Extreme E to field female-male drivers in each team
The upcoming Extreme E off-road racing series announced that each team will field a female-male drivers line up, a first in motor racing.
Extreme E, the new electric off-road series set to kick off in 2021, announced that it will be the first motorsport championship to pioneer a mixed-line up concept: each team will field both a male and a female driver, taking turns behind the wheel and on the co-driver's seat during the races.
The drivers will thus compete together in the two-lap races, each completing one lap of the course at the wheel of the ODYSSEY 21 electric SUV. This innovative format will allow teams to experiment with strategies but, most importantly, it will bring Extreme-E at the forefront of gender equality in motorsport.
“This is a first in motor racing." - commented the series founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. "We are ensuring with our sporting format that drivers of all backgrounds will be able to compete with the same tools at their disposal at every event on the calendar.
“We are striving for equality, and this sporting format is the truest reflection of that goal. Everybody will race together and the most effective combination of drivers, team, engineer and car will rise to the top.”
Agag, who has been working on the Extreme-E concept since 2018, was the pioneer mastermind behind Formula E and is now looking forward to bring more disrupting innovation into motorsport. The series will feature a 5-events calendar starting from 23-24th January in Dakar, Senegal and has the ultimate goal to raise awareness on climate change by taking electric racing to some of the most extreme environments on the planet.
Among the female racers that have already expressed their interest in the new championship is Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky. The 27-year old is the current Extreme E and Continental tyres test driver and will likely become one of the official drivers.
Kottulinsky competed in the Scandinavian TCR championship in 2019, where she claimed one victory and five podiums in the PWR Racing Cupra. She is also expected to stay in the now rebranded STCC this year.
The Swedish driver starred in the Extreme E video about gender equality (below).
Other women that are expected to be part of the championship are Katherine Legge and Jamie Chadwick. Legge, one of the most experienced female racers worldwide and former Formula E, IndyCar and DTM racer, said that “hearing the format was like waking up on Christmas morning."
"It is a giant step in the right direction for motorsport as a whole. I have been looking forward to something like this my entire racing career!"
Legge added that “Formula E and now Extreme E, are at forefront of breaking boundaries in technology, sustainability, and climate change, and now Extreme E will challenge perceptions with gender equality too.”
Inaugural W Series champion and Williams F1 Development Driver Jamie Chadwick will likely join Veloce Racing, as the team will count on the experience of F1 visionary engineer Adrian Newey. “I have watched women make a mark throughout the world of motorsport over the years and there are some great individual stories out there." - commented Newey.
"I hope we can create some more positive opportunities with this exciting young series and provide a strong platform for female competitors to shine.”
Another important endorsement came from Michéle Mouton, President of the FIA Women In Motorsport Commission. Mouton, who herself competed at the top of World Rally Championship and is to this day one of the most successful women in the history of motorsport, said that “This is a great opportunity for women and men to team up, compete together and against each other with the same material."
“Alejandro [Agag] and his team continue to really support gender equality in our sport with concrete actions that help highlight the ability of female racers and give them a chance. It will be interesting to see the team line-ups as they are announced and I look forward to following Season One when it starts early next year.”
The 2021 Extreme E schedule so far:
- Lac Rose, Dakar, Senegal, 23-24 January - Sharaan, Al-‘Ula, Saudi Arabia, 05-06 March - Kali Gandaki Valley, Nepal, 14-15 May - Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, 28-29 August - Santarém, Brazil, 29-31 October