MS Virgin Racing's Sam Bird Claims Victory in the Inaugural New York City Formula E Grand Prix.
On this date in history the British race car driver Sir Stirling Moss won his first Formula 1 ePrix race. July 16th, 1955. On July 16th, 1970, British Home Secretary Reginald Maudling declared a State of Emergency as striking dockworkers shut down England’s ports. And, on July 16th, 1897, the first all-electrically powered train made its inaugural test run along New York's Erie Canal powered only by two General Electric GE-57 motors.
Above: Sam Bird on his way to a second victory in the inaugural Qualcomm NYC ePrix. Photo: Warren Rosenberg
How fitting then that on July 16th, 2017, on a dormant New York City dock, British race car driver Sam Bird captured the first all-electric Formula E Grand Prix race to be held in the former colony. His victory on Sunday completed his two day sweep of the inaugural NYC ePrix, part of the international Formula E Grand Prix circuit with stops in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Marrakesh, Monaco, Montreal and Paris as well as New York. Bird needed no help from Team MS Virgin Racing’s reserve driver, Sir Richard Branson who was on hand throughout the weekend but wasn’t needed behind the wheel.
Above: Sir Richard Branson watches his driver sweep both races of the Qualcomm NYC ePrix. Photo: Warren Rosenberg
Powered by a Virgin DSV-02 electric motor, the MS Virgin Racing Team’s Spark-Citroen won today’s race from the pole although not without a fight from Mahindras’ Felix Rosenqvist with whom Bird swapped the lead during the 49 lap contest. Rosenqvist finished second, 11.381 seconds behind. Rosenqvist’s Mahindra Racing teammate, Nick Heidfeld finished third and Bird’s MS Virgin Racing teammate Alex Lynn dropped out after 30 laps.
Above: Race preparations underway in the MS Virgin Racing garage. Photo: Warren Rosenberg
The FIA Formula E Championship is the world's first fully-electric single-seater racing series, competing on the streets against the backdrop of some of the most iconic cities - including Hong Kong, Marrakesh, Buenos Aires, Monaco, Paris, New York and Montreal. The championship represents a vision for the future of the motor industry, serving as a platform to showcase the latest innovations in electric vehicle technology and alternative energy solutions. Future seasons will see the regulations open up further allowing manufacturers to focus on the development of motor and battery components, which in turn will filter down to everyday contemporary electric road vehicles.
The 2016/17 FIA Formula E Championship sees 10 teams and 20 drivers go wheel-to-wheel in nine cities spanning five continents in the fight to be crowned Formula E champion. The inaugural season of Formula E sparked into life in September 2014 around the grounds of the Olympic Park in Beijing. The third season of the electric street racing series started on October 9 in Hong Kong, with the season finale double-header taking place in Montreal on July 29 & 30.
Look for full coverage in our summer wrap-up issue of MetroSports Magazine.
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