DS Virgin sign Lopez to partner Bird for season three


Jose Maria Lopez - Photo Credit: FIA WTCC
Jose Maria Lopez - Photo Credit: FIA WTCC

Jose Maria Lopez will partner Sam Bird at DS Virgin Racing next season.

The current FIA WTCC leader returns to single-seater racing for the first time in a decade, having already carried out some testing with the team on the season three car.

The Argentinian will replace Jean-Eric Vergne, who was announced as driving for the new Techeetah team earlier on.

Lopez has an impressive racing pedigree having dominated WTCC for the past three seasons. He won the 2014 and 2015 championships, and currently has a 101-point lead this year having secured six wins so far.

Prior to WTCC he raced for DAMS and Super Nova Racing in GP2, and was test driver for Renault Formula 1 team in 2006.

Speaking after the announcement Maria said, This is a really exciting move for me and I’m looking forward to the challenge of Formula E with DS Virgin Racing. 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.”

“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!”

Having been linked with a drive at the new Jaguar Formula E team, Sam Bird was also confirmed as staying at DS Virgin Racing for the 2016/17 season. The British driver won in Buenos Aires this year, and was still in the title race going into the London ePrix, before slipping back to fourth in the standings.

“This season has been another positive step forward and I really believe that DS Virgin Racing is going places,” Bird said. “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”

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

Alex Tai, DS Virgin Racing Team Principal, added, “I’m absolutely delighted to announce our driver line up for next season and to welcome José María to the DS Virgin Racing family.”

“Jose is a proven world champion who has performed at the highest level and shown great speed and consistency in every motorsport discipline that he has competed in. I have every confidence that he will be able to translate that success to Formula E.”

“He will join Sam who, over the last two years, has consistently proven himself to be one of the fastest and most talented drivers on the grid. I am confident the combined strengths of Sam, José and our team will be a winning formula within a series requiring high degrees of driver skill, consistency and hard work.”