British driver Ben Hanley makes his Formula E debut in the Berlin ePrix, as NEXTEV’s Oliver Turvey honours prior commitments in the Super GT Championship, after renewing his factory deal with Honda.
Turvey, currently enjoying a successful debut season in Formula E, and outperforming reigning champion Nelson Piquet, also competes in the Super GT category for Drago Modulo Honda Racing. Turvey’s contract with the Honda predates his move to the all-electrics series, as NEXTEV principal Steven Lu addressed.
“We don’t want to say ‘you have to drive for us’,” Lu said. “[Oliver] helps us a lot and we want to give him the opportunity to go for Super GT, because that’s part of the original deal from before.”
NEXTEV, currently languishing at the bottom of the team standings, have chosen fellow-Brit Ben Hanley as Turvey’s stand-in. The 31-year old racer, a former Renault F1 junior, has considerable experience, including Formula Renault 3.5, GP2 series, Euroseries 3000, and the Superleague Formula. Despite his single-seater career stalling in 2009, Hanley has recently taken titles in FIA karting categories, and will race in LMP2 in the European Le Mans Series, for Dragonspeed.
“Formula E has grown to be one of the most exciting racing Championships, and I’m looking forward to racing against some of the best drivers in the world,” Hanley said. “The technology in Formula E is very different to any other racing series, so it will be a challenge to get to grips with a very unique type of car, but I will be giving it my all.”
“We are delighted to welcome Ben to the team for the Berlin race,” NEXTEV President Martin Leach added. “Ben has an impressive race history in both karting and single-seaters and we are confident that he is the perfect driver to fill in for Oliver. Although it is Ben’s first experience of racing in Formula E, we are confident that he has the right skills and attitude to do a good job for the team.”
The Berlin ePrix sees a new track added to the Formula E calendar, with Tempelhof Airport unable to host the event, as it did in the series’ inaugural season. The race takes to the streets of the capital on Saturday, April 2nd.