Extreme E has announced that each of its teams will include both a male and a female driver, as the sport continues to promote gender equality in motorsport and a level playing field amongst competitors.
The all-electric off-road racing series, which is set to begin early in 2021, will ensure its teams are composed of one male and one female driver, all of whom will compete together in every two-lap race as driver and co-driver.
A changeover will be incorporated into the format at the start of the second lap, when the drivers will swap seats, ensuring that both drivers get equal opportunities behind the wheel.
Each driver will complete one lap behind the wheel of the ODYSSEY 21 electric-SUV, and so it will be up to the teams to determine their strategy.
“This is a first in motor racing,” said Alejandro Agag, Extreme E Founder and CEO. “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.”
Extreme E Drivers’ Programme member Katherine Legge, who was the first woman to race in Formula E, and who has also raced in the IndyCar Series, said of the initiative: “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!
“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.”
As well as being used as platform for equality and the promotion of electrification, Extreme E will highlight the impact that climate change is having on its remote race locations, using a committee of leading scientists to help bring global attention to issues such as deforestation in Brazil, rising sea levels along the West African coastline, melting icecaps in Greenland, and more.
Adrian Newey, ‘Lead Visionary’ of Extreme E team Veloce Racing, and multi-title-winning Formula 1 engineer, said: “One of the reasons I became involved in Veloce Racing was to embrace new technologies and initiatives in this very fast evolving world. The last few weeks have clarified to me that more than ever we have to embrace change, diversity and keep one step ahead at all times.
“I have watched women make a mark throughout the world of motorsport over the years and there are some great individual stories out there. I hope we can create some more positive opportunities with this exciting young series and provide a strong platform for female competitors to shine.”
Extreme E says its full race and championship format is ‘approaching finalisation’ and is set to be revealed in the coming weeks. It has also confirmed that team, sporting and partnership announcements will follow in the months building up to the 2021 start.
Ali Russell, Chief Marketing Officer, Extreme E joined inaugural W Series champion and Extreme E Drivers' Programme participant Jamie Chadwick on the Sport Industry Spotlight: Cutting Edge Sport panel to talk gamechanging formats and the innovations driving sport forward.