Spacecraft pilot Alex promises an electrical storm as Virgin drivers Sam Bird and Jose Maria Lopez go for pole in Monaco
ALEX TAI is definitely one man with the need for speed – and he believes Formula E has all the shock value to accelerate straight to the top.
Trusted as one of Richard Branson’s closest lieutenants, his ambition is to literally reach for the stars.
He is due to pilot the first Virgin Galactic spacecraft when it finally comes into service.
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However, first he is concentrating on making DS Virgin Racing the dominant force of the electric racing world.
Speaking exclusively to SunSport ahead of Saturday’s Monaco E Prix, the former Formula 1 Virgin Racing chief spoke of the reasons why he believes his latest venture has all the shock value to be a success.
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Tai said: “It takes time for people to understand it and People often compare us to F1.
“I used to run an F1 team and I still love it.
“Formula E is another form of motorsport and open wheel racing.
“The difference it has is that this is the technology of the future.”
The 50-year-old continued: “We believe in the future that everyone should be driving an electric car.
“The power available now by electricity is a lot less expensive and better for the planet than driving diesel or petrol cars.
“This is the kind of technology that car manufacturers will be using and we are getting a lot coming in and using this as a place to test that and race each other.
“The technologies from this is being transferred into the cars that you and I might drive in a few years time.
“In F1 those technologies have stopped.”
Tai added: “The other great thing is it’s much closer racing.
“We don’t try and develop aerodynamic solutions. Here it’s just about the drive trains, the motor, the gear box and everything that drives the car.
“The competition is a lot closer and you find that you are unlikely to know who will win when you turn up for a Formula E race, where you do when you watch F1.
“So it’s a lot more exciting to watch. The overtaking is a lot easier, you are racing in the heart of the city, it’s a lot less expensive for fans and it’s the future.”
Born on an RAF base in Germany, it seemed that Tai was always destined to be an adrenaline junkie.
After a career as an RAF pilot he then went to fly the supply plane for Sir Richard’s ballon attempts.
That was the start of a close bond between the pair – leading to his potential space adventure.
And despite all he has achieved in his career, Tai is showing no signs of slowing down, and he is keen to keep his and DS Virgins engine running.
He added: “Virgin Galactic is something I’m very proud of and yes I would love to fly that spaceship.
“This is a great place for me to be waiting until I jump into my spaceship.
“I’m cruising along as fast as I can go at the minute and I don’t want to get off.”
DS Virgin Racing will have British driver Sam Bird and Argentine Jose Maria Lopez behind the wheel fighting for pole position in Monaco.