Sam Bird, Jaime Alguersuari named to Virgin’s Formula E team (VIDEO)

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One driver who missed the F1 call for now and one who is the youngest driver to have ever started an F1 race will race for a team owner who at one point was both a sponsor and a team owner in F1.

That’s Sam Bird, Jaime Alguersuari and Sir Richard Branson, respectively. The three are together with Branson’s new Virgin FIA Formula E team, as the team’s driver lineup for the inaugural all-electric championship was revealed Tuesday.

“Jaime and Sam are young yet experienced drivers and fantastic guys off the racetrack to boot,” Branson said in a statement released by the team. “I’m delighted to welcome them both to the Virgin Racing family. Jamie has demonstrated speed and talent at the very highest level whilst Sam is a proven race winner. I am sure they will be a formidable force on the circuits, let sparks fly!”

Added Bird, “Formula E is going to be a brilliant experience and I can’t wait to get started on what will be an exciting new challenge in my career. I know I’m going to be driving the latest in electric vehicle technology and I’m looking forward to testing myself around the streets of some of the world’s most amazing cities.”

And Alguersuari, “I’m thrilled to be driving for an organisation like Virgin. I’m going to be driving for a great team with a wealth of experience and I can’t wait to get out on the streets and put these cars to the test.”

Recent driving experience for the two of them is a bit varied. Bird has made it into sports cars, racing a PC class ORECA FLM09 for Starworks Motorsport in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, and also a GTE-Am class Ferrari F458 Italia for AF Corse in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Alguersuari, meanwhile, has done some Pirelli tire testing but hasn’t been on the F1 grid since 2011.

FE teams are starting to reveal their lineups for the championship that begins in September, and these are two talented shoes for one of the squads. Here’s a video put together by the team of the two drivers meeting each other.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.