Nick Cassidy has described replacing Sam Bird at Envision Virgin Racing as a “daunting” prospect although the Kiwi is confident in his abilities ahead of his Season 7 Formula E debut.
The 25-year-old was named as Robin Frijns’ 2020/21 team-mate at the Envision Virgin squad yesterday as part of a multi-year deal in which he replaces Bird who, in turn, has moved to Jaguar Racing to replace James Calado.
While having limited experience in Formula E after only participating in March’s Marrakesh Rookie Test, the Kiwi has secured an impressive racing record in recent seasons, taking the Japanese Super Formula crown in 2019 and winning the Super GT championship in 2017.
Looking ahead to his debut next season as the present campaign reaches its conclusion in Berlin this August, Cassidy explained that he never expected to race in Formula E and that the work ethic of the Envision Virgin team proved to be highly influential in his arrival:
“I’ve followed Formula E since the beginning but never thought my career path would take me there,” he said.
“I’ve achieved so much here in Japan and ticked so many boxes that it feels like it’s time for a new challenge and when the chance to test came up it was a great opportunity.
“I had such a great test with Envision Virgin Racing in Marrakesh, but signing with them wasn’t just about pure performance; it was about how the team communicated and worked together, and with these guys I just had a very good feeling.”
Holding a 100% starting record in Formula E, Bird is one of only three drivers to have contested every round of the championship to date and at present, is the only driver to win at least one race in every season.
With the departure of the British racer, Envision Virgin, therefore, loses one of the most experienced names in the championship and with nine victories and 18 podium finishes, also loses one of the series’ most successful.
In replacing the driver who has been part of the outfit since Formula E’s inaugural campaign in 2014, Cassidy admitted that taking Bird’s place at the team is daunting, although the Kiwi is confident in his own abilities for when Season 7 arrives:
“I have huge respect for Sam, and he’s achieved great things in Formula E,” added Cassidy.
“My goal is to try and do a similar job. Formula E is going to be a huge challenge and one not to be underestimated. It’s a little daunting but I have confidence in myself.
“Robin [Frijns] and I have never raced before but he’s a great driver and a great reference to learn from.”
Envision Virgin Racing currently holds seventh in the Formula E Teams’ Championship with 39 points having notched one victory thus far, trailing present leaders DS Techeetah by 59 points and powertrain supplier Audi by seven.