Hitting the Apex: Diriyah E-Prix

Formula E is back for Rounds 2 and 3 this weekend! ATRL’s Eline Luna previews the Diriyah Street Circuit.

Eline Luna

January 25, 2024

Formula E returns to Saudi Arabia for the 6th time as we head into Round 2! The Diriyah E-Prix has been on the calendar since 2018, when a 10-year deal was signed, keeping the track contracted until 2028. Since 2021, it has been the host of Formula E’s first and only night race.

Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Racing, leads Rene Rast, NEOM McLaren Formula E Team, at the start (©Carl Bingham/FIA Formula E)

At first glance, the track doesn’t feature any changes compared to last year, however, a few minor changes were made. The starting line has been moved slightly back leading into an altered chicane. Turns 18 to 20 have been made tighter while the finish line has been moved back as well. Turn 15 has been made less narrow and turn 17 has been reprofiled.

Sector 1 is twisty and technical, the twisty turns continue into Sector 2 while Sector 3 is energy consuming with a long straight. It’s also important to note that the starting line and finish line are in different places to each other. 

The Diriyah Street Circuit has been the host of several great battles such as in 2021 when the lead changed eight times between Sam Bird and Robin Frijns.

What to look out for?

Pascal Wehrlein returns to Diriyah with a great record at the track. Last year the Porsche driver won both races from P9 and P5 on the grid respectively. Both were won ahead of Andretti’s Jake Dennis proving the Porsche powertrain very strong at the track.

Pascal Wehrlein, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, 1st position (©Simon Galloway/FIA Formula E)

Pascal Wehrlein also currently leads the championship as he led from lights to flag to win the season opener in Mexico two weeks ago. Wehrlein was the only driver with a Porsche powertrain able to compete against the drivers who were equipped with a Jaguar powertrain as the next Porsche finished down in P9.  

Wehrlein shared the podium with Envision’s Buemi and Jaguar’s Cassidy in a rather dull race in Mexico as the track proved difficult to overtake. Diriyah should provide more entertainment as the track provides more overtaking opportunities such as turn 18 at the end of the longest straight.

 

Track Layout:

Past Winners

2023: Pascal Wehrlein (R1&R2)

2022: Nyck de Vries (R1), Edoardo Mortara (R2)

2021: Nyck de Vries (R1), Sam Bird (R2)

Race Info:

  • Race Length: 37 Laps (R1), 36 Laps (R2)
  • Turns: 21
  • Attack Mode Place: T19
  • Attack Mode: 8 Minutes
  • Track Length: 2.495 km
  • Most Wins: Sam Bird, Nyck de Vries & Pascal Wehrlein (2)
  • Race lap record: 1:09.010 (Sam Bird, 2023)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eline follows a variety of motorsports from Formula E to IMSA to Nascar to WEC. They hope to study Mechanical Engineering to work in motorsports one day.

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