It was a fantastic start to NextEV’s campaign and marked the first FIA category championship victory for a Chinese team.
NextEV returned for the 2015/16 season with Piquet Jr and a full-season campaign for Oliver Turvey, who made his Formula E debut in London. Turvey had a strong start to finish sixth but the team had a challenging season, struggling to find competitive performance. Improvements were made each race, but Piquet was unable to retain his championship crown.
For 2016/17 NextEV returns with an all-new powertrain, the NextEV 700R, and the aim of reclaiming the championship title.
Having started his career in South American karting, he soon switched to car racing with immediate success, scoring championship victories in South American F3 and British F3. He raced in GP2 in 2005, finishing as runner-up in the series in 2006 after a season-long battle with Lewis Hamilton.
He graduated to a race seat in Formula 1 for 2008, helping the team secure fourth position in the constructors’ championship. He continued racing in Formula 1 into 2009.
From 2010 Nelson competed in NASCAR. He became the first Brazilian to win a top tier NASCAR race in the Nationwide Series and took further victories in the NASCAR Truck Series.
In 2014 he joined the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship, scoring four podiums in his first season, and was announced for the inaugural 2014/15 season of the FIA Formula E Championship. In the first season, Nelson took the overall championship title, lifting the trophy in London in June 2015, scoring race victories at Long Beach and Moscow.
2015/16 was a challenging season for the Brazilian in the FIA Formula E Championship and he had to forego his crown, finishing the season 15th. In 2016 he also competed in select rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship where he claimed two fourth-place finishes with team-mates Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld and Rebellion Racing and a prestigious class victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
In 2006, he won the prestigious McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award, which led to him making his Formula 1 test debut for the British team in 2009. He remains part of McLaren’s testing roster to this day.
In 2008, Turvey was runner-up to Jaime Alguersuari in British F3, which led to a season of Formula Renault 3.5, during which he won at Monaco. He was a winner in GP2 Asia and also competed in the GP2 main series. In 2012 he moved into GT racing with McLaren.
He currently races in Super GT and in sportscars in the LMP2 class and was the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours class winner for Jota, following this up with a second place in 2015.
He joined the FIA Formula E Championship for the final round of the 2014/15 season in London, impressing on his first time out, and was then announced as a full time driver for NextEV for the 2015/16 season. He got off to a great start with sixth overall at the season opener in Beijing and secured another two points-scoring finishes to place 14th in the driver standings.