SunSport man takes Formula E car for a spin and is taught by driver in Germany at Berlin E-Prix Circuit

Our man recalls the exhilarating experience as MS&AD Andretti driver Stephane Sarrazin showed him the ropes in a BMW i8 before going into the all-electric race car.


Driving my 1.25 litre Ford Fiesta could never have prepared me for getting behind the wheel of a Formula E car.

The all-electric car has a top speed of 140mph, reaching 0-60mph in just three seconds – while weighing 300kg less than my day-to-day hatchback.

The 190kW battery generates 250 horsepower but makes minimal noise allowing you to hear your surroundings from the cockpit much easier.

The lack of air and noise pollution gives Formula E the luxury of racing in the heart of city centres.


Before I was allowed to go anywhere near the race car, I was introduced to MS&AD Andretti driver Stephan Sarrazin.

The Frenchman has been involved in Formula E since the start in 2014, while also having experience in 15 other different race series.

His knowledge and experience was obvious seconds into our briefing, before I hopped into the passenger seat of a BMW i8, with him showing me round the track.

The circuit in Berlin was hosted at Tempelhof Airport, which played a major part in World War II.

The historic airport is now the setting for Hollywood blockbusters such as The Hunger Games, The Bourne Supremacy and Bridge of Spies.

Stephane Sarrazin on Formula E


Sarrazin pulled away from the pitlane to begin our first recreational lap, where he showed me the racing line and all the breaking points.

The Frenchman then gradually picked up the speed as the laps went on before eventually going flat out – hitting top speeds of 150mph.

While also scarily pointing that if I were to drive over the rubber marbles left from the race, I would skid and crash straight into the wall – on the fastest corner on the track.

And these fine margins made me even more nervous as I was about to get into a FE car worth over a million pounds.

It was difficult to make a mental note all of the tips he had passed on, but before I knew it I was out in the BMW i8 on my own.

I began very timidly on my first lap – getting a grip of the car, the track and also my nerves.

I progressively got a feel of the circuit and after ten laps of racing around with the supercar, I was ready for the championship vehicle.


I climbed into the Formula E cockpit with my feet resting delicately on the pedals, as I was wary of the power they possessed.

The engineers tightly buckled me in, attached the radio and gave a run down of the how the car and the intricate steering wheel works.

Despite my nerves, I was told I had to really push on my first lap.

This was because the breaks and engine needed to be warmed up for it to operate at its optimum temperature.

I peeled out of the pits and I just remembered to pull my visor down in time before a tiny piece of debris hit my helmet.


Before I knew it, I was at the first turn and I braked extremely heavily as I did not know how the car would react.

It was lucky I did break early because at first the breaks were cool and it took a while for them and the engine to warm up and become more responsive.

Turn by turn the car became more steady, as did my confidence.

I could really feel the immense torque and acceleration as I put my foot down on the longest straight of the Formula E calendar.

I then got in the groove of the track and the flappy-paddle gearbox as I dared to clip apexes and go closer to the wall.

But in reality although I was going flat out, feeling like Ayrton Senna or Lewis Hamilton, I was still way off the pace of the pros – as you’d expect.

And I think for my safety and the for the sake of the engineers it’s probably best I leave the professionals to go behind the wheel.




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