This weekend will see the long-awaited start of the Extreme E season and the entire motorsport world is looking forward to the season opener in Saudi Arabia with great anticipation.
There are many familiar faces who are drivers or team owners. And to know how Extreme E slowly became bigger here comes the history of the teams in the new electric series.
HISTORY OF THE TEAMS:
The first team to sign up was actually Venturi in May 2019. However, the Monegasques, who have been active in Formula E since the beginning, quietly withdrew in September 2020 and relinquished their place. The second racing team to sign up for Extreme E was the VW Group’s tuning forge in Kempten, Germany, ABT Sportsline. With the later entry of partner Cupra, the team finally gave itself the name ABT Cupra XE.
Veloce Racing actually comes from the e-sports sector. The French venture is supported by Formula E double champion Jean-Eric Vergne and Adrian Newey. The latter, for his part, joins as director of business development. Veloce’s management team also includes Daniel Bailey (Commercial Director), Jack Clarke (Marketing Director), Rupert Svendsen-Cook (Sports Director) and Carl Gurdjian (Press Officer).
In March 2020, Spanish company QEV Technologies joined the electric series. Through its subsidiary Campos Racing, QEV has had a connection to Formula E since late 2014, as the team conducted operations at the track for China Racing/NextEV in Season 1. Campos then worked with Mahindra until summer 2019, after which it returned to the now-renamed Nio 333 team. In the course of the driver announcement, the racing team ultimately renamed itself Acciona | Sainz XE Team.
Andretti Autosport signed up for Extreme E about a month later. In the summer of 2020, the team teamed up with the British racing team United Autosport and will consequently compete in the off-road series as Andretti United Extreme E. Just two weeks after Andretti, the second traditional US racing team, Chip Ganassi Racing, also committed to racing in Extreme E. The team is led by entrepreneur and ex-racing driver Chip Ganassi and has made a name for itself in the past with eight victories at the 24 Hours of Daytona and four Le Mans successes.
In September 2020, two new teams were introduced at once. Techeetah XE, also a familiar name from Formula E, took Venturi’s place. However, three weeks before the start of the season, the team announced its withdrawal. Team X44, founded by seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, also made a surprise entry into Extreme E. The team’s name is based on the race number 44, which Hamilton has worn for many years in racing. The Briton will not be piloting the “Odyssey 21” racing buggy himself, but he will take responsibility as founder at the racetrack.
On October 22, 2020, former Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg also announced that he would be competing in Extreme E with his own team, Rosberg Xtreme Racing. However, as founder and CEO, like his former Mercedes F1 teammate Hamilton, he is only active in the background and does not take the wheel himself. Shortly before the turn of the year, the “Hispano Suiza Xite Energy Team” signed up for the series at the same time as the HWA withdrawal, and on January 25, 2021, Extreme E surprisingly announced another newcomer: Jenson Button, the 2009 Formula 1 world champion, joined Extreme E with his own racing team, JBXE Racing.
THE GOALS OF EXTREME E:
The event’s races are held on specially designed dirt tracks reminiscent of rallycross. Remote locations affected by climate change have been chosen for the project, as one of the main objectives is to raise awareness of this issue. Furthermore, Extreme E aims to highlight gender equality, and in this regard, each team must have a male and a female driver.
In addition to the racing part, Extreme E will organize environmental activities in collaboration with major organizations such as UNICEF to further raise awareness among the local population about the major environmental issues in the region.
THE “CLIMATE-NEUTRAL” TRANSPORT OF CARS:
Transportation is provided by the fully restored ship St. Helena, which formerly served the Royal Mail of Great Britain. Inside are both the racing equipment and the oceanographic laboratory where environmental studies are carried out. For this purpose, a scientific committee has been formed under the leadership of Peter Wadhams, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge, who has led 55 expeditions to the Arctic over the past 50 years.
THE 2021 RACE CALENDAR:
Desert X Prix: Al ‘Ula – Saudi Arabia (April 3-4)
Ocean X Prix: Dakar – Senegal (May 29-30)
Arctic X Prix: Kangerlussuaq – Greenland (August 28-29)
Amazon X Prix: Santarem – Brazil (October 23-24)
Glacier X Prix: Patagonia (Tierra del Fuego) – Argentina (December 11-12)
The teams and the driver pairings:
ABT-Cupra: Claudia Hurtgen, Mattias Ekstrom
Acciona Sainz XE: Laia Sanz, Carlos Sainz
Andretti United: Catie Munnings, Timmy Hansen
Chip Ganassi: Kyle Price, Kyle LeDuc
Hispano Suiza Xite Energy: Christine Giampaoli Zonca (GZ), Oliver Benett.
JBXE: Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, Jenson Button
Rosberg Xtreme (RXR): Molly Taylor, Johan Kristoffersson
Veloce: Jamie Chadwick, Stephane Sarrazin
X44: Cristina Gutierrez, Sebastien Loeb