really difficult overtakes to be had. There are some guys fighting for the championship and other guys with nothing to lose. A race like today is all about risk. I just had to keep my powder dry and come home with an undamaged car and I knew I could get a good result. To come home second, I think that’s three seconds in a row now, so I want to taste the win again in Rome. But we can be happy with a race like that – 400 overtakes – to come home with 18 points is good.
“Me and Nick are really fighting for the championship. It’s just who takes the most risk. Some of those moves on António were brave and he did really good job there. I obviously did António right on the last lap and I just about got through. I’m looking forward to having that race behind me now and getting to Rome where it’ll be a bit more normal and pole will actually be a benefit.”
António Félix da Costa, No. 13, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, said:
“When I came onto the track this morning, I was not expecting the turnout from all these guys. This is big. You guys like IndyCar, you like NASCAR, to see this support for Formula E is insane so thanks for coming out. It’s really, really cool.
“I thought that was a great show to be honest – there was a lot going on. For the team and for myself in the car, I thought that was the right moment to go out to the front, but turns out Nick was just a tiny bit more clever than us today and Jake got us there at the end as well. I’m happy, a podium is always awesome. A solid day for me and for the team today.
“Pascal – I’m not sure what’s going on now – but he was leading the championship going into the race. The goal was always to help him. I was waiting for him to come and if he did come I was going to be there to try help him win this race. But I knew if he wasn’t there then it’s my turn to try have a go at it and that’s what we did. Unfortunately, we came just short but it’s ok – a podium is always cool and it’s going to be awesome to do it here with these guys.”
Rome is the next stop in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with a double header of races on Saturday 15 July and Sunday 16 July – Rounds 13 and 14 in the 16-race season – before the finale in London two weeks later.