Gaydon engineering couple get close and personal as race marshals at the New York E-Prix
Jaguar Land Rover
As season five of Formula E starts next week, TeamTalk speaks to a Gaydon couple who, not only went out to the final race in New York to support Panasonic Jaguar Racing, but also to help the organisers by volunteering as race marshals.
The final Formula E race of season four saw not only Panasonic Jaguar Racing competing, but also a pair of Powertrain engineers from the Charging Systems team in Gaydon in attendance helping to marshal the double-header race weekend.
Husband and wife team, Ryan and Laila Duffy, took the
opportunity to not only support Panasonic Jaguar Racing, but also partake in their hobby as the organisers struggled to fill their
quota. Alongside working with electric vehicles every day, helping connect the Jaguar
I-PACE with the charging infrastructure, the couple have continued this passion
into their free time.
Their manager Gary Edwards, who leads the Charging Systems
Team said: “It’s great that we have such engaged engineers whose job is also
their passion. That naturally flows into their understanding of the systems, and
their enthusiasm and knowledge rubs off on the rest of the team”.
The race in Brooklyn proved an eye-opening experience for
the experienced marshals, as it gave an insight into differences between
American and British approaches. Ryan said that the American way is much more
laid back, as US marshals wore thinner overalls in the heat compared to the
thick and heavy fireproof overalls Ryan and Laila are used to wearing in the
He added: “It was interesting because we had quite a mix of
people. Our post chief was senior, and Laila and I have done a bit of
marshalling in the UK, but we had a lady whose first experience was marshalling
was this race. They don’t tend to do that in the UK. You start off at club
level before helping on the international scene.”
Although experiencing a race abroad was a new feeling,
marshalling at a Formula E race wasn’t new for the pair, as they had been on
hand at the London E-Prix in 2015 and 2016. Although electric race cars are a
different breed to other conventional race cars actually dealing with one after
a race incident is straight forward as Laila explains:
“At the London E-Prix, we received an extra briefing on how
to deal with the cars – from understanding the status lights to knowing when a
car is electrically safe.
“The roll hoop light above the driver flashes when the car
is on and it is a case of pressing the emergency stop switch to disable the
car. There are three traffic lights in front of the cockpit telling you the
status of the car. Green means the car is electrically safe, red means it isn’t
and blue indicates a 20G plus impact. It is really that simple and makes it
easy to deal with quickly in an emergency.”
The pair hope to volunteer at more Formula E races in season
five, setting their hearts on marshalling at other races abroad; however, both
Ryan and Laila are hoping there is another race in Britain in the future.
Laila added: “There have been rumours about Birmingham,
which would be superb if it came back. Apart from that, I have heard the Paris
race is great from a spectator’s perspective as it is in the middle of the city
centre close to the Eiffel Tower.”
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