After a brief and somewhat unsuccessful stint in Formula One that ended in 2011, Virgin has decided it’s time to go racing once again. This time, however, Virgin is focusing on the new Formula E Championship.
Virgin’s Formula E team, to be called Virgin Racing, is awaiting final FIA approval as the ninth of ten teams to enter the new electric car racing series. Based in the U.K., the team will be led by Alex Tai, who serves as team principal and is backed by Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin.
"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," Branson said in a statement. "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.”
Other teams confirmed for Formula E include IndyCar outfits Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing; Asia’s China Racing, Mahindra Racing and Super Aguri; and European squads Drayson Racing, e.dams and Audi Sport ABT.
All teams will use a common chassis known as the Spark-Renault SRT_01E. Peak output of the cars will be roughly 200 kilowatts (270 horsepower). The top speed in the series is limited to 140 mph, in order to preserve battery life. A single charge is expected to see the cars race for between 20 and 30 minutes, which means each driver will have two cars since the driving range of each car only covers half of the hour-long races.
The ten Formula E teams will compete in ten races in the inaugural season. Each of the races will take place in a single day, including qualifying and the actual race.