Issue: Dec 2013


VIRGIN TO ENTER FIA FORMULA E CHAMPIONSHIP



British-based team becomes ninth entry as 2014/2015 grid nears completion

by Esther Francis

Virgin, one of the world's most recognised and respected brands, have today announced it will be entering a team in the new fully-electric FIA Formula E Championship after signing an agreement with series promoters Formula E Holdings.

Based in the UK, the Virgin Racing Formula E Team will be headed by Team Principal Alex Tai and has the backing of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson. Both have been involved in a number of pioneering technology projects in aviation, space and more recently racing.

“The launch of the FIA Formula E Championship is exciting news for racing fans but also for those that believe in developing the great electric cars of the future,” said Sir Richard Branson. “The need to create fast, dependable and durable race cars will help to accelerate the sector and showcase electric cars to a large global audience. With races around many famous city centres, I am expecting a lot of spectators, plenty of fun and some sparks flying as the competition hots up.”

Virgin will now be put forward to the FIA for final approval as the ninth of ten teams to enter the new zero emission championship, racing in 10 city-centres around the world. They join IndyCar outfits Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing, Asia’s China Racing, Super Aguri and Mahindra Racing, and European squads Drayson Racing, e.dams and Audi Sport ABT.

Team Principal Alex Tai said: “I’m absolutely sold on the concept of Formula E and believe that it is a great fit for the Virgin brand. The accessible nature of the series with its races being right in the heart of our great cities, should create a wonderful atmosphere.

“The drive to develop new technology appeals to Virgin, which has always been a pioneering organisation. I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in a number of such activities over years, from the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer to Virgin Galactic activities that push technological and human boundaries and capture people’s imagination.

“We have hugely exciting plans and over the next nine months will be revealing new parts to our story on a regular basis, so I’d ask fans and the commercial world alike to ‘watch this space.’”

Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin is a leading international investment group which has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors ranging from mobile telephony, travel, financial services, leisure, music, holidays and health and wellness.

Alejandro Agag, CEO Formula E Holdings, said: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Team to Formula E and for them to have chosen the FIA’s new global electric race series to make their return to top-flight motor sport. Having a global brand like Virgin, renowned for their technological innovation and sporting passion, as one of our ten teams is a fantastic addition to the championship and shows their commitment to sustainable mobility.

“Today’s announcement now means we just have one team left to announce before the grid for the inaugural 2014/2015 Formula E season is complete.”

For more information on the FIA Formula E Championship visit www.fiaformulae.com. For more on what Sir Richard Branson thinks visit his blog at www.virgin.com/richard-branson

About FIA Formula E Championship:
Formula E is a new FIA championship featuring Formula cars powered exclusively by electric energy. It represents a vision for the future of the motor industry over the coming decades, serving as a framework for research and development around the electric vehicle, accelerating general interest in these cars and promoting sustainability. Commencing in September 2014, the Championship will compete in the heart of 10 of the world's leading cities - including London, Beijing and Los Angeles - racing around their iconic landmarks. For the inaugural season, 10 teams, each with two drivers, will go head-to-head creating a unique and exciting racing series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fan. Operating as an 'open championship', the series gives car manufacturers and constructors the opportunity to showcase their electrical energy innovations in a racing environment, designing cars to the technical specifications set out by the FIA.

About Virgin group:
Virgin is a leading international investment group and one of the world's most recognised and respected brands. Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors ranging from mobile telephony, travel, financial services, leisure, music, holidays and health & wellness. Virgin employs more than 55,000 people, operating in over 50 countries. Global branded revenues of £15bn ($24bn) in 2012. www.virgin.com


FIA & Michelin: Today’s partners for tomorrow’s mobility:
As well as being the official Formula E tyre supplier, Michelin is an official partner, at the international level, of the FIA Action for Road Safety campaign. This program is designed to support the Decade of Action for Road Safety initiated by the UN, the aim of which is to save five million lives over the next ten years. This program is set up to educate and advocate for safer roads, vehicles and behaviours around the globe.

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