Sam Bird and Jaguar TCS Racing sign a new contract extension ahead of the first race of Season 8.
Season 8 may not have begun, but Sam Bird has already secured his future with Jaguar TCS racing by signing a multi-year contract extension.
The team and driver pairing enjoyed a successful season 7, their first year together, with Bird taking two race wins in Diriyah and New York. He also enjoyed a further podium finish in Rome. These results, alongside the efforts of his teammate Mitch Evans, helped the team to secure 2nd in the championship.
It was undoubtedly a successful first season together and this contract extension shows that Jaguar is confident Bird is the right man to continue this success. It will provide a huge boost to all parties so close to the first race of Season 8.
The exact length of the contract has not been confirmed, however it means that Sam Bird will enter the new Gen3 era, in Season 9, as a Jaguar driver.
Bird stated “My first season with Jaguar TCS Racing told me everything I needed to know – I wanted to continue to be a part of the Jaguar TCS Racing family.”
He added that “The whole team is determined, focussed and ready to get results and that’s exactly who I want to be working with. Now it’s time to get season eight underway and ensure we put all our off-season practice and learnings into action to score as many points as possible.”
This sentiment was echoed by the Team Principle of Jaguar TCS Racing, James Barclay. “It is a really positive start to Season 8 as we confirm Sam Bird will continue his electric racing career with Jaguar TCS Racing after a great first season with the team. Sam’s results from last year demonstrate he fits in extremely well here at Jaguar TCS Racing, shares our goals and is very much part of the family.”
Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird finally got his championship campaign underway by claiming his first win this season in a penalty-prone Santiago ePrix yesterday. Despite the temperatures soaring and making the ePrix the hottest on record, Bird managed to remain cool and claim victory after poleman Sebastien Buemi crashed out on a degrading track, holding off Pascal Wehrlein’s late challenge to send the British team to the top of the constructor’s standings.
Lucas di Grassi was the first driver to make an impact at the top of the qualifying standings, only to be superseded by Buemi moments later. Techeetah and BMW failed to make an impact as the track conditions began to improve, leaving those in the first group out of the coveted superpole positions. However, it was Mahindra’s Wehrlein took first blood in the initial part of qualifying by snatching provisional pole, ahead of Buemi, di Grassi, Bird and Abt. Stoffel Vandoorne too claimed a small victory in the shape of HWA and his first appearance in superpole, slotting in P4.
Abt was the first to take to the track in superpole and his super clean lap enabled him to set the bar at 1.08.958. Vandoorne followed, however, his lap was overshadowed by the fact that HWA failed to get the Belgian out of the pits on time, rendering his lap void. Bird struggled in the climbing temperatures to slot into P3 before di Grassi showcased a master lap around the Santiago circuit to post a time of 1.08.290. Buemi and Wehrlein had no answer to the Brazilian, claiming P2 and P3 respectively. Despite the dominant display in qualifying, di Grassi had his pole revoked after a braking infringement on his cool-down lap which sent him to the back of the grid and promoted racing rival Buemi to pole position.
Buemi started well, holding the lead ahead of Wehrlein and Abt, who was superseded by Bird moments into the race for P3. However, the soaring temperatures proved difficult for the new Gen 2 cars with Tom Dillmann grinding to a halt a few laps in, presumably due to battery issues. Buemi was the first of the leading pack to deploy his attack mode in an effort to pull away from a charging Bird. The midfield battle too continued to heat up as Oliver Rowland and Felipe Massa duelled for the last points paying position.
Current champion Jean-Eric Vergne had a race to forget. A lowly qualifying session had placed the Frenchman in the middle of the pack and a bizarre incident between himself, his teammate Andre Lotterer and Antonio Felix da Costa left him out of the race. Da Costa’s nightmare also continued after his tangle with teammate Alexander Sims in Marrakesh as his BMW surrendered to the climbing temperatures, forcing him to retire later in the race.
Maxi Gunther stopped on the track, forcing the race’s first full course yellow, whilst Lopez spun after contact with di Grassi. Vandoorne’s hopes of HWA’s first points crumbled as the Belgian slowed on track just after the attack mode area, having made contact with the wall. As the full course yellow period ended, Bird and Wehrlein continued to pressure Buemi and with eleven laps from the end, the Nissan driver made contact with the wall and subsequently lost the lead. He limped back to the pits with suspension damage preventing him from participating further. Bird inherited the lead and held off a chasing Wehrlein for the remainder of the race to claim his eighth career win and the first of the season for Envision Virgin Racing. Wehrlein claimed his first Formula E podium in only his second race, followed by Daniel Abt who was promoted to P3 after Sims was given a penalty for contact with Edo Mortara.