Bird and Vergne confirmed at DS Virgin Racing for second Formula E season

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Sam Bird and Jean-Eric Vergne will race for DS Virgin Racing in the second season of the FIA Formula E championship.

Ahead of the first pre-season test on Monday at Donington Park in England, the British team has confirmed that Bird will be retained following a successful debut campaign in the electric series.

“Last season was a learning curve but one I thoroughly enjoyed, so I’m elated to be back with the DS Virgin Racing team for the 2015/16 season,” Bird said.

“We had two great wins last season in Malaysia and then at my home race in London, so the aim is to build on that success and have a fantastic second season in Formula E.

“The advancements to the car around the powertrain are really exciting so I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel shortly in Donington to get some good testing in before the first race in Beijing.”

Vergne joins DS Virgin after racing for Andretti in season one, scoring three pole positions and two podium finishes en route to seventh place in the final championship standings.

“I am delighted to be joining the DS Virgin Racing Team at such an exciting time for the team, and also for the series given the new regulations for season two,” the ex-F1 driver said.

“With the DS brand coming on board as a new partner to the team, I am looking forward to being aligned with a French, forward thinking marque. I understand that there are a number of exciting things going on behind the scenes that should ensure that we have a competitive start to the season.

“Looking back to my first race of last season where I qualified on pole, I am very excited to be getting back into a racing seat at the first race of the season in October.

“I am confident that my raw pace and appetite for success will help ensure that DS Virgin Racing continues to be one of the leading teams in Formula E.”

Vergne will replace Jaime Alguersuari at DS Virgin for season two after the Spaniard announced earlier this week that he would take no part in season two due to medical concerns.

The Frenchman’s arrival at the team also frees up a seat at Amlin Andretti. The American team is expected to run Simona de Silvestro in one of its cars for 2015-2016, with the second potentially being shared by other Andretti-affiliated drivers.

Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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