top of page

The Rise and Rise of Nick Cassidy Across Motorsport Series

Updated: Mar 1

Written by Vyas Ponnuri, Edited by Ishani Aziz

Image credit - Pascal Della Zuana/Icon Sport via Getty Images

“What do we say guys?’’, “That was mega '', exclaimed Nick Cassidy, as he took the chequered flag to win the Monaco E Prix. He’d climbed to the top of the Formula E standings, having been on the top step of the podium for the second race in a row.

Ever since Cassidy’s slow start to the season, the Envision Racing driver has come out guns blazing, finishing on the podium in five of the following six races, including two victories at Berlin and Monaco. Cassidy’s stellar rise, coinciding with Pascal Wehrlein’s struggles, has seen the New Zealander vault to the top of the standings, and by a rather large margin, considering the close nature of the Formula E grid this season.

The Kiwi has been a championship-winning machine across motorsport, having won a plethora of local racing series, apart from his Super GT and Super Formula titles in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

Cassidy’s motorsport pedigree has been visible ever since he started out in karting. Born in Auckland, he started karting at the age of six. His dad was a club racer in their hometown, and encouraged Cassidy to take up the path of motorsport. Cassidy was also an avid Formula One fan during his childhood, and aspires to drive in Formula One even today.

Cassidy’s karting career speaks volumes of his pedigree in motorsport. He won as many as 10 karting series during his time at the grassroots of motorsport. He became the youngest winner of the North Island Sprint Kart championship at the age of eight, in 2003, before going on to win another title a year later.

At the age of 10, he switched from cadet karts to Junior Restricted karts, achieving yet more success. The youngster from Auckland then won almost every karting series he competed in. It was during his karting days that Cassidy developed a strong bond and friendship with fellow Kiwi Mitch Evans, one he maintains even today as they race in Formula E together.

Cassidy began racing in Formula series in 2008. Sabre Motorsport, a local racing organisation, spotted the youngster’s talent across the karting world, and gave Cassidy his big break into single seater racing.

The New Zealander remained in karting until 2010, though, before moving to the Toyota Racing Series (TRS) for Giles Motorsport in 2011. He was declared Rookie of the Year in 2011, having finished runner-up to his good friend Mitch Evans in 2011. Cassidy took seven podiums that season, apart from two race wins across the season finale weekend in the series.

His moment of triumph wouldn’t be far away though, as Cassidy followed up a strong rookie season by winning the title in 2012. In fact, it was a season of dominance for him, as the gap to the runners-up that season was almost 200 points. He also finished no lower than eighth across the season, which is a testament to his consistency in motorsport, a trait of his driving even today. Cassidy followed up his glorious 2012 season with another similarly dominant display in 2013, winning the title yet again.

Credits - Toyota Racing NZ

He returned for a one-off appearance at the New Zealand Grand Prix in 2014, taking a hat trick of wins at the event, stretching back to 2012. This was a feat achieved only once before, by Craig Baird from 1991 to 1993. During the year, Cassidy also started races in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, and the Eurocup Renault 2.0.

In 2015, Cassidy moved from his hometown Auckland, to Japan, in order to further his motorsport career. He took part in the Japanese Formula 3 Championship in 2015, winning the title in his rookie season. His consistency once again shone through. Cassidy also made an appearance in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, albeit without much success.

However, the next year, a more successful season would follow, as he finished fourth for Prema Powerteam, with eight podiums from 30 races. He played support to the financially-stronger Lance Stroll during the season. Cassidy continued his endeavours in Japan, and won the Super GT in 2017 for TOM’s Racing, while also finishing his debut season of Super Formula in 10th. The following year brought more success, Cassidy finishing runner-up in both series.

Cassidy in Super Formula; Image credits - Super Formula

2019 could be considered as Cassidy’s breakthrough year. Another runner-up in Super GT followed, as he narrowly missed out on the title once again. However, he managed to achieve the Japanese “Triple Crown” that year, winning the Super Formula series in his third season. Cassidy also toured the globe in 2019, making solitary appearances in DTM as well as IMSA.

