Young New Zealander Nick Cassidy's motor racing career continues to get better.
Cassidy recently announced he's signed a deal with Formula E front-runners Envision Virgin Racing, in a multi-year deal starting with the 2020/2021 season.
Cassidy played a blinder when he had an opportunity to test for the team back in February at the Marrakesh E-Prix in what was his first drive of a Formula E car. The 25-year-old set a new lap record and ended the test on top of the time sheets by a considerable margin.
"The test in Marrakesh had been locked in from November last year," said Cassidy from Japan. "The team had said they wanted to run me in the test. I didn't think too much about it as there weren't any opportunities in the category.
"The test went really well. It was a Sunday I think and the test finished at 4pm and by 6pm I had offers from the team, which was incredible. Teams like to make their announcements in March but that got pushed back a few months because of Covid and Formula E season had stopped.
"The team might be small compared to some of the others as we are a customer team for Audi, but they have regularly finished inside the top three in the manufacturers' championship."
Cassidy, along with another hugely talented Kiwi racer Earl Bamber, was an early adopter in heading to Southeast Asia in pursuit of building a professional racing career. Cassidy made his move to Japan in 2015 after cleaning up the Toyota Racing Series in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Over the past five years the New Zealander has established himself as one of the most talented drivers around and completed the triple crown of Japanese racing: Formula 3, Super GT and the Super Formula championships.
Along the way he's also raced Speedway, Supercars, SuperTourers, Toyota 86s, Intercontinental GT Challenge, Blancpain GT Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Asian Le Mans Series and FIA Formula 3. With that much cross-category experience under his belt, it's no wonder he took to a Formula E car with aplomb.
"The cars are different to drive from anything else. In some ways I'm lucky that I was able to adapt quite quickly. I have driven a number of different cars during my career so that would have helped a little," Cassidy said.
"At the same time, I'm not underestimating the challenge ahead. The one-lap pace at the test was amazing. I'm expecting the one-lap speed when we start up next year will be okay, but race pace is something else and the really hard part.
"Even the engineers said to me your qualifying performance is mega, but in terms of race pace that's where the drivers earn their money. Fair enough, as that does makes sense and next year will be a steep learning curve."
The manufacturer-rich category differs from just about all other forms of motorsport where the drivers are picked, and paid handsomely, on their talent and not the size of the cheque book they bring. Formula E may be positioning itself as contributing towards saving the planet, but from a fan's perspective being able to watch 24 of the most talented drivers around going head-to-head is something to behold.
"Everyone on the grid is there on merit, so you can benchmark yourself against the very best drivers there are around," said Cassidy.
"It's a real top-notch lineup and I'm really looking forward to racing against them."
The 2019/2020 Formula E season resumes with three double-headers taking place on August 5, 6, 8, 9 and 12, 13, with all six races being held at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport. There were going to be three Kiwis racing next season, but with Brendon Hartley leaving GEOX Dragon, Cassidy will battle fellow New Zealander Mitch Evans.