Formula E: Porsche confirms David Beckmann & Ye Yifei for rookie test in Berlin
As the first Formula E team, Porsche has confirmed its lineup for the upcoming rookie test in Berlin. The test, which is scheduled to take place on the Monday after the Berlin E-Prix (April 24, 2023), will see German David Beckmann get his first outing in an official session of the electric formula. The second vehicle is to be occupied by Chinese endurance driver Ye Yifei.
Particularly for Beckmann, who already expressed his great interest in Formula E last year in exclusive interview with e-Formel.de, Porsche's designation for the test day should be significant. The Iserlohn native, who celebrates his 23rd birthday on April 27, has already driven Porsche's Gen3 race car in a non-public manufacturer test in Calafat, Spain. In addition to his role as the official Formula E-Substitute Driver of the Zuffenhausen-based carmaker, he will also be a substitute driver for its customer team Avalanche Andretti in 2023.
"To be able to drive in Berlin just a few days before my birthday is a great present," says the former FIA Formula 2 starter happily. For me, it's a fantastic experience to experience the new era of Formula E with Porsche this season. I was already able to drive the car on the race track in Calafat. That was already very impressive. I'm really looking forward to the rookie test and getting to know our car even better and being able to provide my team with some useful insights."
Beckmann is alluding to a development in previous Formula E rookie tests, which took place once per season until the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020: Instead of "only" paving the way for newcomers to the electric series, as planned, teams and manufacturers recently relied more on experienced drivers to gain knowledge about their cars.
Porsche team boss hopes for mix of fresh wind & new insights
Porsche team boss Florian Modlinger is trying to find a middle ground this year between collecting data and new talent: "The rookie test is a good opportunity to show young drivers what Formula E is all about. It's also about familiarizing them with our car, which is a very complex racing vehicle and not easy to drive. For rookies coming into Formula E, the test is a good opportunity to experience what to expect in this racing series."
"We as a team want to use this event to introduce young drivers to Formula E and see how they perform in a Formula E car. After all, David has already tested for us. Now we're looking forward to seeing how well Yifei gets on with our Porsche 99X Electric."
Ye & Beckmann won endurance races as teammates.
Ye secured the 2021 Asian and European Le Mans Series titles and is scheduled to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship this season with the Porsche 963 prototype. However, as the car was not yet available to the Jota customer team at the start of the WEC season, he recently contested the 1,000-mile endurance classic at Sebring in an LMP2 car and - together with David Beckmann - won the race in his class.
"I've always wanted to drive a Formula E car and I'm grateful that Porsche is now giving me the opportunity to do so," said Ye. "It's an interesting new challenge for me that I'm really looking forward to. Beforehand, I will follow the races in Berlin closely from the pits and try to learn as much as possible from the regular drivers. With Porsche, I'm concentrating on the WEC for now. But I'm still young and can well imagine driving Formula E races one day. Electric motorsport has a great future!"
Simracer makes the leap into the real Formula E car.
By the way, apart from one contact as a pit lane reporter at the 2022 London E-Prix for Chinese television, Ye has only had virtual dealings with Formula E so far. In the summer of 2020, he competed for Nio in a race of the race at home challenge in the electric series. He finished 18th in the simracer standings at the e-sports event at the track in New York.
The Rookie Test of Formula E - with real Gen3 cars - will take place the day after the Berlin E-Prix. Just like the races, the track at the disused Tempelhof Airport will be used for this. The test is to be divided into two sessions, each lasting three hours, separated by a lunch break.