Maximilian Gunther to partner Jose Maria Lopez at Dragon Racing in 2018/19 Formula E season
American outfit Dragon Racing has announced that Maximilian Gunther will partner Jose Maria Lopez at the team in Season Five, stepping up to a full-time race seat in Formula E.
Gunther, 21, currently competes in the FIA Formula 2 Championship for BWT Arden and currently sits in 14th in the Drivers’ Championship with 41 points having taken one win and one further podium in his rookie campaign.
Gunther was named as Dragon’s official test and reserve driver in March and for Season Five will replace former full-time driver Jerome d’Ambrosio who joins Mahindra Racing after securing Dragon's best Season Four result at the Zurich E-Prix by finishing in third place.
"I’m really happy to compete with Dragon in the upcoming ABB FIA Formula E season,” said Günther.
“We made great progress during our development with the more powerful and complex Gen2 Car. It’s an exciting challenge for both the Engineers and the Driver, and I’m enjoying every second driving it."
At Formula E pre-season testing at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain, Gunther shared driving duties with fellow Formula 2 driver, Ferrari junior Antonio Fuoco, however, after showing his capability behind the wheel, the German was selected for the seat.
“The working atmosphere inside the team is fantastic, I feel really comfortable and can’t wait to get the new season started," he continued.
"Certainly, I will give it my all to deliver the best possible results for the team.
"I want to thank Jay Penske and the entire Dragon team for their trust and for giving me the opportunity to race in this first-class championship."
In Season Four, Dragon Racing finished in ninth in the Teams’ Championship with 41 points in what was a difficult campaign for the American outfit, narrowly missing out on eighth in the standings after finishing only six points adrift of NIO Formula E.
“I am very pleased to give Max the opportunity to race in the #6 car this season,” added Dragon Racing founder, owner and team principal, Jay Penske.
“Maximilian did a tremendous job building rapport with the team and working with the entire organization on the development of the Penske EV-3.
“Maximilian has shown himself to be a true competitor. I am looking forward to seeing the results of his hard work in Season 5.”
For Season Five, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship sees some dramatic changes, with race length now being determined by a 45-minute period of racing as opposed to a pre-defined set distance while the all-electric single seater series also sees the introduction of the Spark SRT05e - otherwise known as the ‘Gen2’.
Featuring a longer-lasting battery developed by McLaren Applied Technologies, the Gen2 will be able to complete a full race distance on one single charge while the car will also have a maximum power output of 250kW in qualifying trim in addition to different power modes, adding elements of strategy following the removal of the mandatory mid-race car switch of the series’ first generation.
Formula E’s fifth season of competition will commence on December 15 with the inaugural Ad Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia.