Virgin Racing is getting ready for season five of the Formula E Championship with a series of announcements, including a new livery, a new driver and a new name.
Announced in April at the Paris ePrix, global digital energy company Envision Group is now the majority owner of the team and it will become Envision Virgin Racing for the start of the new season.
“We are incredibly excited to witness the Envision Virgin Racing team enter into the fifth season of Formula E. By taking part in this rapidly expanding racing series, we are provided with a format that allows us to share our enthusiasm for innovative technology, elegant design, smart mobility and high speed while showcasing the pure power of clean energy,” Envision founder and CEO Lei Zhang said at a launch event at the team’s Silverstone base. “Virgin Racing’s on-and-off track achievements in this championship so far have been extraordinary and we hope that the new Envision Virgin Racing Team, united by a shared passion for sustainability and motorsport, can continue building this team’s impressive legacy.”
Also revealed at the event was the new driver line-up, which will see Formula E veteran Sam Bird continuing with Envision Virgin Racing for the fifth season.
“It’s great to be remaining with the team for a fifth season. The relationship we have developed over the last 45 races has been incredible and I’m excited to see it continue to strengthen,” Bird said. “Season five is a new era for every team – with the introduction of the Gen2 car – but particularly for us, as we are now joined by Envision Group. The team has worked tirelessly over the summer and are ready to return to the track for pre-season testing.”
Bird will be joined by Robin Frijns, who raced in seasons two and three of the all-electric championship and secured a podium finish in his second ever race.
Frijns said: “I’m very excited to be returning to Formula E with Envision Virgin Racing. It’s great to be joining such a strong team and with the work we’ve already completed, it’s clear we have a very good package. The live event at Silverstone has showcased all that the team can do and it’s great to be a part of that. We now look ahead to pre-season testing, where we’ll be able to better gauge our on-track performance.”
The 2018/2019 FIA Formula E Championship begins in Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, on December 15th where the new era Formula E Gen 2 cars will be on the track for the first time. The new cars boast almost double the energy storage, meaning they will complete the entire race distance rather than drivers switching cars during the race.
For more on Formula E, head to the Envision Virgin Racing website.