Robin Frijns will make his FIA Formula E Championship return in 2018/19 season with Envision Virgin Racing team alongside Sam Bird, it has been announced.
Not only the British outfit revealed its new Gen2 car for Season 5, it also announced its new driver line-up with Bird continuing on for his fifth season while joined by Dutch racer Frijns, who makes his all-electric series return.
The 27-year-old made his Formula E debut with Andretti in the 2015/16 season and continued with the same outfit in the 2016/17 season. He was not retained for the 2017/18 season as he shifted his focus to GT racing and returns in 2018/19 now.
Frijns will replace Alex Lynn in the team. “I’m very excited to be returning to Formula E with Envision Virgin Racing,” he said. “It’s great to be joining such a strong team and with the work we’ve already completed, it’s clear we have a very good package.
“The live event at Silverstone has showcased all that the team can do and it’s great to be a part of that. We now look ahead to pre-season testing, where we’ll be able to better gauge our on-track performance.”
Formula E veteran Bird added: “It’s great to be remaining with the team for a fifth season. The relationship we have developed over the last 45 races has been incredible and I’m excited to see it continue to strengthen.
“Season five is a new era for every team – with the introduction of the Gen2 car – but particularly for us, as we are now joined by Envision Group. The team has worked tirelessly over the summer and are ready to return to the track for pre-season testing.”
The team parted ways with DS Performance and signed on with Audi as their new powertrain suppliers. A bigger change sees Envision Group becoming the team’s new majority owner as announced earlier in the year.
And so the team has been renamed as ‘Envision Virgin Racing’. The group’s founder and CEO Lei Zhang said: “We are incredibly excited to witness the Envision Virgin Racing team enter into the fifth season of Formula E.
“By taking part in this rapidly expanding racing series, we are provided with a format that allows us to share our enthusiasm for innovative technology, elegant design, smart mobility and high speed while showcasing the pure power of clean energy.
“Virgin Racing’s on-and-off track achievements in this championship so far have been extraordinary and we hope that the new Envision Virgin Racing Team, united by a shared passion for sustainability and motorsport, can continue building this team’s impressive legacy.
“The team will be guided by Mr. Franz Jung, the Vice President of Envision Smart Mobility and the Chairman of the Board of Envision Virgin Racing. With his rich experience in automotive industry as a former senior executive of German premium brands, I’m confident in the team for the coming season.”
The team’s managing director, Sylvain Filippi added: “We’re delighted to be collaborating with such an innovative, like-minded and sustainability-focused company like Envision Group. For us, Formula E has always been more than just a racing championship.
“It’s a chance to be truly innovative and help accelerate change towards a better future. As such, we’ve always been passionate about addressing the wider environmental issues and the reasoning behind our Race Against Climate Change programme.
“Now with Envision Group onboard, we feel we can strengthen this message even further. As well as Envision Group, I’d like to personally welcome Robin to the team, as well as thank Alex Lynn for all his hard work behind the wheel last season.”
The 2018/19 season officially kicks-off on December 15 with the Saudi Arabia ePrix in Riyadh. Prior to the season start, the pre-season test is scheduled for later this month at Valencia. Virgin is the fifth team to reveal its Gen2 car.
Formula E 2018/19 line-up till now:
Venturi: Felipe Massa & Edoardo Mortara
Jaguar Racing: Nelson Piquet Jr & Mitch Evans
Audi: Lucas di Grassi & Daniel Abt
BMW Andretti: Antonio Felix da Costa & Alexander Sims
Nissan: Sebastien Buemi & Alexander Albon
DS Techeetah: Jean-Eric Vergne & Andre Lotterer
Envision Virgin Racing: Sam Bird & Robin Frijns