New Zealand will have two racers in the 2020-21 Formula E championship.
Former Super GT and Super Formula champion Nick Cassidy has joined Envision Virgin Racing while series stalwart Mitch Evans remains at Panasonic Jaguar.
The bad news for the series is that BMW have followed Audi in announcing they are leaving at the end of the 2020-21 season. Having one manufacturer leave is manageable, but having two of the biggest motoring names in the world pull the pin will rock the category, organisers and owners.
There was a fair amount of scepticism when the series launched in 2014-15, which was not helped when drivers had to change cars halfway through a race because the batteries wouldn't last throughout.
Getting that sorted helped improve the racing, and there's been an entertaining amount of wheel-banging going on. However, for many traditional motorsport fans the cars still looked and sounded like electric go-karts.
Audi's decision to leave is interesting. Unlike VW's recent decision to exit all forms of motorsport including electric events like Pike's Peak, Audi are heading back into the World Endurance Championship in the new Le Mans Daytona hybrid class where the new car will also be eligible for the American IMSA series.
Audi had been technical partner with the ABT team and recently developed their own new powertrain for their e-tron FE07 car. They will still have some skin in the game as a supplier of powertrains, and will honour their customer deal with Envision Virgin Racing, so Cassidy's seat is safe for the foreseeable future.
The Dakar Rally will fill the void of Formula E where Audi are developing an all-electric e-tron SUV to take on the rally in 2022.
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Sitting under the Volkswagen umbrella, this news follows the axing of the Audi DTM, Audi WEC LMP1, Audi World Rallycross and, along with Audi World Touring Car Championship programmes, VW have exited the World Rally Championship and WTCC.
Two days after Audi's announcement, BMW said they'd had enough of Formula E. The German manufacturer had been deeply involved in Formula E for seven years and having such a high-profile company on the grid helped raise the series' profile.
Raising a motor racing profile wasn't of any concern for BMW, they wanted to use the category as a research and development platform to better understand how to improve their road cars.
According to the BMW, they now have all the information and know-how they can get from racing a single-seater car. There's only so much that's transferable from track to road.
Formula E didn't do itself any favours by restricting the amount of experimentation within the category and over-regulation — similar to what has been happening in Formula 1. The result for F1 is its viewership has been tanking for years. Formula E can't afford any drop in viewership as it has a small fan base anyway.
Andretti Motorsport will feel the pinch as they are the factory-nominated team in Formula E and will be without a partner after the 2020-21 season.
In an interesting twist to the announcement, Andretti driver Maximilian Gunther was fastest in pre-season testing at Valencia on the final day. Evans was fifth fastest, with Cassidy in 13th. The opening race of the season is in Santiago on January 16.