Sam Bird

Sam Bird appeared on the karting scene in 2002, racing competitively in events across the UK and Europe and subsequently won a scholarship to race in the inaugural season of Formula BMW in 2004 with Carlin Motorsport. He ended the year with three wins and finished runner-up in the rookie standings. Sam remained in Formula BMW for a second season and finished as championship runner-up.

After a number of seasons progressing through Formula Renault and Formula 3 with multiple race victories, Sam held testing duties for Williams F1. He eventually joined forces with Mercedes F1 for the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi and was named as their Reserve Driver for the 2011 season. Sam competed in World Series by Renault in 2011 and the following year in GP2, he secured the teams’ title for new team Russian Time.

During the 2012 season, Sam continued with the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team helping in team testing and went on to achieve third place in the World Series by Renault with I.S.R Championship. In 2013, Sam was the named the Reserve Driver for the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team. Sam also attained five wins and six podium finishes for team Russian Time in the GP2 series.

In the 2014/15 season, Sam accomplished a podium finish in the FIA World Endurance Championship with AF Corse Ferrari, and during the Tudor United Sports Car Championships, broke the Lap Record during the Daytona 24 Hours. During the same season Sam participated in the FIA Formula E Championship with Virgin Racing where he achieved two wins, including a home win at the London ePrix, finishing fifth in the championship overall. Bird is racing for DS Virgin Racing for a third season in the 2016/2017 championship. In his second season Sam continued to impress by gaining more pole positions on the grid than any other driver, one which lead to a spectacular win in Buenos Aires.

It’s always exciting going into a new championship. We’re going into Season 3 better prepared than we’ve been before, and with better equipment than we’ve ever had previously, so I feel confident as a result that we’re entering into this new start fully race ready.

Image of Sam Bird
Image of Jean-Eric Vergne

José María López

After early racing success in Argentina, José-María López crossed the Atlantic at the beginning of the 2000s. Having started out in karting, he made a successful transition into single-seater racing, winning the Formula Renault Italian Championship in 2002 in the process beating Robert Kubica. Stepping up a level again, he secured another title in Eurocup FR V6. ‘Pechito’, as he is known to his friends, then turned his attention to TC2000, the Argentinian touring car championship. In his first year, 2007, he won three races. The following season, he claimed the title, which he retained in 2009. That same year, he also dominated Top Race V6 and finished second in Turismo Carretera. In 2012, he notched up a third Super TC2000 crown.

In 2013, he tried his hand at the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). Pechito showed transferable skills when coming fifth in his first race and managed to cause a sensation by winning his second. This success sparked interest from Citroën Racing, who enrolled him in their team to drive one of their C-Elysée WTCCs. To say Pechito lived up to the hopes of the team would be something of an understatement, having rewarded the faith placed in him by securing three WTCC World Championships, the most recent coming in August 2016.

As a racing car driver he is known for being quick and consistent with a transferable skill set and Pechito is now trying his hand at something new… Formula E! Along with Sam Bird he will spearhead DS Virgin Racing’s efforts in Season 3 of the FIA Formula E Championship.

This is a new challenge for me and expectations are high: I’ve come from a different series with 3 world championship wins. To me though, that means little. I’m starting from scratch, I have to prove myself and I’m happy to have a great team around me in DS Virgin Racing. I’m looking forward to getting started and working my way up, building on every single race.


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