Based on the new Spark SRT05E “Gen2” platform, the M5 Electro was Mahindra Racing’s competitor for the 2018/19 (Season 5) round of the FIA Formula E Championship. The team was fronted by long-standing Formula E and former Dragon driver Jerome d’Ambrosio and rookie driver Pascal Wehrlein. Wehrlein didn’t join the team until January and so Mahindra retained one of their drivers from the previous season, Felix Rosenqvist, for the season opener. Season 5 also saw Mahindra partnering with Pininfarina, incorporating the expertise of the Italian design house with the digital technology prowess of Tech Mahindra to enhance the M5's performance. Under the new partnership, Mahindra also gained access to Pininfarina's wind tunnel testing facilities, which helped the team in developing the aerodynamic efficiency of its race car.
Retaining Mahindra’s traditional red and white paint scheme, the new car offered increased battery storage compared to their predecessor, almost double, meaning the mandatory mid-race car swap was eliminated completely. The M5 Electro was more powerful as well with power output, from the new 56 kWh battery supplied by McLaren Applied Technologies, pushed to 250 kw (or 335bhp). The car could accelerate to 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in just 2.8 seconds, with a potential top speed of 174 mph (280 km/h). In the first set of closed tests at the Monteblanco circuit in Southern Spain, Rosenqvist clocked a fastest lap of 01:02.14 and completed a total distance of 102.6km.
The M5 Electro started strongly. At the season opener in Saudi Arabia, D’Ambrosio scored a podium after qualifying eighth, despite nursing diffuser damage after an earlier contact with André Lotterer. Rosenqvist, on his last appearance for Mahindra, unluckily retired on lap eight after a rear transmission failure. D’Ambrosio continued his strong start to the season in race two in Marrakesh, winning the race by a tiny margin of 0.143 seconds, after qualifying in tenth position. Sadly, Wehrlein’s debut was marred by a forced retirement after Lucas di Grassi misjudged his braking point and rammed into him. However, in the following race in Santiago, it was Wehrlein’s time to shine, qualifying third and comfortably finishing second. Heartbreak followed in race four in Mexico City, as Wehrlein lost the lead to Lucas di Grassi just meters from the finish line after running out of energy in the final corner. To intensify the pain, in his attempts to keep di Grassi behind him on the final lap, Wehrlein cut a chicane prompting the stewards to give him a five-second penalty, which subsequently dropped him to sixth place. The rest of the season regularly saw at least one driver in the points, a particular exception being the Hong Kong ePrix, where both drivers retired having only completed one lap. This double retirement was due to an collision: the duo both crashed into Dragon driver Felipe Nasr after he himself collided with the wall at Turn 2.
Overall, the M5 Electro earned one win, two further podiums and 125 points for Mahindra Racing, claiming them sixth in the Teams’ Championship.
The Mahindra M5 Electro is limited to just 99 pieces.
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