Extreme E, the electric SUV off-road racing series, has today launched its Drivers’ Program, with a roster of world-class names expressing their interest in joining the revolutionary new championship.
The first to commit include multiple FIA World Rally Championship title-winner Sébastian Ogier, FIA World Rallycross front-runners Andreas Bakkerud and Kevin and Timmy Hansen, double DTM champion and FIA World Rallycross driver Timo Scheider, W Series winner Jamie Chadwick, leading female racers Katherine Legge and Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, 2016 ABB FIA Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi; fellow Formula E racer and Le Mans winner, Andre Lotterer and Sacha Prost – ice racer and the youngest son of Formula 1 legend, Alain.
“We have revealed the car, and our first race location, but any good championship needs top driver talent in order to be truly successful,” said series founder Alejandro Agag.
“This world-class list of drivers, representing the very best male and female talent from multiple disciplines across top-tier motorsport, illustrates Extreme E’s serious sporting credentials. It certainly marks another very important step as we continue the development of our exciting new series.”
The Drivers’ Program is designed to promote professional drivers and assist teams and prospective entries, with Venturi, ABT and HWA already signed up to the championship for the inaugural campaign, which gets underway in February 2021.
Series organizers will recommend prospective competitors from its Drivers’ Program to teams, however, if teams prefer, they will have the autonomy to select their own drivers from outside the pool.
Ogier Joins as Extreme E Driver Ambassador
Six-time WRC champion Ogier has joined the fold as Extreme E driver ambassador and Drivers’ Program member.
“Extreme E is unlike anything else we have in motorsport, so it is incredibly appealing to me,” said Ogier.
“The short stages, the power and performance of the Odyssey 21, the head-to-head format and of course the spectacular, unique locations, will make the racing extremely intense and very exciting for drivers and the fans watching from home.
“I’m in love with nature and the planet, and also being a father makes the future protection of our planet a very important fight to me personally. I want us to try and change our habits, and Extreme E’s mission to promote electric future is crucial to that goal.”
Drivers’ Program members will be given the opportunity to drive and test the Extreme E car, Odyssey 21, which was unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed back in July.
Simulator time will also be provided as well as a full technical rundown of the nuances of driving the innovative new E-SUV.
Chadwick, Bakkerud Among Other Key Drivers to Join Program
W Series winner Jamie Chadwick has also joined the program, citing the sporting challenge at hand and the series’ environmental credentials as a major draw.
“Extreme E is a hugely exciting opportunity – I like a challenge and it will certainly be that,” said Chadwick. “Top teams, drivers and machinery, all racing in some incredible locations whilst raising awareness for climate change – what’s not to love!
“Climate change is naturally a subject close to my heart. As part of the generation who are needing to be increasingly more aware of our environment, and having grown up in the countryside in England, for me it is more relevant than ever to be raising awareness.”
Explaining why Extreme E attracted him, Bakkerud, current FIA World Rallycross leader, said: “The series looks incredibly exciting from a sporting point of view, but as a lover of nature, it is equally important to me that I do my bit to help make the world a better place.
“Norway, where I live, is a beautiful country, but I’m noticing more and more that when you see the ocean, you see trash and it’s clearer than ever that humans and our actions are destroying the world. It was great for me to hear that Extreme E will use motorsport to help focus on these issues in a positive way.”
Group testing will take place in mid-2020 before teams board Extreme E’s floating paddock – RMS St. Helena – ahead of the opening race in early 2021.