Virgin will enter a team in the FIA Formula E Championship when the new global electric motor racing series kicks off in 2014, it has been announced.
The Virgin Racing Formula E Team will be headed up by team principal Alex Tai and has the backing of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson.
“I'm absolutely sold on the concept of Formula E and believe that it is a great fit for the Virgin brand,” said Tai. “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'.”
“The launch of the Formula E Championship is exciting news for racing fans but also for those that believe in developing the great electric cars of the future,” added 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.”
Formula E Holdings CEO Alejandro Agag meanwhile added that he is delighted to see Virgin join the fold, especially as it means just one slot now remains vacant.
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Richard Branson and the Virgin Team to Formula E and for them to have chosen the FIA's new zero emission series to make their return to top-flight motor sport," he continued. "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 [also] now means we just have one team left to announce before the grid for the inaugural 2014/2015 Formula E season is complete.”