Can't hack it in Formula One? That's all right, because the Formula E championship seems eager to accept the rejects. Of the ten teams that will take part in next year's inaugural season of electric racing, series organizers have now announced nine. And like several others, this latest team briefly campaigned in F1.

That team, of course, is Virgin Racing, which competed in F1 as an expansion team for two seasons before selling out to Marussia. During those two seasons, the Virgin Racing team failed to score a single championship point, let alone a podium finish or a win. The team will be run by Alex Tai, the same guy who initially ran the F1 operation. But Virgin isn't the only team to sign on to the new electric racing series that once had Formula One aspirations.

Super Aguri used to compete in F1 as well, and three-time world champion Alain Prost (co-founder of the E.Dams team) fielded his own F1 team for five seasons. The other teams include China Racing (a former A1GP team), Dragon Racing and Andretti Autosport (which both compete in the IndyCar Series), automaker-backed efforts Audi Sport Abt and Mahindra Racing and electric motorsport startup Drayson Racing. Expect the final team to be announced shortly.
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VIRGIN TO ENTER FIA FORMULA E CHAMPIONSHIP
British-based team becomes ninth entry as 2014/2015 grid nears completion

LONDON, UK (5 December, 2013) – Virgin, one of the world's most recognised and respected brands, have today announced it will be entering a team in the new fully-electric FIA Formula E Championship after signing an agreement with series promoters Formula E Holdings.

Based in the UK, the Virgin Racing Formula E Team will be headed by Team Principal Alex Tai and has the backing of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson. Both have been involved in a number of pioneering technology projects in aviation, space and more recently racing.

"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," said Sir Richard Branson. "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. With races around many famous city centres, I am expecting a lot of spectators, plenty of fun and some sparks flying as the competition hots up."

Virgin Racing will now be put forward to the FIA for final approval as the ninth of ten teams to enter the new zero emission championship, racing in 10 city-centres around the world. They join IndyCar outfits Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing, Asia's China Racing, Super Aguri and Mahindra Racing, and European squads Drayson Racing, e.dams and Audi Sport ABT.

Team Principal Alex Tai said: "I'm absolutely sold on the concept of Formula E and believe that it is a great fit for the Virgin brand. The accessible nature of the series with its races being right in the heart of our great cities, should create a wonderful atmosphere.

"The drive to develop new technology appeals to Virgin, which has always been a pioneering organisation. I've been fortunate to have been involved in a number of such activities over years, from the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer to Virgin Galactic activities that push technological and human boundaries and capture people's imagination.

"We have hugely exciting plans and over the next nine months will be revealing new parts to our story on a regular basis, so I'd ask fans and the commercial world alike to 'watch this space.'"

Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin is a leading international investment group which has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors ranging from mobile telephony, travel, financial services, leisure, music, holidays and health and wellness.

Alejandro Agag, CEO Formula E Holdings, said: "It gives me great pleasure to welcome Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Racing Team to Formula E and for them to have chosen the FIA's new global electric race series to make their return to top-flight motor sport. Having a global brand like Virgin, renowned for their technological innovation and sporting passion, as one of our ten teams is a fantastic addition to the championship and shows their commitment to sustainable mobility.

"Today's announcement now means we just have one team left to announce before the grid for the
inaugural 2014/2015 Formula E season is complete."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      Dave D
      • 1 Day Ago
      So, Noah, why are you being such a douche? Lots of teams have come and gone over the years and Formula E is a good chance to jump into an up and coming series while the playing field is level. But if you want to be a douche, then you should also make fun of everyone who goes to Le Mans or Indy....because they aren't in F1 as well. So, the bottom line is that if you're going to be a DOUCHE, then at least be equitable about it and don't go onto a site dedicated to green and pick on the only series trying to make electric work in racing...you DOUCHE.
        kmdk78
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Dave D
        Noah I don't think Dave D. is happy with your commentary!! Aside from the "D" word he's correct. This is not objective journalism, frankly, it's not journalism. I am a big AB fan but this article doesn't say much for the editorial review process.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Day Ago
          @kmdk78
          'Editorial review process?' Who dat? Here? You CANNOT be serious!
      DaveMart
      • 1 Day Ago
      No sound to compete with Formula One, admittedly. But how good will it be to see racing on city streets around famous landmarks, instead of on the comparatively sterile environment of a race track! Monte Carlo has long been about the most popular race, precisely because it takes place on city streets.
        Dave D
        • 1 Day Ago
        @DaveMart
        Hey DaveM, I'm in London for a couple of days and wanted you to know I PERSONALLY ordered up this nice, sunny weather for my stay. You're welcome LOL
        Ryan
        • 1 Day Ago
        @DaveMart
        I bet there will be some sound.
        kmdk78
        • 1 Day Ago
        @DaveMart
        NOAH JOSEPH European Editor Noah Joseph came to automotive journalism after several years as a public affairs consultant. Multilingual, a multinational citizen and military reservist, he reports from the shores of the Mediterranean and from locations around the world. Noah has written for numerous print and online publications, but got his start right here back in 2006 and has always considered Autoblog his home. NOAH JOSEPH European Editor Noah Joseph came to automotive journalism after several years as a public affairs consultant. Multilingual, a multinational citizen and military reservist, he reports from the shores of the Mediterranean and from locations around the world. Noah has written for numerous print and online publications, but got his start right here back in 2006 and has always considered Autoblog his home. Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to RSS
      Ryan
      • 1 Day Ago
      Has Tesla started up a team yet?
      danfred411
      • 1 Day Ago
      Well it's a lame series and it should be F1 waking up, but with enough well funded teams I suppose it could maybe make a minor difference. I fear it will flop still. No tv coverage, no viewers, old timers wont get the no sound thing. But I guess some things start small and slowly. It would just be so much better if F1 did it. But I guess it's yet another area where we the righteous have to toil long and hard to wake up the idiots. Sigh. I just had a frustrating email exchange with the biggest danish used car sales website. I realized that Tesla wasn't even on the list of brands yet and the super morons justified it with that they didn't figure that electric cars was a big enough market. As if adding a brand name to the list was a significant strategic decision for them. I deal with the stupidity that is mankind all day every day so I should be familiar with the scope of superstupidity but this still baffles me. I'm a genius and I'm at a loss to fathom how they can be that stupid. It's one thing to be so stupid that you don't think EVs will amount to much, but to categorically refuse to list EVs for no reason whatsoever. And they have Reliant and KTM on the list of car brands.. and Simca. And Kinroad... The facepalm is too strong on this one. I can only laugh in madness.
        Dave D
        • 1 Day Ago
        @danfred411
        Here in the US, I believe Fox has picked up the rights and wants to put it on their new FoxSports1 network to compete with ESPN. I'm hoping that means we will actually see all the races here in the States. I'm surprised by your experience with the guys who don't want to list Tesla yet. I thought Tesla was fairly popular in your "neck of the woods" as we American rednecks like to say. Lastly, I can't believe you made a less offensive comment than I did, down below. I must really be working hard at it today LOL
      kenc29
      • 1 Day Ago
      "That team, of course, is Virgin Racing, which competed in F1 as an expansion team for two seasons before selling out to Marussia. During those two seasons, the Virgin Racing team failed to score a single championship point, let alone a podium finish or a win. The team will be run by Alex Tai, the same guy who initially ran the F1 operation." Really? I thought Virgin got their name on Manor Motorsports' team, but never paid a cent. Virgin's involvement was practically nil, and I never heard of Alex Tai running the team.