Following Jean-Éric Vergne’s fifth place finish and pole position in Berlin, which was the team’s third pole position in a row and its fourth of the season, Virgin Racing currently sits in third place in the overall team standings and will be looking to use the home support to their advantage to consolidate their position.
Sam Bird, meanwhile, whose DSV-01 will feature a special one-off Union Jack livery for the Battersea Park double-header, will be looking to repeat his triumph on home soil from 2015 and make up further ground on Sébastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi, who currently sit ahead of him in first and second place in the Drivers’ Championship.
The 2.925km track with 17 turns features a number of high-speed corners and chicanes, and is one of Sam’s favourite tracks on the Formula E circuit. “I can’t wait to race again in London – partly because it’s sort of my home city, and because Formula E has created a spectacular track in a sublime setting,” he says. “Not only that, of course. It holds very special memories given my success here last season. Winning the race was a brilliant way to end Season 1 and I’ll be going all out to ensure the team and our fans have a similar reason to celebrate at the end this, our second season of Formula E.”
For Jean-Éric Vergne, the London ePrix represents another opportunity to continue his recent upturn in fortunes, which saw him pick up pole position in Berlin to follow up an impressive second place in Paris.
“The last two races have been really good for me personally, so hopefully I can continue that momentum into London and have a strong end to the season,” said Vergne, who picked up a third-place finish in the opening round of last year’s London ePrix. “I got a good podium here last season which gives me confidence going into the race. The technical team have done a great job to make the car really competitive so we want to give the home crowd something to cheer and really get them behind us throughout the weekend.”
Virgin Racing Principal, Alex Tai added: “Looking back at this season, it’s certainly been full of drama and excitement. It was fantastic to lead the team through it, and as a unit I think we’re in a really good place right now. The fact that we have earned poles in each of the last three races not only shows that we have the pace, but that we also have two exceptionally talented drivers. Sam’s win in London last season was a near perfect finale and I hope we can top that this year to really lay down a marker for season three.”
Head of DS Performance, Xavier Mestalen Pinon, said: “With its fast corners the average speed of the London ePrix should be among the fastest of the season, after Punta del Este and Long Beach, despite the bumpy nature of the track. Our simulations have shown that the pilots’ ability to regenerate energy during braking will be especially put to the test during the race. It is vital that we avoid mistakes in these two rounds to ensure that we maintain our position in the championships. This last ePrix of the season will also be the opportunity to celebrate the first anniversary of our partnership between the DS Brand and the team Virgin Racing, so it would be fantastic to celebrate this landmark in style!”
Virgin group Founder, Sir Richard Branson, said: “I’m really looking forward to cheering the team on in London and supporting Sam and Jean-Eric. Whatever happens on track, we can all celebrate a successful second season for Formula E. The series has well and truly proven its concept and keeps going from strength to strength, and at Virgin we’re delighted to be playing a central role in that success. I believe it is the future of motor sport.”
Virgin Racing have also proved popular with Formula E fans this season, picking up more Fanboost wins than any other team. Fans can submit a Fanboost vote via the official app or website www.fiaformulae.com/fanboost or via Twitter and Instagram by posting the #Fanboost hashtag alongside either #SamBird or #JeanEricVergne.