Nick Cassidy has confirmed he has inked a multi-year deal with Envision Virgin Racing for next season of the ABB Formula E Championship.
As reported by Velocity News earlier in the week, the incumbent Super FORMULA champion will partner Dutch racer Robin Frijns in the seat left vacant by the outgoing Sam Bird who yesterday confirmed he will join the Panasonic Jaguar team.
Cassidy competed with the team at a rookie test in Marrakesh in March where the 25-year-old set a new lap record and comfortably topped the timesheets.
He is widely praised for his versatility and natural talent to adapt to a myriad of different motorsport disciplines, having completed the ‘Triple Crown’ of Japanese motor racing by claiming titles in Formula 3 (2015), Super GT (2017) and, more recently, a maiden Super FORMULA championship last year.
Envision Virgin are one of the more accomplished teams in the all-electric formulae, having been in the series since its inception and has claimed ten race wins with a best overall finish of third on three separate occasions.
The deal puts Cassidy, an often-overlooked racer whose talent is quietly bandied about to be worthy of a Formula 1 drive. The Aucklander joins Mitch Evans as the other Kiwi confirmed for next season while Brendon Hartley is set to re-sign on for another season with GEOX Dragon.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to be joining Formula E and Envision Virgin Racing from next season,” said Cassidy.
“The team is one of the most successful on the grid, have a great set-up and facilities, and have continually impressed me since I joined them for the rookie test back in March. All drivers know the depth and quality of the field in Formula E is among the best in the world, so it is great to be adding my name to this roster.
“Racing in Japan has been an amazing experience and I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to achieve so much in a short space of time, but I feel it’s now time for the next challenge in my career and I’m very much looking forward to doing that with Envision Virgin Racing and Formula E.”
While the team remain coy on the exact length of Cassidy’s contract, the deal will likely be until at least the end of the Gen2 regulations in 2022 after which manufacturers are yet to firm their commitment to the Gen3 era of car.
But Envision Virgin Managing Director Sylvain Filippi admits Cassidy’s position in the team ensures the British outfit’s long-term success plans.
“As a team, it is always important to look ahead to ensure our long-term success,” said Filippi.
“In Nick we know we have a very ambitious, capable driver with raw talent, speed and race craft, as well as an impressive track record for his age.
“Moving to become a world championship next season, we know Formula E is going to be as competitive as ever, but from his short time with us we are confident – together with Robin Frijns – we have two drivers that can compete at the sharp end to win championships.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020/21 Formula E season has been revised to run entirely across 2021 with the opening race slated for January 16 in Santiago and concludes in London on July 25.
Ultimately, the delayed start to the season means a Japan-domiciled Cassidy will be able to see out his current Super FORMULA and Super GT campaigns, the latter kicking off this weekend at Fuji Speedway.
The 2019/2020 Formula E season will resume with three double-headers taking place on 5 & 6, 8 & 9 and 12 & 13 August, with all six races staged at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport.