NextEV TCR have retained Nelson Piquet Jnr and Oliver Turvey for the 2016/17 season and beyond of Formula E.
Both drivers have signed multi-season agreements having played what the team describe as a ‘major role’ in developing next season’s challenger.
The new car completed 14 days of private testing at the hands of Turvey, Piquet Jnr and test driver Ben Hanley ahead of the first public test at Donington Park, which begins today.
They also announced the appointment of several new staff members, including Barry Mortimer from Team Aguri as Team Manager, and former Head of Vehicle Testing at the Fiat Group Paul Fickers joining as Chief Technical Officer.
The appointments have been made after a disastrous 2015/16 campaign which saw the team’s heavy and unreliable power unit restrict them to just a handful of points.
They are optimistic that they’ve made improvements though, and that they will be able to return to the front of the grid.
Team Principal Martin Leach said, “We are pleased with the progress made during private testing and are looking forward to continuing our extensive testing programme at this week’s test.”
“Our new powertrain, increased regeneration levels and technical upgrades have us set for an exciting season ahead. Our team has further been strengthened with the appointment of new members, as we move into the next phase of NextEV’s involvement with Formula E.”
“We believe we have the strongest driver pairing in the series and, with both drivers having contributed to the development of the new car, we are confident that we will be at the sharp end of the grid once again.”
Despite rumours linking him with a move away from NextEV, inaugural champion Piquet Jnr stated that he is looking forward to continuing with the team.
“With NextEV fully committed to the Formula E programme, I believe that the team has a very strong long-term future. I am happy to be continuing to race with the team that I won the world championship with, and we are looking forward to being able to fight for victories again next season.”
“We have come off the back of a challenging season, but that meant we learnt a lot and we are stronger for it. I’m very happy to be racing alongside Oliver again.”
Turvey also said that he was happy to be staying with NextEV. “I am delighted to be able to continue racing for the NextEV Formula E Team. They gave me my first opportunity in the series so I am excited to continue the journey together with the team.”
“I would like to thank Martin Leach and the whole team for putting their faith and support in me to be part of the NextEV future. I learnt a lot in my first full season and have taken this experience into the summer testing to work with the team on developing the new car.”
“The team and I have similarly high ambitions for the season ahead and we will work hard together to achieve them.”