Charging Ahead: Mitch Evans Electrifies the Track with Jaguar Racing

Too fast but not furious; when it comes to the highest level of racing, only a few stand out from the rest. Remix had the opportunity to interview Kiwi-born, Mitch Evans, Mitch discusses his tenure as one of the world's best Formula E drivers. Talking all things racing, we take a deep dive into Mitch’s world, discussing his time with Jaguar Racing and some behind-the-scenes magic that contributes to his success. 

What's the biggest change in Formula E from where it started to where it's come to today?

For me, it’s growing a lot. As a team, we've been in the category for seven years. It was a bit of a shock the first time I drove a Formula E car, but the evolution from the Gen One car to the Gen Three has been enormous. The cars keep getting more efficient and quicker. The labels are also world-class, it's part of the most competitive championship as a whole driver team combination in the world and the development rate has been impressive, it's quite exciting to be part of that journey.

How do you sum up the year for Jaguar, and you individually?

I had clear goals to get better. I lost five races at the start of a sixteen-race season, so I had to catch up a lot. I was in the fight for the championship in the last few races alongside Nick, Jake, and Pascal, so it was the four of us that kind of broke away from the rest of the category. I won the first race in Rome and with three races to go, I unfortunately made contact with another driver. Ultimately, Jake took the championship, I ended up finishing third and Nick was the runner-up. Our team ended up second overall. 

With two Kiwi drivers next year, how do you manage the dynamic of rivalry and friendship between you and Nick?

Yeah, it's super exciting but at the same time, we’ve been spoken rivals from the start, we were always racing against each other. He's come into Formula E a couple of years ago and had a strong season last year. I think we're both excited about it, it's quite a special story, just two kids from Auckland, now racing in one of the biggest categories in the world, both finishing second and third at the end of the World Championships. We've got a really good chance to put Jaguar on the top step. We're such close friends and we're open and honest, we just want the best for the team.

Do you think Formula E is building momentum with more people migrating to the sport?

Totally, since our first race to now, the interest is night and day. The races are so exciting compared to other categories, it's a very unpredictable championship, just because of the nature of how we race with the limited energy that we have. In one of the races we hit the record of four overtakes, which is much more than any other. We just hope it continues to grow and also comes to this part of the world.

What is the mood in the camp in terms of the testing phase? Have the cars changed from last year?

Yeah, the feeling is good, we came off the back of a very strong season. We want to continue that momentum, use that confidence, and try and hit the ground running from Mexico. The car is the same but what we can evolve is all the software and the usual mechanical setup. We're bringing software updates to make the car more efficient, optimizing the regen, and just trying to make the cars faster.

What upcoming Formula E technologies, especially within Jaguar, do you think will translate into advancements for production cars? 

I'll say it's everything, between falling into automotive EVs that you see on the road is a huge crossover to us, both developing at a very similar rate, but Formula E motorsport is the best testbed for road car development. Jaguar has a massive interest in battery tech, but for the future, and electric vehicles it will be more obvious in the next 12 months.

Do you get involved in vehicle design and technology?

To a degree, I was involved with the i-pace, I drove it in all of its stages from when It was a prototype to when It was a finished product. I drove it in Vegas, I drove in the Arctic Circle, and on the racetrack, it was pretty crazy. I was at the HQ two weeks ago getting some designs for future cars whilst getting some insights on drive position and controls.

You're a high-performing athlete in a high-pressure sport, how do you deal with it all?

I've been driving since I was very young, and I always try and simplify it. Just because I'm racing for a brand like Jaguar, it doesn't change anything for me. I pull it back to when I was go-karting as a kid, and it's no different. Yes, it's a lot more at stake, but that just comes with the job. The mental side is one of the key aspects not just in sports, but just in general life and how you deal with adversity. No one has it perfectly, it's something that I've tackled throughout my career. A big part of my preparation is the mental side, a lot more than the physical side.  

What is it like living in Monaco?

It's a dream come true. I’m From Lynfield, west Auckland so it’s a bit of a contrast. I love it, I raced there for the first time in 2012 and was amazed by the place. It's a very unique setup, to call that home for the last few years now is hard to believe. But having to race there, and getting to work there is surreal. To live there is fantastic.

New Zealand seems to punch well above their weight in motorsport, what do you put this down to? 

I have no idea and I think it's seriously impressive what Kiwis have done, I just wish we got more recognition for that compared to other sports. What we're doing worldwide with all different categories at the highest level is crazy. Take me and Nick for example, we’re one of the leading teams finishing second and third in a world championship, formerly known as the fourth biggest championship in the world, that's crazy. And when you truly understand how difficult it is in our sport to get to that level, to see so many Kiwis around is honestly impressive, we punch so far above our weight it's crazy!