José María López will bring his record-breaking World Touring Car Championship career to a close at the end of the 2016 season to join the FIA Formula E Championship, as we reported last month.

The Argentine driver, who looks set to claim a hat-trick of WTCC titles this year, will partner British driver Sam Bird at the DS Virgin Racing team in the 2016-17 season.

“This is a really exciting move for me and I’m looking forward to the challenge of Formula E with DS Virgin Racing,” said López.

“I have already had some experience working with the DS Performance team on the season three car, so I am confident that we can achieve great things together next season.”

The move will end a ten-year absence from open-wheel racing for Lopéz; his last single-seater racing experience came in the GP2 Series with Super Nova Racing while also serving as a test driver for the Renault F1 team.

He was later announced as one of the USF1 team’s full-time drivers ahead of its debut in the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship season, but that evaporated when the team collapsed in the pre-season.

“José is a fantastic addition to DS Virgin Racing, he’s a world-class driver that has dominated WTCC for the past two seasons and is currently leading the ongoing season,” said Xavier Mestelan Pinon, Head of DS Performance, and the former technical head of the Citroën WTCC team.

“He has worked with us closely at DS Performance on our season three car. After gaining third position in the teams’ championship for our first year in Formula E, we believe that he and Sam will form a strong partnership and make it possible to fight for the overall championship next season.”

Image via FIA WTCC Media

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.