Sam Bird has confirmed that he will miss the FIA World Endurance Championship race at the Nürburgring on July 16 in order to enter the inaugural New York Formula E round on the same weekend.
Bird was one of a handful of drivers forced to choose between commitments in WEC and Formula E after the series were unable to avoid a clash despite previously enjoying a gentleman’s agreement to not hold races on the same weekend.
Bird races with DS Virgin Racing in Formula E and with AF Corse in WEC, and previously hinted that a decision regarding the July 16 weekend would hinge on his result at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Alongside full-season teammate Davide Rigon and Le Mans addition Miguel Molina, Bird finished fifth in the GTE-Pro class in the No. 71 Ferrari 488 GTE at Le Mans and as the fourth-highest WEC entree.
Despite being just 14 points off the GT world championship lead, Bird confirmed on Monday that he would be missing the race at the Nürburgring to take part in the New York double-header, with races on July 15 and 16 in Red Hook, NY.
“With the first ever FIA-sanctioned motorsport event to be held in New York, Formula E is continuing to push the boundaries and break new ground, and it’s exciting to be part of that,” said Bird.
“I know we’ll put on a great show for the people of New York and I’m expecting big crowds to turn up on both days. Being a double race event, there’s a huge amount at stake for all the teams and the drivers so it’s definitely one to watch.”
Bird’s teammate for the New York weekend is still to be confirmed, with regular racer Jose Maria Lopez contracted to race for Toyota in the WEC at the Nürburgring on that weekend.
Reserve driver Alex Lynn is set to bail on his own WEC duties with G-Drive Racing in LMP2 in order to make his Formula E debut in New York, but DS Virgin team boss Alex Tai said that the team is still “assessing options”.
Formula E championship leader Sebastien Buemi is yet to formally confirm his absence from New York, but, like Lopez, he is contracted to race for Toyota at the Nürburgring on that weekend.