Jaguar test driver Joel Eriksson hopes to stay in Formula E: "Can show my best performance in single-seater cars"
After taking a year out of Formula E, Joel Eriksson was appointed official test and reserve driver at Jaguar TCS Racing in 2023. The 2017 Formula 3 runner-up and former BMW works driver in the DTM hopes to remain active in the electric series in 2024. However, a regular cockpit is out of reach for the foreseeable future.
Eriksson's career has been like a rollercoaster ride: in 2017, he narrowly lost out to Lando Norris in the battle for the Formula 3 title, beating drivers such as Max Günther, Callum Ilott, Jake Hughes, Jehan Daruvala, Guanyu Zhou and Mick Schumacher. BMW signed the young Swede for its DTM works squad. He has finished on the podium three times in two seasons. At the 2018 race in Misano, he became the second youngest DTM race winner after Pascal Wehrlein.
However, BMW decided to no longer field Eriksson in the DTM, but in the GT Masters instead. Here, he struggled with the M6 GT3, so his contract was not extended at the end of 2020 in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
At the same time, he was also a test and reserve driver at Dragon Racing, where he took over the cockpit from Nico Müller, who had previously left the team, from the middle of the 2021 season. However, Eriksson scored just one point in eight races for the US team and was replaced by Antonio Giovinazzi at the end of the season.
"It wasn't easy to implement everything straight away"
A difficult time for him, as the Swede describes to Motorsport-Magazin: "I only had a single day of testing before the first Formula E race and stepped in in the middle of the season. I'm very happy about this opportunity, but it wasn't easy to implement everything straight away."
"Qualifying in particular, with the format at the time and only one fast lap, was damn hard without any experience," he continues. "In the races, my pace and energy management were really good and I scored a point. That also helped me to get a seat at Jaguar. We had been in contact for some time, and we first held talks in 2020."
It was an opportunity that Eriksson seized, as his professional racing career had previously stalled. "I was very happy about the job as a test and reserve driver because Jaguar is one of the biggest and most successful teams in Formula E," said the Swede. "It was a dream come true for me because I had to take a break from racing for a while and didn't have the money to buy my way into a cockpit somewhere."
"The goal would obviously be to race for Jaguar"
The electric series was already a potential career goal for Eriksson in his early years. He first sat in a Formula E racing car during the Gen1 era: at the rookie test in Marrakesh in 2018, he drove for DS Virgin Racing and finished ninth.
"Formula E has been on my radar since it started," he explains. "I hope that I can continue working with Jaguar in 2024. My goal would obviously be to race for Jaguar one day and prove myself. I still believe that I can show my best performance in single-seater cars."
However, a cockpit as a regular driver is currently out of reach for him. "Experience plays such a big role," he explains. "I haven't had a chance to really prove myself in Formula E yet. There were talks with several teams, but unfortunately no opportunity arose. In Formula E, it is very difficult to get a place in the field with all these drivers who have been competing there for many years. There are few new drivers joining, rather there are changes within the teams."
So far, Jaguar has not announced an official replacement driver for the 2024 season. So the hope for Eriksson lives on. The new season starts next Saturday in Mexico.