Kamui Kobayashi will make his Formula E Championship debut with the Andretti team at next month’s Hong Kong ePrix 2017-18 season-opener.

The Japanese driver replaces British DTM racer Tom Blomqvist, whose appointment to the American team was announced less than two weeks’ ago.

The reason for the seat swap has not been made clear, however it would appear that possible demands from the team’s title sponsor, the Japanese insurance conglomerate MS&AD, may have had some influence.

Kobayashi, a former podium-winner in Formula 1, has carved out a successful career in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Toyota and in the Japanese Super GT series.

“I would like to thank to Michael, the whole Andretti Formula E team and MS&AD insurance for giving me this wonderful opportunity to race at the Hong Kong ePrix,” Kobayashi said.

“I will be going to the race weekend without testing, which is not an easy thing to be honest, but the team has been giving me all the support, so no worrying at all. I am really looking forward to having good races there.”

Team owner Michael Andretti added: “We are very fortunate to have a driver of Kobayashi’s caliber in the No. 27 MS&AD Andretti car to start the season in Hong Kong.

“He has shown what he can do in both Formula 1 and WEC, making Formula E a perfect next step.

“To partner one of the largest companies in Japan, MS&AD Insurance, with one of the most popular Japanese racing drivers, will be exciting to see.”

Hong Kong’s ePrix will take place on December 2-3.

Image via Andretti Autosport

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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.