There was no missing Nissan’s Formula E campaign in Chile this week with the first-ever Japanese manufacturer in the all-electric street racing championship making headlines in Santiago.
Nissan kicked off the week by projecting its Formula E car and the global EV sales leading Nissan LEAF on the tallest building in Latin America – Costanera, Santiago.
Sebastien Buemi earned pole position and lead two thirds of the race in the third round of the championship at the Parque O’Higgins circuit.
Nissan is using the championship to demonstrate the performance side of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the brand’s vision for changing how cars are driven, powered and integrated into society.
Nissan entertained race fans with its largest-ever Formula E brand activation display in the e-Village. The Nissan LEAF road car was showcased while the first-ever Chilean LEAF customer was also on site as a guest of the brand.
Prior to the race weekend, Nissan also entertained media guests at the spectacular Vista Santiago overlooking the city. Sebastien Buemi and Nissan global motorsport director, Michael Carcamo were guests at the event.
On track at Parque O’Higgins, Buemi initially set the second-fastest time in Super Pole but was elevated to pole position after the fastest qualifier incurred a sporting regulation penalty.
At the green flag, the Swiss racer jumped into the race lead and held that position through two full-course yellow periods. However, with 15 minutes in the race remaining, a brake lock-up, combined with a crumbling track surface sent Buemi into the wall and out of the race.
Buemi’s teammate Oliver Rowland started 13th on the grid and charged into the top ten at the start. He was battling hard late in the race when he too impacted the wall – falling victim to the crumbling track surface.
“It has been a brilliant week in Chile showcasing Nissan Intelligent Mobility and we were a mere 15 minutes away from making it a perfect day on the race track,” said Nissan global motorsport director, Michael Carcamo.
“Getting Nissan’s first pole position and leading the race for so long was great but we saw how difficult these races are with the end result.
“A small mistake resulted in the end of our race, but we know we have the pace, we know we have a great powertrain package, and we’ll set our sights on the next race.”
Santiago E-Prix was the toughest weekend so far in season five for the Formula E championship contenders with only 14 cars making to the finish line from the 22 starters.
“It was great to lead laps today, but the lap we want to lead is the last one. Luck just wasn’t on our side today,” said Nissan e.dams team principal, Jean-Paul Driot.
“Everyone on the team is working incredibly hard, and our overall speed indicates that results are just around the corner. The level of competition in Formula E in season five is so much tougher than any of the previous seasons, but we’ll keep rising to the challenge.”
“We want to turn that pace into results for Nissan, and we’ll be giving it our best shot in Mexico.”
Round four of the championship will be held in Mexico City, Mexico on February 16.
“I will take the positive out of today. We had the pole position, and I led most of the race. The Nissan e.dams car was quick we’ve had a massive improvement compared to the opening round of the championship.
“We’ll look to bounce back from this weekend and aim to come back even stronger in Mexico.”
“Practice two was quite good, but I didn’t quite hook up the lap in sector one in qualifying otherwise I would have ended up in the top six in Super Pole.
“In the race, I felt good and was moving forward but, in the end, the tarmac was just terrible, and I lost the car and ended up in the wall.
“The resurfaced part of the track was starting to come apart really badly. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s disappointing, but I’m very keen to bounce back at the next round.”