Sam Bird given permission to drive in Formula E New York double-header

Sam Bird has been given permission by Ferrari to miss the Nurburgring round of the World Endurance Championship (WEC), to participate in Formula E's first-ever visit to the streets of New York City.

FE will head to New York on July 15th and 16th for a double-header of e-Prix, but a scheduling clash sees the WEC racing in Germany at the Nurburgring on the Sunday.

Bird, who was released from his commitments driving the #71 AF Corse Ferrari entry, will race the DS Virgin Racing car in Brooklyn.

He said: "I know we'll put on a great show for the people of New York and I'm expecting big crowds to turn up on both days. Being a double event, there's a huge amount at stake for the teams and drivers, so it's definitely one to watch."

The double-header is the "first ever FIA sanctioned motor sport event to be held in New York" and Bird praised FE's decision to take the sport to new cities, in this the third season.

"Formula E is contiuning to push the boundaries and break new ground, and it is exciting to be part of that" commented the former Mercedes Formula 1 reserve driver.

However, things aren't so lucky for Bird's team-mate Jose Maria Lopez.

Toyota are refusing to release Argentine Lopez from his LMP1 factory drive, meaning he will be forced to drive in Germany.

Official Virgin reserve Alex Lynn will take the seat, having already driven the car in Mexico earlier this season.

Buemi to also miss New York

Championship leader, and reigning FE champion, Sebastian Buemi will also be forced to miss the double-header in the United States for similiar reasons to Lopez.

Buemi is also a factory LMP1 driver, team-mates in the #8 Toyota, alongside Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, and Toyota have refused to release Buemi as he continues his bid to retain his title.

He currently leads the standings by 32 points from Lucas Di Grassi, with only one round left, a double-header in Montreal at the end of July after New York.

Swiss racer Buemi is expected to be replaced by Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly to partner Nico Prost for Buemi's absence.