SamJamieBird is one of the most versatile British racing drivers, successfully competing in various racing competitions.
Formula BMW UK runner-up
This Englishman, born on 9th of January, 1987, in Roehampton, Greater London, started his racing career in karting. He had impressive success across Europe which allowed him to get a scholarship to race in the first season of Formula BMW UK in 2004. Driving for Carlin Motorsport, Bird earned only 22 points to finish 14th overall. In the following year he moved to Fortec Motorsport and scored six wins and another six podium finishes. Sam finished the season as a runner-up, collecting a total of 218 points. At the same time, he was nominated for the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year.
Bird stayed in the series for another year and again drove pretty well, scoring four wins and seven podium finishes, what was enough for the fourth place in the final standings.
Sam Bird in the early days of his career
Various results in different series
In 2007, Sam Bird switched to British Formula 3 again as a driver of Carlin Motorsport. Two wins and 10 podiums from 22 starts secured him the fourth place in the championship. That was his only season in the series as he moved to Formula 3 Euro Series. Driving for Manor Motorsport, Bird wasn’t impressive as he was 11th at the end of the season. Another team change occurred in 2009 when he became a driver for Mucke Motorsport. Starting in 18 races of Formula 3 Euro Series, Sam slightly improved his form and finished 8th overall but without a victory in that championship.
Bird was a test driver in Formula 1
In parallel, Bird held testing duties for Williams F1 team in 2008 and 2009, focusing on straight-line aero development. He eventually joined forces with Mercedes for the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi in 2010.
Sam Bird, Mercedes young drivers test, 2010
Sam moves to GP2 Series
GP2 Series was Bird’s next stop. Driving for the ART Grand Prix team, he had a very good rookie season – one victory in Italy and four finishes at third position brought him fifth place in the Drivers’ championship. For the 2011 GP2 Series campaign, the English driver moved to the iSport International team and began the new season very well, clinching podium places in the opening three races. Later in the season he scored points often, but it was only enough for a sixth place in the championship.
Sam Bird, Russian Time, GP2 Series
Stint in Formula Renault
The year of 2012 probably was the turning point of Bird’s career. He finished third in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series after taking two wins and seven podium places, but at the same time, he acted as the Mercedes Formula 1 team test driver. He learned a lot and picked up much experience for 2013 in which he has returned to GP2 Series.
Video : Bird's comeback in the GP2 race in Barcelona
Five wins weren't enough for thee crown
Driving for the Russian Time team, Sam Bird almost took the title. After five wins and six podiums, he earned 181 points but unfortunately that wasn’t enough for the title as Fabio Leimer collected 20 points more and became the champion. That same year, Sam became the winner of the Pirelli Award for the Best Tyre Management and the winner of the BRDC Graham Hill Trophy.
Sam Bird with the Pirelli award, 2014
Formula E and endurance racing
Those successes opened many new doors to Bird in 2014. He debuted in the FIA World Endurance Championship with the AF Corse team, driving a Ferrari, but without any respectable results. Sam also appeared in some USSC races and competed in the inaugural season of FIA Formula E championship, driving for Virgin Racing and scoring two wins. He finished fifth in the championship, establishing himself as one of the best drivers in the series.
Sam Bird celebrates victory at Buenos Aires ePrix
Sam Bird’s best year so far definitely was 2015. He successfully continued competing in Formula E, but he really shined in the WEC. Driving for G-Drive Racing, Sam became a champion in the LMP2 class after winning four out of eight races. The same year, he was second in the LMP2 class at 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Without a doubt, the best is still to come from Sam Bird in both endurance and open-wheel racing. It was announced that he will remain the FIA Formula E Championship for the 2016/2017 season and will drive alongside the three-time WTCC champion Jose Maria Lopez.