NIO has confirmed that Ma Qing Hua will continue his role as the Chinese squad’s official reserve driver for the rest of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship season.
The 30-year-old held the same role throughout last season and was called upon to replace Luca Filippi at the Paris E-Prix last April and then Oliver Turvey in the season finale in New York City.
The former FIA World Touring Car Championship race winner first raced in Formula E in 2016 and 2017 when he made seven appearances for Team Aguri and, following the team’s restructure and name change, Techeetah.
Ma achieved a best result of 11th in the first race at the 2016 London E-Prix in before being replaced four races into the following season by Esteban Gutiérrez.
“I would like to once again thank NIO for the opportunity to return as the reserve driver for the NIO Formula E Team, in this increasingly popular EV racing series,” said Ma.
“It was a great pleasure working with the team in Season Four with many positive experiences from my two outings and I am now looking forward to the rest of Season Five with the new generation FE cars.”
Ma’s inclusion in NIO comes at the behest of the Chinese company which has a head office in Shanghai.
It is believed that the team’s Gen 2 testing program was undertaken largely by current race drivers Turvey and Tom Dillmann.
Former driver Filippi also conducted some days, while several other drivers including Nyck de Vries, Oliver Rowland, Loic Duval and Jake Hughes are also known to have been involved with the team over the private testing period.
“Ma is both a valued member of the race team and a key ambassador for motorsport in China,” commented team principal Gerry Hughes.
“He is already familiar with all the procedures in Formula E and at NIO and is therefore the right choice for the role of reserve driver. We are excited to have him back onboard.”