The FIA Formula E championship returns for a second season in Beijing on 24 October and the Virgin Racing team will be looking to continue where they left off at the end of season one.
Back in June, home favourite Sam Bird stormed to a win in the final round in London, and the British driver will be looking to build on a promising first season – which also saw him pick up a win in Malaysia – alongside new recruit, Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne.
With the arrival of the DS brand, the race car also has a new look for season two. Combining DS’ and Virgin’s brand identities, the new luxurious design represents a dynamic integration of both the DS brand and Virgin’s colour schemes and maintains the distinctive red and chrome features from season one. The DS brand logo now appears proudly on each side of the car on a black background alongside fellow partner Hewlett Packard Enterprise, whilst the battery cover remains purple as in season one.
And it’s not just the outside of the car that looks different. Changes to the technical regulations have enabled teams, including Virgin Racing, to develop their own electric powertrains for season two. The team has chosen to redesign its powertrain significantly in order to increase efficiency, and in order to account for the increase in race power allowed in Season 2, which rises from 150kW to 170kW. This package was tested extensively in the pre-season and proved to be reliable, but it is difficult to predict how it will stand up versus the competition until all of the teams hit the streets in Beijing.
Additional changes to Fanboost, meanwhile, will give fans the chance to vote for Sam and Jean-Éric until six minutes into the race, providing a power boost of 100kJ of additional energy that can be used during the race.
Speaking ahead of the season opener, Sam Bird said, “To finish last season the way we did in London was really special, so I’m hoping that we can build on that and come into the new season with the same impetus. It was a great feeling to get on the podium in Beijing last year and I’ll be looking to go one, or hopefully two better this time around!”
Jean-Éric Vergne said, “I’m very excited to have joined Virgin Racing and I’m looking forward to getting things off to a positive start in Beijing. I didn’t race here last year so it will be interesting to get out on the track and experience another unique street circuit.”
Alex Tai, Virgin Racing Team Principal, said, “It is unbelievable how quickly a year goes by. This time last year, we entered into the relatively unknown world of electric racing, during the first season we learned a great deal and have developed strongly as a race team. I believe we have brought great talent into the team both on and off the track and adding this to the experience learned in the first year I feel confident we will deliver a strong performance in the coming season starting right here in Beijing.
Yves Bonnefont, CEO of DS Brand, said, “Following the announcement of our new partnership with Virgin Racing in June, it has been an exciting few months for the DS brand working towards our first race in Beijing. Having recently marked our 60th anniversary, it would be fantastic to celebrate this special landmark with a race to remember, particularly in China which is a very important market for us.”