- McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown and his team join Extreme E for the 2022 season
- Two-time Formula Drifting Champion Tanner Foust, only the third American to compete in Extreme E, and Emma Gilmour, the only woman to have won a New Zealand Rally Championship event, will drive for the McLaren entry.
- Extreme E is the only major motorsport series in the world that mandates both a male and female driver for each team.
- The Season 2 calendar kicks off with the first of five 2022 Extreme E Series races from February 19-20 in Neom, Saudi Arabia.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown and his team commended the series for “breaking new ground in motorsport as a force for good to solve some of the greatest challenges facing our world today and into the future.” Watch Extreme E for the 2022 season.
World rallycross ace and two-time Formula Drifting Champion Tanner Foust – only the third American to compete in Extreme E (Kyle LeDuc and Sara Price are the others) – and Emma Gilmour, the only woman to compete in an event of the New Zealand Rally Championship championship will be McLaren’s two drivers in the unique racing series. It is a series that includes all-electric purpose-built racing cars that join the global mission to repair damaged ecosystems while demonstrating EV capability in diverse and harsh environments.
Foust had been on board since last August. Gilmour signed on as McLaren’s first female driver during the UN climate change conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland last November.
Foust is a four-time and current US Rallycross Champion (2019, 2012, 2011, 2010) and has won four X Games gold medals (2013, 2010, 2007) and two Formula Drift titles (2008, 2007). Gilmour of New Zealand won the 2015 FIA Women in Motorsport and Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) cross-country rally selection. She rode two laps of the Extreme E for Veloce Racing last season.
As well as returning to Saudi Arabia, Italy and possibly Senegal, Extreme E will also make its debut in South America, with the final two X Prix of the campaign taking place in Antofagasta, Chile and Punta del Este, Uruguay. The Season X inaugural prize in Brazil and Argentina has been canceled due to pandemic concerns.
The Season 2 calendar begins with the first of five races from February 19-20 in Neom, Saudi Arabia. Extreme E returns to Sardinia, Italy on May 7th-8th. Round 3 on July 9-10 remains to be seen between a new venue in Scotland or a return visit to Senegal on the west coast of Africa. The St. Helena – the converted British mail vessel that transports cars, equipment, researchers, officials and racers to events to reduce the sport’s carbon footprint – will be the operation to Chile (September 10-11) and Uruguay bring to the coast of South America (November 26-27) to conclude the season.
Alejandro Agag, Extreme E CEO and Founder said: “As we begin the second chapter of our story, we are proud to finally welcome Zak Brown and his McLaren team to the party and know they are making a huge impact be what we are all excited. We also add a new continent to our journey as we embark on our journey to South America, a hugely important homeland, both for motorsport fans and for the climate.
“But in all of this, we must not lose sight of our overarching goal that we are all together in a race for the planet,” he said. “We are more passionate than ever about the importance of using the platform of sport to raise awareness on climate issues. This is the race we can and must win and we must all do our part.”
Brown is ready to orchestrate his team’s part. He said: “From the start, McLaren Racing has never been afraid to push new boundaries. This new company stays true to our roots of innovation and bravery.”
Brown said the media savvy and versatile racer and stunt driver Foust “is a high profile off-road competitor with a wealth of experience and a track record. In addition to his driving skills, he is a fantastic personality who will help us connect with new fans around the world and bring Extreme E’s purpose and important messages to the fore.”
Not only did Foust say he was thrilled to join McLaren (“It’s every driver’s dream to drive for McLaren”), he also said: “The opportunity to compete for the team in this innovative and imaginative racing series is empowering it even more special . The concept is unique and the challenge convincing. It will allow me to bring all my experience and skills to bear while also being part of a positive cause that addresses issues that matter to our planet and society.”
McLaren has been at the forefront of electric motorsport from the start, supplying the battery powertrain for the FIA Formula E Championship for the Gen 1 and Gen 2 seasons, using the same technology developed in the McLaren P1 hypercar would. With the entry into Extreme E, McLaren Racing will further expand its know-how in the fully electric racing area.
Former Formula 1 Champion Nico Rosberg, whose RXR team won the 2021 championship with drivers Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor, said: “Winning the inaugural Extreme E Championship was just incredible. But our team is about more than just winning. We are also here to spread an important message.
“A key reason we exist is to raise awareness, educate and help combat climate change. And we want to leave a lasting legacy that drives local change wherever Extreme E visits. Last year we were able to achieve some incredible things through this series, and this was just the beginning. We look forward to an exciting new season and hopefully another win for RXR! Being champions is such an honor. We came to Extreme E to raise awareness about climate change and to promote sustainability, but also as a racing team we want to win and that’s why we will always remember that feeling.”
Kristoffersson and Taylor were in the points standings with Lewis Hamilton’s X44 duo of Sébastien Loeb and Cristina Gutiérrez, but RXR clinched the championship by winning three of the five events.
Extreme E is now the only motorsport series in the world that mandates both a male and a female driver for each team. This move towards gender equality will be followed in 2022 by a commitment to grassroots development.
At the 2021 season finale in Dorset, UK, Extreme E hosted an event for 50 local school girls with female motorsport initiative Girls on Track UK Formula 1 test driver Susie Wolff. As part of the FIA’s global Girls on Track programme, now managed by the governing body Motorsport UK, it focuses on inspiring, connecting and showcasing women in motorsport, and through initiatives in science, technology and mathematics ( STEM).
The girls, aged between 11 and 12, were able to experience life behind the scenes at Extreme E and the many future career opportunities within the sport. The intent of the series was to build on that work and inspire girls around the world with these memorable insights in this new season.
Extreme E’s legacy programs are integral to the series and aim to provide both social and environmental support at every race location. Project selection is led by the site scientist, with the support of all five members of the independent scientific committee.
For example, in Lac Rose, Senegal, after the finale of the Ocean X Prix, Extreme E staff, guests and riders (Jamie Chadwick, Stéphane Sarrazin, Kevin Hansen, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky) came straight off the podium to take part in a beach cleanup of the Racetrack. They collected more than 100 garbage bags from the Lac Rose sand and the admiration of Stephan Senghor, the Senegalese eco-entrepreneur and founder of GroupeSenghor, which works with Extreme E.
Senghor said, “We’re not here for the show. We are here to bring about real change. This is the message that Extreme E conveys: its technology, its radical sport, but also its concern for the planet. And caring for the planet comes with action, not just intention. Extreme E proved that in Lac Rose. There are not many sports where riders come straight from the press conference to pick up trash on the beach.”
To combat the Plastic pollution problem, Extreme E used the Ocean X Prix Legacy program to work with EcoZone’s EcoBriques project. Municipalities produce “Ecobriques”, which are PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles filled with dry and non-recyclable waste, mainly post-consumer plastics. These will ultimately turn more than 40 tons of waste into building blocks.
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