At the Apex: What to watch out for at the 2024 Portland E-Prix

Every season has its own rhythm – a beat which changes tempo from one race to the next, and with the Portland E-Prix approaching, Formula E’s 2024 campaign is on the verge of reaching its mighty crescendo.

As the penultimate round of Season 10, Portland is one of the most critical race weekends of 2024. From this moment on, every point matters, and there’s certainly no turning back.

From late performance evolution to the return of the peloton, this is what you should watch out for as Formula E and Maserati MSG Racing head back to the Pacific Northwest.

A Fresh Mindset

Maserati MSG Racing driver, Maximilian Günther, walks the Shanghai International Circuit with Deputy Team Principal, Cyril Blais

While we love the thrill of competition as much as any team, sometimes, it’s important to press pause, and the conclusion of the Shanghai E-Prix in May allowed us to do exactly that.

After an intense run of nine races, which started in São Paulo back in March, we made sure to take advantage of the short gap in the season to rest, reset and test. We prioritised our own energy recovery and took time to prepare for the final push.

Now, we’re ready to leap back into action, and with renewed focus and a refreshed mindset, we’re prepared for the coming weeks, poised to unlock our very own personal best.

Just like car performance, human performance is crucial in motorsport and knowing when to stop is just as important as knowing when to press forward.

Having a refreshed vision can sometimes be the key ingredient, and in Formula E, it can make a winning recipe.

Peloton Racing

Maserati MSG Racing driver, Jehan Daruvala, leads team-mate, Maximilian Günther, at the 2024 Shanghai E-Prix

Portland’s circuit configuration is simple to describe. It is fast, flowing, and in race conditions – especially in Formula E – it can be a ferocious, adrenaline-fuelled experience.

That’s because, with a short supply of heavy braking zones, the track is one of the most energy sensitive venues on the Season 10 calendar.

While it is possible to recover energy in Turns One and 10, energy saving will be a tough task this weekend, and as such, Formula E’s peloton style of racing is destined to return.

Based on our simulations, Portland will be as extreme to what we experienced at the Misano E-Prix earlier in the year, meaning that more excitement and unpredictability is in store.

In 2023, Portland set the all-time record for the most overtakes in a single Formula E race. The question is, can that record be broken yet again this weekend?

Setup Philosophy

Maserati MSG Racing driver, Maximilian Günther, sits in the cockpit of is Season 10 Formula E car, the Maserati Tipo Folgore

While the recent Shanghai E-Prix wasn’t without its challenges, the circuit’s similarities to what we’ll be facing in Portland place us in an excellent position in terms of car setup.

With a single glance, it is clear that Portland lacks the characteristic constant-radius corners of Shanghai, but as a high-speed, purpose-built facility, we can easily carry our philosophy forward.

That means we can lower our ride height to improve our aerodynamic performance, and with an array of other tweaks, we could even be in a position to optimise our energy efficiency.

Our first taste of a high-speed, permanent circuit this season was at Misano, and as the third circuit of that kind, we have a very good understanding of what is required in Portland.

This means we’ll be able to hit the ground running as soon as practice gets underway, allowing us to optimise our track time and collect the data that can make the difference in each race.

The Penultimate Push

Maserati MSG Racing driver, Jehan Daruvala, chases after ERT driver, Dan Tickum, during the 2024 Shanghai E-Prix while being chased by Envision Racing driver, Sebastien Buemi

We’ve said it already – the 2024 Portland E-Prix is the penultimate race weekend of Season 10, but what does that truly mean?

It means that the weekend represents one of our final opportunities to score points before the campaign’s conclusion in London.

With Max on the verge of breaking into the top five in the World Drivers’ Championship, and with Maserati MSG Racing locked in a battle with McLaren in the World Teams’ Standings, we have everything to play for, and that means that every single point matters.

Knowing that before a weekend carries immense weight, and in such a situation, it’s natural for pressure to rise through the roof.

In such a situation, remaining calm is often easier said than done, but with focused and calculating attitude, we can continue to press forward.

Once Portland is complete, we’ll know the true state of play for the season finale in London where the result of our hard work this season will be realised.