Early in the 2015 season, a tender was opened up by Formula Virtual CEO Nic Morley for teams to apply for the 13th grid slot, which was won by the US-based FIRST Motorsport. However, following the failure of Lucas to submit their re-application for 2016, it was rumored that a second new team would be joining the grid alongside FIRST. During the Canadian V-Prix weekend, the rumors came to an end as Morley announced that the vacancy would indeed be filled by a new team, and that team would be North Star Racing
”We are absolutely thrilled to have been accepted as part of the Formula Virtual grid for 2016,” Team Owner Nick Forrest told reporters. ”North Star has been competing in a number of other formula this year, and both we and Nic Morley feel that we are now able to take the step up to the premier series.”
”Our commiserations also go to those teams who applied for the spot but were passed over, we wish them all the best for this coming season, and hopefully we do see a few of them joining the Formula Virtual grid in the future.”
The announcement taking place at the Canadian V-Prix is also significant for the team, as they intend to continue their technical partnership with Canadian automotive company Magna International. ”Both myself and our Technical Director, Alan Hunt, were in Aurora on Wednesday to plan out a potential step up to Formula Virtual with Magna,” Forrest explained, ”We had planned to stay in Canada to enjoy the race with some of their guys, and as it happened we received the news from Nic between the two, so the timing couldn’t have been much better for us.”
BMW will also return to the Formula Virtual series to provide engines – which will then be tuned by Magna – to the newcomers, having last powered the AMR (then Force Australia) team in 2014. Magna is also understood to be providing gearboxes and electronics as part of the partnership.
Forrest was then asked if there was any hard feelings about initially missing out on the 13th grid slot, only to be accepted through the demise of Lucas. ”Not at all,” he quickly dismissed. ”We’ve been racing alongside FIRST in FV2 this season, they are a very well-built team, very strong, and they certainly deserve to be a part of the grid next year. I’m looking forward to racing with them once again.”
”Lucas, the situation is obviously quite disappointing, especially for Lewis and Emma, along with the staff and the pit crew. We can only hope for the best for all of them, and hopefully the drivers can remain on the grid.”
With North Star confirming their place on the 2016 grid, it now remains to be seen which drivers will race for them. We know that they will be using the numbers 9 and 10, however Forrest informed reporters that they will not be throwing any names around just yet, and that they will make an announcement when they are ready.
”Any speculation before that point is exactly that – speculation.”, finished Nick Forrest.