Nine things we learned in Tokyo

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Nine things we learned in Tokyo

Round 5 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship saw all teams and drivers take on an entirely new challenge: Tokyo.


Another new team and driver on the top step of the podium, more manufacturer news announced in the global car culture capital and home town heroes give the crowd something to cheer about. Here are the top seven things we learned in Tokyo.

Silverware for Nissan on home soil

Home town heroes Nissan notched up another podium finish at the hands of veteran Formula E driver Oliver Rowland - extending his podium streak to three races in Tokyo.

Heading to the Japanese capital, Rowland was on a roll after a third-place finish in Sao Paulo and started to pick up the pace after Free Practice 2 in Japan. After finishing the final practice session second fastest, Rowland went on to pinch Julius Baer Pole Position from Maserati MSG Racing's Maximilian Guenther in qualifying, around the 18-turn, 2.582km street circuit.

Now sitting third in the Drivers' standings with 54 points to his name, the Nissan pilot is just nine points adrift of World Championship leader Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team) and seven points off Jaguar TCS Racing's Nick Cassidy in second.

RESULTS: The 2023/24 World Championship standings

With all three very much in contention for the World Championship title, it's tight at the top as all three drivers and their respective manufacturers take the title fight into Europe.

Five winners from five teams, in five races

All the 'fives' arrived in downtown Tokyo as the streak of unpredictability continued as Maserati's Maximilian Guenther was crowned winner in the Japanese capital. Since the start of the season, we've seen TAG Heuer Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein win in Mexico City, Andretti's Jake Dennis and Jaguar TCS Racing's Nick Cassidy win in Diriyah, NEOM McLaren's Sam Bird take the flag in Sao Paulo and now Maserati's Guenther make it five in five in Tokyo.


That's five different winners, from five different teams in five races, all before the series heads into another new track in Misano, Italy. Given the streak so far, there's every chance unpredictability will once again reign supreme as the series enters Europe.

Tokyo's still the epicentre of global car culture

In one of the world's greatest car capitals, all eyes were on Formula E's line-up of leading global car manufacturers, particularly home town heroes Nissan. From Formula E's very own collaboration with customising kings Liberty Walk, to all-star appearances from Takuma Sato and GEN3 drives by Fast & Furious actor Sung Kang - not to mention our very own, unique take on the iconic Tokyo Drift intro - the inaugural race in Japan had it all.

"I think it's the proper the perfect combination of a postmodern city like Tokyo, teaming up with Formula E, a postmodern motorsport," said Sung Kang. "What better backdrop than Tokyo for Formula E to be at, where everything is about the future."


As for legendary Japanese racing driver Takuma Sato, the seasoned IndyCar and Formula One driver was spotted trackside catching all the action in Tokyo. "It is mega for Formula E, Japan and motorsport in this country – the impact will be huge," he said. "There's no history of street track formula racing in Japan whatsoever and this will bring an enormous future for Japanese motor racing.

TAKUMA SATO: 'Formula E in Tokyo Huge for Japanese Motorsport' 

"The fans will be really excited to see it for the first time in person. I have a lot of good friends here, even after 10 years [since taking part in the 2014 Beijing E-Prix] – it's been really nice to see them. I'm just so happy to look at a beautiful sunset in Tokyo with Formula E finally coming to Japan – it's such an exciting moment."

The powertrain battle is on 

Over the first five races this season, only one powertrain manufacturer has managed to do the double and win two rounds: TAG Heuer Porsche. The German giants supply their own team, as well as Andretti, and won the first two races this season. Pascal Wehrlein put on a dominant display in Mexico City whilst reigning World Champions Jake Dennis of Andretti played a great game in Diriyah to win from third. 

However, since then we’ve had a new powertrain supplier stand on the top step for three races in a row – a very unique situation. First there was Jaguar TCS Racing and Nick Cassidy in Riyadh. Then came Nissan, who powered NEOM McLaren’s Sam Bird to his first victory since 2021 in São Paulo and the papaya team’s first win in Formula E. Now, we’ve seen STELLANTIS and the Maserati of Guenther take a win. 

