Leading the way in gender equality in motorsport, the pioneering electric off-road Extreme E racing series will see an equal amount of male and female drivers competing in teams in 2021.
In a first for motorsport, the competing teams will be composed of a male and a female driver, competing together in every two-lap race as driver and co-driver.
According to Veloce Racing, the format ‘will see the teams complete one lap behind the wheel of the ODYSSEY 21 electric-SUV, with a changeover incorporated into the race format, and it’s up to the teams to determine driver and co-driver to best suit their strategy.’
“This is a first in motor racing. 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,” commented Alejandro Agag, Extreme E Founder and CEO. “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.”
Michèle Mouton, President of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission added, “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.”
Congratulations Alejandro Agag & @ExtremeELive for this fantastic initiative! Together with @VeloceRacingXE we look forward to promoting gender parity in the future #VeloceRacingXE #News #ExtremeE #RacingForOurPlanet pic.twitter.com/7rOwC4xlJf
— Jean-Eric Vergne (@JeanEricVergne) April 30, 2020
Whilst the complete list of teams and drivers are yet to be announced, Extreme E Drivers’ Programme member Katherine Legge is excited at what the future holds for this ground-breaking initiative.
“Hearing the format was like waking up on Christmas morning,” said Legge. “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.”
The full race calendar and championship format is still to be finalised, with remote locations and wildly differing climates set to test 550 horsepower E-SUVs to the maximum, also aimed at highlighting the impact that climate change is having on the planet.
“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,” said lead Visionary of Extreme E team Veloce Racing, 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. I hope we can create some more positive opportunities with this exciting young series and provide a strong platform for female competitors to shine.”