Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Jake Dennis has High Hopes for Andretti’s Home Race: “I have every bit of trust in the team”

Championship contender Jake Dennis heads into this weekend’s inaugural Portland E-Prix on the back of a sensational performance in Jakarta, where he kept himself right in the fight for the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

The British driver finished second in both races last-time out in the Indonesian capital, promoting him to second in the Drivers’ Championship. He goes to the West Coast just a single point behind leader Pascal Wehrlein, with five races remaining. The race to the finish is certainly on, starting this weekend at the Portland International Raceway.

With this weekend being this season’s only race in the United States, Saturday’s trip to Portland represents Avalanche Andretti Formula E‘s home race, adding to the pressure for Dennis. It’s set to be an intriguing E-Prix given that it’s taking place on an actual race circuit, rather than a street track. The drivers will certainly be able to push right to the limit this weekend, with Dennis recognising how important a big result at the team’s home race is.

If the pressure of it being Andretti’s home race wasn’t enough, the owner of Andretti Autosport, Michael Andretti, is going to be in attendance. Dennis joked that when the “big boss” attends, things don’t normally go to plan; however, the British driver has “every bit of trust in the team” to give him a great race car in Portland.

“Normally, to be honest, whenever the big boss comes, we don’t perform all that well. But having Michael there, it’s going to be a really big event for us in general, the sponsorship, and the boss coming to a home race,” Dennis told Formula E.

“I have every bit of trust in the team that they can give me the package to try and win the race, or if not podium, but, ultimately, it’s a really big opportunity for us to try do it. It’s a big race for Andretti and some IndyCar drivers from Andretti will come over.”

Dennis certainly heads to Portland in red-hot form, with him being on a run of four consecutive podiums. A rostrum this weekend would incredibly be his eighth of the season, something which could see him take the championship lead into the Rome double-header next month. Given that the only races left after Saturday are in Rome and London, Dennis is seen as the title favourite by some.

This is largely due to how strong he’s always been at the London E-Prix, with him having won two of the last four races in the British capital. Dennis knows that “everyone’s expecting me to perform” in London, whilst he also recognised that winning the title in front of a home crowd “would be incredible”.

Above: Jake Dennis drinking champagne after winning at last season’s London E-Prix – Credit: LAT Images courtesy of FIA Formula E

With Dennis having been towards the sharp end of the standings all season, he’s openly admitted that not winning the title this season would leave him feeling “pretty disappointed”.

“It means a lot as you put in all this hard work”, Dennis continued. “I’m still relatively new to Formula E; it is only my third year. To have this opportunity in front of me is super important. We’ve worked hard for it, and I really want to go the full way and try and deliver the result.

“When you know you’re in the championship hunt, like all season, and it doesn’t quite come off at the end then you’re pretty disappointed. This year, we’ve been in the top three of the Championship the whole way through and really had every opportunity to try and win it, so I’d be disappointed if I don’t.

“I think in London everyone’s expecting me to perform. We’ve always had good results there. We’ve won in two out of the four races that have been held there, so it seems to suit my driving style quite well. To do it in front of your home crowd is always one hell of a feeling and I’ll never forget last year. If we can try and replicate that would be incredible.”