Envision Virgin Racing are back in action in the sixth season of Formula E today.
The Diriyah E-Prix is a double header, with the opening two races of the season taking place today and tomorrow. It will see Envision Virgin Racing’s drivers take on 22 others in a bid to secure the first victory of the season.
Sam Bird, one of the team’s drivers, said ahead of the first races: “Having spent the summer break focusing on my fitness and improving myself as an athlete, and after a strong programme during the pre-season test in Valencia last month, I am ready for the challenge that lies ahead. I am always committed to Formula E so with this great team behind me, a team-mate who challenges me and a race winning car, I look forward to adding to my eight Formula E victories and having the opportunity to win in front of my home crowd in London.”
Team-mate Robin Frijns added: “I really enjoyed my first season with the team last year and to pick up two victories was very special. The off-season has seen a great deal of effort from every member of the team to ensure we’re in the best possible shape and I think that showed during official testing. The season opener is going to be an interesting one as the Diriyah circuit is one of the most demanding out there, with so much to think about in order to hook up a quick lap, and of course new teams and drivers all with a lot to prove. For sure, it promises to be a great weekend for the fans, and we hope we can start the season off on a high.”
The track at Diriyah is 2.94km in length with 21 turns and drivers will battle with dust on track. Frijns described it as ‘relentless’. He added: “As a driver, there’s not one place on the lap you get a rest bite and sectors one and two are easily the toughest on the calendar.”
Qualifying will be crucial for the drivers – and Bird has started well, topping the timings today in Qualifying and earning the first Championship point of the season and a place in the Super Pole session. Super Pole sees the fastest five drivers from qualifying go out one at a time to set the fastest lap time to line up first on the grid.
Envision Virgin Racing managing director Sylvain Filippi said: “As an independent team, to have finished third last season was a fantastic achievement, but we know the competition will be even tougher this time around, especially with the introduction of new teams and drivers. We know consistency and preparation is going to be crucial, make or break in fact, so we have put huge emphasis on this.”
The first race of the Diriyah E-Prix takes place at 3pm local time (12pm GMT). Head to the Formula E website to find out how you can watch all the action.