Formula E: Future bright for motorsport ace Mitch Evans

Kiwi flyer Mitch Evans.
Kiwi flyer Mitch Evans. Photo credit: Getty

New Zealand has a proud history of producing world-class race car drivers.

Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon and Dennis Hulme are some of this country's best, and by the time Scott Dixon calls time on his career, you'd expect his name to join such esteemed company.

But several younger drivers hope to add their names to that list. Brendon Hartley's roller-coaster run in Formula 1 was well publicised and so too was Scott McLaughlin's maiden Supercars crown.

Perhaps one driver flying under the radar is Formula E's Mitch Evans.

While the category's popularity has yet to take off in New Zealand, Evans has slowly established himself as one of the most promising drivers in the series.

The Kiwi has pedigree. Father Owen set the New Zealand land-speed record in 1996 and Mitch was clearly cut from the same cloth, winning the Toyota Racing Series twice and following that up with the prestigious GP3 series win in 2012.

"When we finally tested Mitch, it was really clear he was a driver with a huge amount of natural ability." Jaguar Racing Team director James Barclay told Newshub.

"[He was] incredibly quick. The first test he did with us, he had never done a lap of Donnington Park [in England] before and was on the pace within a matter of laps.

"That was really impressive to see."

Mitch Evans driving hie Formula E Jaguar.
Mitch Evans driving hie Formula E Jaguar. Photo credit: Getty

That was 2016 and Evans has been with the Formula E team ever since. He placed 14th in his first season and then seventh last year.

He's continued to make progress in 2019, scoring points in every race so far and earning high praise from his team.

"Mitch is very quickly establishing in our mind as ultimately being one of the quickest people in the championship," Barclay said.

He thinks Mitch is a future Championship contender, not bad when you consider there are five former Formula One drivers in this year's lineup.

One of those drivers is Evans' teammate and 2016/17 Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jnr.

"Mitch is a super-fast driver," he told Newshub.

"Obviously, I have more experience than him - nearly 10 years - so there's a lot of things I can bring to the team, but Mitch has a lot of speed, which the team also needs."

"I think we have a good combination between the both of us."

Jaguar expects to see more podium finishes from both drivers this season. So far, Evans' best finish was fourth in Saudi Arabia, but he's confident adjustments made since the last round in Mexico will help him this weekend in Hong Kong

"We'll be looking for podiums this weekend, that’s for sure," Evans told Newshub.

"As a team, we're relatively happy, but there's a big focus on qualifying [top], so we've got that track position from the get-go."

Hong Kong was the scene of his first and only podium performance, so he will be hoping for more of the same this time around.

"Last year, we qualified well. I was quickest in qualifying, we got our first podium, so yeah, there were a lot of firsts.”

"Different story this year with the new car and new format, but I definitely want to carry that form and those results I had previously."