Race Recap: 2024 Tokyo E-Prix

In February 2024, Caitlin Clark broke the all-time women’s NCAA basketball scoring record. The words ‘you break it, you own it’ have followed her around since.

It’s an iconic victory cry, and beyond the passion and thrill of competition, breaking records and making history are another part of sport and athletic prowess.

Every professional sportsperson dreams of success, but only a select few, the fortunate, are able to experience it first-hand.

Whether you make them, or whether you break them, records can stand the test of time, yet Caitlin and our driver, Maximilian Günther, share something in common.

They’re both at the apex of their careers, performing at their very best. They’re not just part of history, they’re living in it. And they’re making it too.

Max is Formula E’s youngest race winner. In 2023, he won the Maserati brand’s first World Championship single-seater race since 1957.

At the inaugural Tokyo E-Prix last weekend, he added another record to his list. He won the first-ever sanctioned street race to be held in the biggest city in the world.

Just like history, these records will never be erased. This is our race recap from Tokyo.

Finding the Edge in Qualifying

Maximilian Günther races past a grandstand at high-speed during the 2024 Tokyo E-Prix

Given the Tokyo Street Circuit’s tight, technical layout and few overtaking opportunities, we knew that qualifying was going to be one of the most important sessions of the weekend.

After placing third in FP1 and FP2, we also knew that we, Maserati MSG Racing, were in a strong performance position. The only question, in fact, came down to our execution.

When Max climbed into the cockpit of his Maserati Tipo Folgore, his focus was profound. He left the garage, pressed forward, and when he came back, he was in the duels as the fastest driver of Group B.

Pascal Wehrlein was his opponent in the Quarter-Finals, but he defeated the Porsche driver with confidence. Sergio Sette Camara came up next in the Semi-Finals, but again, Max came out on top.

Oliver Rowland was his final opponent. Max went out on track, set the fastest time in Sectors Two and Three, but missed out on pole position by only 0.021 seconds – mere metres on the road.

But thanks to his performance, Max was starting from second in Tokyo. It was the perfect place to fight from in the race.

The Start

Maximilian Günther leads reigning Formula E champion, Jake Dennis, Porsche drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Antonio Felix da Costa, Envision Racing driver, Robin Frijns, ERT driver Sergio Sette Camara, ABT Cupra driver Nico Müller, Andretti driver Norman Nato, Jaguar driver Mitch Evans, Mahindra driver Nyck de Vries, and ABT Cupra driver Lucas di Grassi at the start of the 2024 Tokyo E-Prix in Japan.

Starting from the left-hand side of the grid, we knew that Max was in for a difficult race start.

Positioned off the racing line, on a part of the track that was wet throughout practice, his grid box was dusty, and as such, his traction in the eventual launch into Turn One was poor.

Before Max had even reached the apex of the first corner, he had lost second place to Edoardo Mortara. His strategy was immediately re-evaluated, but he quickly settled into a rhythm.

It was a careful operation. A dance of risk and reward.

Max would eye an overtake and Mortara would cover it off, while Jake Dennis, from behind, would spy his own opportunities with the hope of leaping onto the podium.

By remaining focussed, however, Max continued to play his game. It was only a matter of time before he would strike.

An Early Incident

Jehan Daruvala driving his Maserati Tipo Folgore at the start of the 2024 Tokyo E-Prix

While Max was eyeing moves, Jehan Daruvala was making them, and after a difficult qualifying session earlier on in the day, he was immediately on the rise in the race.

In Formula E, battling in the midfield is notoriously intense. It again comes down to risk and reward, and unfortunately, Jehan was an innocent victim in an early race incident.

With the top 10 getting closer, he was struck from behind to sustain heavy front wing damage – an incident which cost him several positions and staggered his planned recovery.

If there’s one thing that’s clear though, it’s that Jehan is hungry. With Misano up next – a circuit he has historic success at – it’s only a matter of time before he makes it into the top 10.

Max Battles Mortara

Maximilian Günther leads Edoardo Mortara, Antonio Felix da Costa, and Jake Dennis after reclaiming second place during the 2024 Tokyo E-Prix

After spending the opening phase of the race measuring up Mortara and Rowland, Max’s opportunity finally came on laps 11 and 13 when the pair activated Attack Mode.

He first passed by the Mahindra, and then the Nissan, and held the lead for the first time. His moment had arrived, and after building a gap, Max activated his own first Attack Mode on lap 14.

His aim was to rejoin in second, but Mortara just edged ahead. The racing was hard, but fair, and the battle would need to be decided on track.

With the benefit of extra power, the 26-year-old performed a daring pass and second became his. Rowland was up next. Victory was within reach, and the laps were winding down.

The Final Attack

Maximilian Günther celebrates on the podium with team members from Maserati MSG Racing, including Chief Engineer, Cyril Blais and Head of Maserati Corse, Giovanni Sro

A Safety Car on lap 20, caused by debris on track, briefly paused the race. After such an intense fight on track, it was a welcome break ahead of the final push to the finish.

When the race was resumed at the end of lap 22, it was all or nothing. Max set out in pursuit of Rowland, had the energy, had the speed, and passed the Briton on lap 25.

It was a critical overtake in Max’s race, but with one Attack Mode still to take, he had to use clean air to his advantage.

He pushed hard, switching from saving to deploying, and built a large enough gap to activate Attack Mode without sacrificing track position. The lead was his, all he had to do now was hold it.

Rowland was pushing hard. He tried to overtake once, he tried twice, but Max held him at bay. The chequered flag waved, Max crossed the line, the victory was ours.

After a season of competitive results, it was an achievement in the making, and with the inaugural Misano E-Prix coming up next, a host of opportunities are again up for grabs in Italy.