Tokyo E-Prix Race Highlights thumbnail

It also makes the fight for the inaugural Manufacturers' trophy heat up, with Jaguar still on top with 129 points but Porsche are just seven behind and Nissan are catching on 109. STELLANTIS also increased to 97 points in fourth, with Mahindra Racing rising to fifth in the table with their six points from the weekend thanks to Nico Mueller (ABT CUPRA).

It’s a big sign of things to come, and for the first time since London 2022, neither Porsche nor Jaguar powertrains have won two races in a row! 

Challenging but "proper Formula E track" with bumps, jumps and drifts

With 18-turns, the 2.582km street circuit around the Tokyo International Exhibition Centre – the largest venue in Japan also known as Tokyo Big Sight – proved a formidable challenge for the paddock. From practice to the E-Prix, the course saw all 22 cars and drivers jump, bump and drift their way around the tight corners, technical sequences and fast straights, all against the stunning backdrop of the bustling Tokyo metropolis.


"It was mega," said Jaguar TCS Racing's Nick Cassidy immediately after the race. "It was a proper Formula E track with bumps, fast sections and corners - you're really on the limit. I thought the track was fantastic - I'm a proper street circuit lover, which is Formula E's DNA."

Lola enters the fight in Season 11

Announced in the days leading up to the Tokyo E-Prix, Lola, one of the most storied names in motorsport with 500 championship wins on the board, will be making its motorsport comeback with Formula E next season. Teaming up in a multi-year technical partnership with Yamaha Motor Company, Lola will develop and supply a powertrain in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship from Season 11.

READ MORE: Lola Cars returns to top tier motorsport with Yamaha as Technical Partner

"Lola Cars has a decorated history of success in chassis and aerodynamic design," says seasoned Formula E team boss and Motorsport Director of Lola Cars Ltd, Mark Preston. "This project will allow us to create a unique electrified platform with a software focus at its core to provide a basis for Lola's wider plans in defining the future of motorsport technology."

Nissan commits to GEN4 era

On the eve of the inaugural Tokyo E-Prix, home town heroes Nissan became the first manufacturers to commit to the GEN4 era, extending its involvement in the series until 2030. "The Formula E World Championship plays a key part in our electrification strategy, so to finally be able to race in front of our home crowd is amazing," says Tommaso Volpe, managing director and team principal, Nissan Formula E Team. "We've been dreaming of an E-Prix in Japan for a long time, and have been excited for it to come ever since it was announced by the series!"


The announcement was part of Nissan's Ambition 2030 - a long-term plan to become a truly electrified car manufacturer. The program places electrification at the core of the company's long-term strategy, which will see 34 electrified models hit the road between 2024 and 2030, across all segments.

Maiden points for Mueller in Season 10

Tokyo marked a significant turning point in ABT CUPRA Formula E Team driver Nico Mueller's fortunes, as the Swiss clocked his first points of the season with a P6 finish in the Japanese capital.

"I think we could have done a little bit better but P6 is a great result and we'll take it," said Mueller moments after the race. "Tokyo was very different from what we've had this season, full of new challenges, so we enjoyed that. It was very technical and, I think, spectacular to watch, so I hope everybody enjoyed the race."


Now heading into a new track in another new location for Formula E, Mueller is expecting more challenges as the series heads to Misano on April 13 & 14. "We're expecting a very different challenge to this one. We don't only have to manage energy there but maybe temperatures as well again, so hopefully we can build on our experiences from Sao Paulo and here and have a good one."

A new standings leader 

Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein is back to leading the Drivers’ World Championship after Tokyo, thanks to a solid drive to finish in fifth at the chequered flag. The German started the year on a high, winning in Mexico City as well as achieving Julius Baer Pole Position to get himself 28 championship points. However, Nick Cassidy also had a stunning start to his season with Jaguar and took the lead of the standings after his win in Round 3. 

In São Paulo, Cassidy was forced to retire after picking up damage but did his best to bounce back in Japan – a place he knows well from years of racing in the country. Unfortunately for the Kiwi, he was disqualified in qualifying and started 19th on the team's 100th race weekend before climbing up the pack to finish in eighth. 


For Wehrlein, the Porsche driver looked quick but picked up damage when he crashed into the back of Andretti’s Dennis. His teammate, Antonio Felix da Costa, was ahead and went for a move to seal a podium place, but it didn’t stick and so both Porsche drivers were forced to settle for fourth and fifth.