Current Formula E Driver for NIO, McLaren test driver, and some incredible results within Endurance Racing, particularly the 24 Hour Le Mans. Who could I be talking about? No other than Oliver Turvey. Talking to someone with such vast experience within racing is always incredible, and Oliver is certainly no rookie when it comes to motorsport. I got to speak to him about those experiences and his plans for the future.
You’ve got a lot of experience in Formula E now; with this being your 6th full season in the series, what makes FE so special?
Formula E is special and unique in being the first fully-electric single-seater series, racing on street circuits in major cities around the world to promote the use of electric cars as fun, fast and more sustainable transport of the future. The series is also special, having a large number of major manufacturers, some of the best drivers in the world, making it one of the most competitive close-fought racing series in motorsport.
What are the main differences between Formula E and other single-seater series?
The main differences in Formula E are in the races with the energy management, the driving style required to save energy and the use of regen to recover energy into the corners. The other main differences are the cars have less downforce, and we have the same tyres for dry and wet conditions.
Are there any similarities?
It’s still a single-seater, so pushing the car to the limit in qualifying is just like driving any other car.
You’ve also had some brilliant successes at the 24 Hour Le Mans; how does the mentality of long stints in those cars differ from a 45-minute race with Formula E?
I have always enjoyed endurance racing, especially the 24 Hour Le Mans due to the physical and mental challenges of long stints in the car and racing through the night. In Formula E, although the races are shorter, the concentration required is extremely high for the street tracks whilst trying to manage the energy and race other cars! The races are more intense and requires a lot of thinking behind the wheel, which I believe is one of my strengths as a driver.
Is there any other racing series you’d like to compete in?
At the moment, I’m enjoying racing in Formula E and focusing on trying to become World Champion which has been one of my dreams since I started racing karts as a kid. However, in the future, I would love to go back to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it is one of my favourite races, and it would be amazing to have the opportunity to be able to go for the outright victory one day.
This topic can be controversial amongst fans, but what are your thoughts on Fanboost?
I think it is a great initiative by Formula E to have Fanboost to allow the fans to be able to vote for their favourite driver to give them a chance to be able to have some extra power in the race that can make the difference when going for an overtaking move. I have been close to getting Fanboost in the last few races but just keep missing out, so please vote for me!
You’ve had plenty of teammates across different series in your racing career, are there any that stood out to you? Everybody has a favourite!
I’ve been fortunate to have some good teammates in my career, which I have always believed has helped push myself to perform at my best. In my junior career, Jaime Alguersuari was a great teammate in Formula 3 & World Series on and off the track. In Formula E, Nelson was a great teammate and a huge help to me in my first few seasons; we pushed each other yet worked well together.
Aside from being a Formula E driver, you’re also the McLaren F1 Test Driver – what does that entail?
I have been McLaren’s F1 Test Driver for 12 seasons now, so occasionally get to test the car on track but due to limited track, testing mainly involves driving their simulator in Woking. I work closely with the engineers on the development of each new car, set up ahead of races and supporting the race team over Grand Prix weekends.
Season Four saw the end of car swaps in Formula E; describe what it was like to jump out of your car and into another one mid-race? Did it ever make you lose focus?
It was always an intense, exciting part of the race, although challenging once they removed the minimum stop time during season four. We used to spend hours practising at the factory on a race weekend to make them as quick as possible, as the race could be decided by the pit stop time. It was tough for the mechanics as they had the pressure to do the belts, radio and get out of the way so that I could focus on the race.
Lastly, do you have any future plans in terms of racing?
My only future plans are to keep striving to be the best I can be with the aim to be a World Champion.
Thank you, Oliver, for taking the time to talk to me. If you would like to see Oliver in action, the next round of the Formula E Championship is on the 10th of July in New York. Remember to vote for him for Fanboost too!