One Champion, One National Hero: DS Virgin Racing Feeling Bullish Ahead Of Buenos Aires By: DS Automobiles
◾DS Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird is a returning champion, having won the Buenos Aires race last year
◾Local fan favourite, three-time WTCC World Champion and DS Virgin Racing driver Jose Maria Lopez is the sole Argentinian Formula E driver
◾ 'A track that represents the best parts of Formula E' – Sam Bird
Buenos Aires ePrix on 18 February. Jose Maria Lopez, as the only Argentinian in the FIA Formula E Championship, approaches this race spurred on by knowing that he will have the local crowd firmly behind him. Meanwhile, driver Sam Bird has form at this track having won a thrilling contest in Argentina last season and now enters the Buenos Aires ePrix in season three fresh off the back of a second place finish in the previous race in Marrakesh.
After a break in the calendar punctuated by the virtual eRace in Las Vegas in early January, our drivers return to action in a country holding a special connection for each.
Jose Maria Lopez, as the only Argentinian in the series, is a firm local favourite ahead of race day. 'I'm getting a lot of media asking me how I'll perform in Argentina, it being my home country. Well, I have the team, and I have the car, so I think I have as good a chance as anyone out there on race day. I'm just excited to go out and race in front of my fans!'
As part of his homecoming, Jose Maria Lopez will be taking part in a street parade between el Teatro Colon and the Legislatura de la Ciudad on the Wednesday ahead of the race.
During a press day at Virgin Group's London HQ last week, Sam Bird said, 'It's a great race for drivers and better still, a great day out for spectators. After my win there last season, I'm hugely excited to get back to Buenos Aires to try and repeat the feat.'
The Buenos Aires track itself is a unique proposition. Now in its third year with Formula E, it's the fastest track in the series – with speeds of up to 130mph (210km/h) achievable into turn one. Sam Bird used this to his advantage last year, clocking a time of 1.09.43 in qualifying that won him pole position. Offering a full five straights along its 1.5mile (2.48km), 12 turn, counter-clockwise layout, it's a track that represents the best of Formula E. There's a winning combination of a city centre location, short track length and plenty of overtaking opportunities. DS Virgin Racing's Testing & Development driver Alex Lynn joins the team in Buenos Aires, lending additional expertise to the garage. Lynn joined Lopez and Bird in DS Performance's simulator in Satory recently, where the trio underwent an intense period of sim testing to prepare for Buenos Aires.
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'DS Virgin Racing really are fully charged ahead of Buenos Aires,' said Team Principal Alex Tai. 'In Marrakesh Sam podiumed, in a car our fantastic mechanics had rebuilt literally minutes before the race commenced. Pound for pound, Sam is one of the best and most experienced drivers in Formula E, whilst our newcomer Jose Maria Lopez offers enormous potential, and I look forward to seeing him demonstrate his capabilities in front of his home crowd.'
The Buenos Aires ePrix takes place on Saturday 18 February at 4pm local time (-3 GMT). It will be broadcast live on Channel 5 in the UK and locally on Fox Sports Latin America.
For more information on the DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team, please visit www.ds-virginracing.com.