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DS Virgin confirm their season three line-up


As the second season of the FIA Formula E Championship finished with a phenomenal finale over the weekend, all eyes are now on teams to confirm their driver line-ups for season three. The third season of the all-electric motorsport series will start in October, racing around the streets of Hong Kong with the sport’s debut in the city.

One of many teams to confirm their driver duos are British team DS Virgin Racing. Fan favourite and three-time ePrix winner Sam Bird will remain with the team for a third season, in addition to WTCC star José María López, whom we shall welcome to the sport. Lopez, who will be making his first on-track Formula E appearance, called the move ‘exciting’ and confirmed he had already had some familiarity with the season three car, working with the DS Performance team.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of Formula E with DS Virgin Racing,” Lopez said in a statement this morning. “As a championship, Formula E is going from strength to strength and I’m particularly looking forward to going back to Buenos Aires where the team had such great success last season. I have already had some experience working with the DS Performance team on the season three car, so I am confident that we can achieve great things together next season.”

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] “At the start people doubted [Formula E] what it was going to be and I think it has exceeded the expectations of everyone. Drivers like to race and this is proper racing.” [/pullquote]

For many the move of Lopez to DS Virgin came as no real surprise. Lopez, who has been racing with Citroen since the start of the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship, was to be out of a drive at the end of the current touring car season. Citroen, who has had great success in the championship since the manufacturer made its debut full-time in 2014, decided that its long-term commitment will be with the World Rally Championship and not the WTCC.

His involvement in the motorsport series has seen Lopez crowned as a double WTCC World Champion, with current standings favouring him as this season’s champion too.

The link of DS Virgin and Citroen placed the Formula E Championship as a likely career path. The 33-year-old already has a strong relationship with the team, visiting them as a guest in Buenos Aires earlier this year and even had a seat fitting in ex-driver Jean-Eric Vergne’s DSV-01 on the Saturday morning due to Vergne suffering from food poisoning. Fortunately JEV was passed fit to drive and completed the race, finishing in 11th.

Talking about a possible transition into Formula E back in February, Lopez answered, “In the future, why not? It is something I like because of the level of the drivers. There are a lot of drivers I know and they race in very nice cities.”

Lopez has also had experience in single-seater racing, winning the Formula Renault Italian Championship in 2002 and Formula Eurocup FR V6 title in 2003. Lopez also raced in GP2 in 2005 and 2006, taking home a win in his first season.

This DS Virgin press release also confirms that Sam Bird is to spend a third season with the team, a move that seemed evident as Sam confirmed only last week he had another year with the team.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“This season has been another positive step forward and I really believe that DS Virgin Racing is going places,” Sam stated. “We showed consistent pace in the second half of the season and if we can convert that into more race wins, then we should have a car that is capable of challenging for the championship next season.[/pullquote]

“I feel at home with the team and really can’t wait to see what next season has in store.”

This new line-up has also been released as former DS Virgin driver Jean-Eric Vergne confirms his place at the newly-branded Techeetah Formula E team for season three. Techeetah, formerly Team Aguri, published news today that the Frenchman would partner Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua for the 2016/17 season.


Main image and Bird image courtesy of Rajan Jangda

Lopez image courtesy of WTCC Media