Fast Ambassadors

Formula E racing drivers Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt are Audi’s quickest ambassadors of electric mobility. In the Audi e-tron FE05 they’re now in their fifth year of contesting the FIA Formula E Championship. For the e-mission under the banner of the four rings, the Brazilian and the German also regularly appear in front of cameras and microphones at the racing events.

07/10/2019 Reading Time: 5 min

Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt in a casino
Audi e-tron FE05 on the racetrack

PR activities have been part of a normal workday for Audi’s factory drivers di Grassi and Abt on the twelve race weekends of a Formula E season, as well as in between, ever since the inaugural event of the fully electric racing series took place in Beijing in September 2014. In all the big cities where Formula E races on purpose-built city street circuits, the Brazilian-German duo inspires people’s enthusiasm for the progress made in electric mobility and its advantages, both inside and outside the cockpits of their racing cars.



Shortly before the 2018/2019 Formula E season kicks off, Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt, during the series’ first visit to Ad Diriyah near Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, go head to head in a very special race – with falcons. Victory of the winged air battle in the middle of the desert goes to di Grassi’s bird of prey – in front of a herd of casually spectating camels that happen to be trotting past the location of the film shoot.



At the famous Djemaa-el-Fna market in the heart of Marrakesh, the Audi drivers’ bargaining skills are put to the test: they’re challenged to purchase a hat, a basket and shoes for a maximum of 500 dirhams (approx. 50 euros). Daniel Abt is the winner of the haggling challenge and proudly hands his purchases over to Team Principal Allan McNish, who thanks him with a laugh and dons the hat. A visit to the local branch of Audi’s partner DHL is huge fun too. The di Grassi/Abt Formula E duo receives an enthusiastic welcome by the logisticians.



A hot pre-taste of Formula E’s heat record race in Chile’s capital city: at the famous steakhouse Los Buenos Muchachos, Chef Francesco Montenegro shares the secrets of a perfectly fried steak with di Grassi and Abt. A week earlier, in Zell am See, Austria, Daniel Abt tackles a contrasting challenge in the cold: at the GP Ice Race, he drives his car from the previous year once again – for the first time on studded tires and snow, and with a skier in tow. With the Audi e-tron FE04, he and Lucas di Grass won the Formula E teams’ title the year before.  



Catching loose horses in an arena with a lasso: that’s the name of the game in a charreada, a Mexican-style rodeo. A charro, a local pro in this national sport, teaches it to Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt in a crash course before the race in the Middle American metropolis. Especially the lasso lesson seems to pay off: Lucas di Grassi in the Mexican E-Prix pulls off Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s first victory of the season. The Brazilian also proves to be a winner as a lecturer at the Ibero-American University: 200 students listen with bated breath to di Grassi’s spirited talk about the special aspects of Formula E and the strides made in electric mobility.



The 50th Formula E race also marks their 50th race as Audi teammates: in honour of their ‘golden wedding’, Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt are supposed to be filmed at the Hong Kong waterfront. However, the film shoot in front of the skyline of the Asian metropolis is cancelled due to bad weather. Even so, the two get to celebrate: at the local market presentation of the Audi e-tron, the premium brand’s first fully electric production model, at the Audi Hong Kong Showroom located close to the city circuit with 300 invited guests in attendance. The anniversary photo showing the whole team at nightfall captures the atmosphere in a particularly impressive way.



For the premiere at the Chinese holiday paradise Sanya, a spectacular stage is set for di Grassi and Abt. They mount flyboards for a film shoot. With the boards strapped to their feet, they rise several metres above the water surface near the beach of Hainan Island, propelled by the thrust from two high-pressure water jet nozzles. Another awesome endeavour is Lucas di Grassi’s interview with TV channel CNN, which is recorded in the nearby jungle. The only way to get to the location is via a narrow, wooden swing bridge.



A special mission when the European Formula E season kicks off in Rome: Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt venture into the turbulent traffic of the ‘Eternal City’ on e-scooters. Both return to the paddock unharmed, but the pizzas for the rest of the team notably suffered on the way. Lucas di Grassi also has a famous companion in Rome: Sir Chris Hoy. The Scottish track cycling legend follows di Grassi’s every move for a documentary of the Motor Trend channel.



The challenge this time: shopping for elegant evening attire using the Audi e-tron as their stylish shopping cart. In their fully electric SUV, Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt embark on their shopping tour in the ‘capital of fashion’. Back at their garage in the pit lane, now wearing their casual team clothes again, they engage in a discussion with an absolute fashion expert: Diane Kruger. Today, the German-American former model is a successful cinema heroine (‘Troy’, ‘Inglourious Basterds’). During the Formula E event in Paris, her second home, Diane Kruger promotes e-cars, sustainability and her new espionage thriller.



The Audi drivers dress up once again – as befits an exclusive visit to the famous Monte Carlo Casino. In the splendid Golden Hall, they play blackjack. Their opponent in the casino banking game is no lesser than their team principal: Allan McNish. The former Sportscar World Champion from Scotland acts as croupier and wins the three-way battle at the noble gambling table for the bank. Afterwards, Lucas di Grassi, the 2016/2017 Formula E World Champion, meets with the 2016 Formula One World Champion: Nico Rosberg. Rosberg is one of the Formula E shareholders and by now heavily engaged in electric mobility. Like at all Formula E races, both Audi drivers again intensively attend to Formula E fans on the world’s most famous city circuit: autographs, selfies, and best times set in the simulator which the enthusiastic audience subsequently tries to beat.



Before Audi’s home round in Berlin, Lucas di Grassi makes his debut at the Cannes Film Festival. He’s one of the principal performers in the documentary ‘And We Go Green’ that was co-produced by Academy Award winner Leonardo DiCaprio. With his wife, Bianca, at his side, di Grassi looks as confident on the Red Carpet as he will two days later on the podium as the winner of the Berlin E-Prix. 

Hard and fast e-beats, that’s how the Berlin event starts for Daniel Abt: a crash course as a DJ at Club OST with the professional DJ duo Pan-Pot. Music fan Abt soon gets the hang of mixing songs – and a CNN camera team gets its next exclusive TV story. Together, Abt and di Grassi later visit an event in the German capital hosted by Audi’s partner Schaeffler. The co-developer of the powertrain for the Audi e-tron FE05 invited more than 400 employees to the circuit on the former Tempelhof airport. 



An extra city tour before Formula E’s debut in the Swiss capital: Audi colleague Nico Müller chauffeurs Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt around his hometown in a fully electric Audi e-tron: the tour includes stops and tastings at typical cheese and chocolate factories. By the way: Nico Müller has a major share in Audi’s Formula E successes. The Swiss regularly tests the Audi e-tron FE05 in the simulator and achieves further progress especially in suspension development.  

Lucas di Grassi experiences an all-different kind of automotive progress in another film shoot with CNN: the Brazilian gets to ride as a passenger in the world’s largest electric vehicle. The 100-metric tonne e-dumper truck generates more energy while running downhill than it needs for running uphill. The surplus energy is fed into the power grid.

Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi


Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi playing a game
Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt carrying pizzas
Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt driving simulators


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