However, the best was yet to come. It was in the same year his talent and racing prowess was spotted by a famous Formula One team. His signing by Red Bull flew largely under-the-radar. It was only after the race at Motegi, when Cassidy impressed in front of Red Bull Driver Academy boss Dr Helmut Marko, that the former was signed into the academy.

Cassidy’s mental strength also paved the way for his success, as he’d brushed off seasons of uncertainty and low budgets to make it this far. Cassidy was also signed by Envision Virgin Racing as a test driver during the ongoing Formula E season.

He stepped up to replace the outgoing Sam Bird in 2021, and had a decent outing that year. Cassidy finished 15th in the standings, but in such a tightly-contested Formula E season that year, was only 23 points off eventual champion Nyck de Vries. Of course, being his first season in the electric racing series, he was still getting into the groove, and adapting to the energy-saving nature of the Formula E cars.

Cassidy’s sophomore season in Formula E brought more rewards, alongside more responsibilities. His season got off to a slow start, but the weekend in New York City was a turning point. Cassidy took pole position for both races during the weekend. He converted pole to victory in race one, as a late downpour induced chaos towards the end of the race. He was slapped with a 30-place penalty for the second race for changing his car’s battery, and thus couldn’t make much headway in the race.

As part of his links to Red Bull, he was slated to drive in DTM in 2021 alongside fellow Kiwi Liam Lawson, who was in Formula 2 that year. Cassidy continued in the series in 2022, this time in a permanent seat, alongside teammate Felipe Fraga. Cassidy also competed in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and made an appearance in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans too, finishing sixth in the GTE-AM class.

This season, Envision Racing dropped the “Virgin” sponsorship from their name, and switched from Audi to Jaguar powertrains. Formula E veteran Sebastian Buemi replaced the ABT Cupra-bound Robin Frijns.

After another slow start, Cassidy took charge of his season, finishing on the podium in five of the last six races. His ability to bounce back from poor qualifying sessions became a major factor of his driving, as he won back-to-back races from lower grid spots in Berlin and Monaco. His consistency and resilient run, coupled with others’ misfortunes saw Cassidy surge to the lead of the drivers’ standings, and by some margin to the rest.

Despite a tough weekend at Jakarta, Cassidy still remains in championship contention, as he sits only six points off championship leader Wehrlein in the standings. He will be looking to bounce back when Formula E heads stateside next time out, for the Portland E Prix.

With momentum on his end, and prime position in the standings, Cassidy will look to continue at the helm of the standings, and seal his maiden world championship in the electric series, thus adding to his burgeoning collection of wins in motorsport.

Image credits - Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment

Further success could even see Cassidy head to other motorsport series such as IndyCar. And this move can’t be ruled out, as Cassidy tested Alex Palou’s title winning 2021 Ganassi-Honda in early February. Cassidy is keeping his options open for 2024 as well. Having expressed his interest and delight for IndyCar, we could even see the Kiwi racing Stateside in 2024, maybe even for a top team.

He has been a loyal customer to the teams he’s raced for in the past, having raced at TOM’s in Japanese racing series for six years, and is now into his third year with Envision Racing. And in the same vein, Cassidy would be looking to pen a long-term contract in his next series.

Cassidy too expressed interest in IndyCar, following his test in February:

“I really liked the IndyCar, I think the championship’s really cool, and I like longer races, the refuelling, having to deal with dual tire compounds, and so on. But I’ve got to assess my options and everything’s open, so I’ll have to wait and see. I’m really lucky where I am at Envision, we look really competitive, and the championship’s strong.”

Cassidy has been an accomplished racer all through his racing career, and his resume certainly speaks volumes of the talent he possesses. One can expect his stock to rise even further in the near future, as he continues to add to his ever-growing collection of motorsport silverware.


bottom of page