Nissan, one of the world’s foremost automakers, this week announced that it would take on the Le Mans-based e.dams team that it had partnered with since it joining the series in 2018 – outlining the move and taking full control of its Formula E project as its “next natural step” in motorsport.
The Japanese manufacturer made clear its long-term commitment to the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship and Gen3 last year. Formula E’s Chief Executive Officer Jamie Reigle sees the brand’s doubling down with the acquisition of e.dams as the perfect complement to and validation of Formula E’s vision heading into the Gen3 era.
READ MORE: Nissan acquires e.dams
“Over the last two years we have set out to create the conditions for Formula E to be an integral platform for manufacturers committed to an electric future,” said Reigle. “This required a concerted effort to ensure the championship is a leader in multiple areas.
“First is the sport itself; electric racing in the heart of some of the most iconic cities in the world – exciting, intensely competitive entertainment anchored in sporting integrity where the world’s biggest manufacturers pit themselves against one-another. Second, the technology platform to allow a leader like Nissan to demonstrate its development nous and ingenuity. Third, the stage of the most iconic cities in the world. And fourth, the purpose beyond the sport to showcase that electric racing can trigger positive action in the fight against climate change.
“Formula E is seeking manufacturers with a genuine commitment to accelerate the shift to electric mobility, with Nissan among the biggest proponents of this shift as pioneers and market leaders. We want manufacturers with racing DNA who see motorsport as a platform to push development cycles and drive innovation – Nissan, and NISMO, is just that.
“Nissan’s commitment is a powerful validation of our approach. Nissan has the scale and ambition to change the course of the industry. As a global manufacturer it can deploy huge development and marketing resources in all the key markets for Formula E.”
Nissan's sporting focus, and its EV vision
Nissan’s sporting history stretches back more than eight decades. Formula E is its present and long-term competitive focus – testament to the contribution the manufacturer feels the world’s foremost electric racing series can make as it accelerates its drive for zero emission, sustainable mobility.
“Nissan’s vision for cars goes far beyond simply modes of transport,” said Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer back in March, when the company signalled its Gen3 intent. “We aim to design and build electric vehicles that transform the way communities connect and move and inspire us all to work towards a sustainable society.
"For Nissan, Formula E helps us bring excitement, energy and the environment to the forefront as we deliver this vision of the future to an ever-growing, new, young and diverse audience.”
After the announcement of its next leap in Formula E, and the takeover of e.dams, Gupta added: “These are exciting times for all of us at Nissan, our fans and customers everywhere. We learn as we race, and the relentless pace of technological progression that drives Formula E will provide us with many opportunities to inform and develop even better cars for customers.
“The acquisition of the e.dams team not only reconfirms our long-term commitment to Formula E, but also to the exciting, high-performance world of motorsport competition as a whole. We not only love to compete but we’re passionate about delivering innovative and exciting driving experiences while demonstrating our commitment to zero emission and sustainable solutions. This acquisition will further empower us in the strategic electrification objectives of our business.”
The Driot legacy
e.dams, under the management of the Driot family and in partnership with Renault, sealed the first three Formula E Teams’ titles, helping Sebastien Buemi to the 2015/16 Drivers’ Championship and counts a best finish of second spot overall since joining forces with Nissan.
Under the late, legendary Jean-Paul, and later Olivier and Gregory Driot, e.dams were among the first teams to enter Formula E, and have since been one of the championship’s most successful operators.
“They were early believers in Formula E with a demonstrated commitment to the championship,” says Reigle. “The Driots and their team helped shaped the strategic direction of the championship while providing objective and yet passionate support – not only as a team but as a steward of rules and regulations as well as developer of driving talent.
“When the history of Formula E is written, those most committed early on will be remembered and Driot family are a pillar in this regard.”
Olivier and Gregory are set to hand over the reigns of e.dams to Nissan, following the acquisition. The pair said they could think of no better custodians for the race team they built for competition in Formula E, which has long provided and will continue provide a strong basis for a global automotive manufacturer’s efforts in top tier, FIA World Championship motorsport.
“We are very proud to hand over the e.dams team to such a committed and innovative company as Nissan,” said the Driots in a joint statement. “We’ve had several open discussions in recent months with Nissan and we decided that it was the right time for them to take the reins and continue the legacy of our family and secure the long-term future of the employees.
“Since the passing of our father, it’s been an honour for us to partner with a global brand such as Nissan in Formula E and we are proud of what we have achieved together. We would like to thank all the e.dams staff for their hard work and commitment over the years and we wish Nissan all the very best for the remainder of Season 8 and beyond.”
Cost cap key
Discussions behind-the-scenes on Gen3's framework - from sporting regulations to the underlying technology and a cap on costs - between the FIA, Formula E and its teams and partners have been longstanding but fruitful.
“I am convinced that in addition to tech transfer, a global activation platform and world-class competition, Nissan sees long-term value for its business in Formula E competition thanks to the impending financial regulations we’ve worked so hard to enact. These provide clarity on the cost side to ensure the investment profile is sensible for entrants,” said Reigle.
Published on 14th April 2022