Envision Virgin Racing welcomed Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Dan ‘The Outlaw’ Hardy at the team’s Silverstone headquarters to meet British racing driver Sam Bird and complete a ‘job swap’ for the day.
The pair started with an introduction to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) from Hardy, where Bird gained an understanding of the disciplines – both mental and physical – required to become a professional athlete in UFC. With the Formula E Gen2 cars as their backdrop, the duo completed a sparring session which introduced Bird to a variety of techniques used by the fighters.
Explaining more of the technology and innovation involved in Formula E, Bird showed Hardy the Gen2 car up-close. The Race Against Climate Change is the core purpose of the independent team and Bird explained how the team are going above and beyond to be the greenest team on the grid.
Moving to the team’s start-of-the-art simulator, Hardy had the opportunity to jump into the driving seat and test his skills on the Berlin E-Prix track. Coached by Bird, the MMA fighter took to the circuit apprehensively but quickly picked up a variety of techniques from the experienced Formula E driver and continued to drop his lap time.
Sam Bird said,
It was great to welcome Dan to the workshop, I learnt a lot about UFC and hopefully can incorporate some of the sparring techniques into my everyday workouts. Getting him into the simulator was amazing – it’s safe to say that we’ve got very different body types. We both discussed how both the mental and physical aspects of both of our careers are very similar, but I think we’ll both be sticking to our day jobs!