Formula E’s newest addition to the 2021 grid, Nick Cassidy, says joining the all-electric series was never at the forefront of his mind after testing with the Envision Virgin team back in March.
But after the young Kiwi re-set a new unofficial track record on the Marrakesh circuit during the rookie test and was then offered a full-time seat for next season, the opportunity was too good to refuse.
“I wasn’t going to the [Marrakesh rookie] test with the objective of getting a race seat straight away – I viewed it as using the experience to learn the car, to think about Formula E in the future [and] if it was to ever come up, I would be in a better position having had some knowledge,” Cassidy told Inside-Electric.
Caissdy had spent most of the last half of the decade competing in Japan in both the Super GT and Super Formula Championships.
Having claimed titles in both, Cassidy says that he felt he already accomplished everything he could in Japan, fuelling the decision to take up a new challenge with Formula E.
“I was in a position in Japan where, in a strange way, I had kind of achieved everything I could,” he said.
“I had to decide did I want to keep doing the same thing every year or challenge myself, and for sure the safe option would have been to stay there. The series is still going well, it’s still all good there, but it’s the easy option.
“I wanted to put myself against the best in what’s become one of the world’s leading championships. When the offer came after that Marrakesh rookie test, I jumped at it.”
Despite having a wealth of single-seater experience expanding from the Toyota Racing Series to Super Formula, Cassidy believes that knowledge counts for little now that he is in a race series which requires an entirely unique skillset.
“[Formula E] is so different; I am not going to lie.
“The push laps come pretty naturally to me, it’s driving a race car as fast as you can. Managing the race seems very different and I’m just struggling for experience now, to be honest.
“I think that’s going to be something I’ll get better and better at through the year. I think everyone can drive fast in a race, but how to position yourself in the right way and position yourself better than others – you need a bit of knowledge from the past to get the most out of that.
“I still think I can do a good job, but that’s an aspect is so different to any other part of my career.”
Cassidy’s next time in the car won’t be until the season-opening race at Santiago on January 16.
He will form part of a three Kiwi line-up this year, with Mitch Evans returning with Jaguar for a fifth season and Tom Blomqvist making his full-season debut with NIO 333.