60 Seconds with Mark Preston, Team Principal, TECHEETAH Formula E Racing Team
Mark Preston is an Australian businessman and motorsport professional. He is currently the Team Principal of the TECHEETAH Formula E racing team, and CEO of StreetDrone. He has a long history in motorsport, particularly in Formula One, having worked for Arrows F1, McLaren Racing Ltd and Super Aguri F1. We caught up with Mark ahead of his keynote at this year’s Mines and Money London show.
Interviewed by Andrew Thake, Mines and Money
25th September 2018
Mines and Money (MM): What attracted you to motor racing?
Mark Preston (MP): As a mechanical engineer, this was the highest level of competition I could see in my chosen profession. The competition, fast paced change. Motorsports is a prototyping competition
MM: Tell us about how you came to be in E1?
MP: In 2009 I started to plan to do electric racing with David Hunt (James Hunt’s brother) as we were looking for a way to differentiate in motorsports, F1 had become too difficult to fund. We needed to find something relevant to the future
MM: What batteries do E1 use?
MP: Li Ion, battery pack made by McLaren for Season 5
MM: What innovations from E1 do you think will be applied to conventional Electric Vehicles?
MP: Efficiency gains of the system and energy management software will translate.
MM: What’s the main takeaway you hope that delegates get from your talk at Mines and Money London?
MP: To show that the future of electric and autonomous is coming quite quickly, and that the industry should be looking to learn from “R&D spillover” from the rapid development in automotive and transpose it into mining.
MM: You’ve also launched Street Drone – can you tell us a little bit about the company?
MP: StreetDrone is looking to help companies accelerate their use of autonomy, joining any vehicle platform into an autonomous system.
MM: Can you tell us a little about the work you are doing with SFA Oxford?
MP: SFA has been working with us looking at strategies in the future of mobility and helping to create scenarios about how the industry will develop and grow and where the opportunities sit within the market
MM: In E1 (or any motor-racing) what percentage is down to the driver, what percentage the team, and what percentage the car/technology? Has that changed since your career in motor racing started?
MP: In Formula 1 I would say engine, aero, tyres are all 30%, leaving 10 % for the driver, but in Formula E I would say this is closer to 30% driver