Unusual race locations, modern technology and ten teams competing for the trophy: the second season of Extreme E is in full swing. But who is actually behind the wheel? We cast an eye over the teams.
Although the first race of the season is over, the second and third rounds are just around the corner. July will even see two race days: In Sardinia, the Extreme E teams will battle it out for the top placings in the Island X-Prix I and Island X-Prix II.
We recently took a look at the Acciona | Sainz XE, Chip Ganassi Racing, Rosberg X Racing, Veloce Racing and X44 teams, so we are now taking a closer look at the rest of the field.
Newcomer team McLaren Racing is currently in fifth place in the rankings after the first race. Of course, the team is only a “newcomer” in terms of Extreme E – after all, McLaren is a true giant of motorsport.
With its “MX” team, McLaren is sending its first ever Extreme-E tandem into competition. The team includes Emma Gilmour, who already gained her first experience as a reserve driver in the racing series last year, when she competed twice for Veloce Racing. This season, the rally specialist from New Zealand is scheduled to become McLaren’s first full-time driver. With her in the cockpit is US stunt driver Tanner Foust – and as a multiple Rally Cross Champion and X-Games gold medal winner, he will clearly have his sights firmly on the title. Unfortunately, his debut in Saudi Arabia ended prematurely due to poor visibility: in the final, Foust collided with Team RXR’s Odyssey 21 in the middle of a sand cloud, rolled over and was forced to retire from the race.
Right behind them, Xite Energy Racing has moved up to sixth place. Last year, the Xite team finished in last place, but offered an impressively strong performance in the first race of Season 2, despite struggling with a sudden vehicle failure.
Oliver Bennett, who takes the helm for the team as he did last year, was actually scheduled to compete in Saudi Arabia together with debutant Klara Andersson. However, the rallycross driver dropped out at short notice due to illness and substitute driver Tamara Molinaro took her place. In the end, her efforts were not quite enough and Xite missed the final by a hair’s breadth due to a time penalty. But maybe things will work out better at the upcoming Iceland X-Prix!
Andretti United Extreme E is lurking in 7th place, looking to secure a better finish in Sardinia – after all, they still finished fourth overall last season. The Andretti United Extreme E team entered the new season completely unchanged: Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen have teamed up once again for the globe-trotting odyssey. However, Timmy Hansen had to learn the hard way during the semi-final that this odyssey also has some pretty tough obstacles: during an overtaking maneuver, the Swede hit a bump in a particularly unfortunate way and rolled over with the car. The desert sand poured through the window and the race was over.
ABT CUPRA XE also competed last year and finished in the middle of the table – in fifth place. Behind the wheel for the new season are two Dakar legends: Jutta Kleinschmidt is driving for ABT, as she did last year. The first and only female winner of the Dakar Rally to date (2001), she will be supported by Nasser Al-Attiyah this year. The 51-year-old from Qatar has four victories in the Dakar Rally and numerous other motorsport titles under his belt. Al-Attiyah also won an Olympic bronze medal in skeet shooting in 2012 – so there is certainly no lack of focus or winning spirit here. This will be essential if the team is to improve its current position in the rankings (eighth place) in the upcoming races.
Currently in ninth place is Jenson Button’s team, which has had to regroup somewhat for the new season. Driver Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky has moved to rival team and defending champion Rosberg X Racing. This left a spot open at JBXE, which was filled for the Desert X Prix by last year’s winner Molly Taylor. As was the case last season, the male driver on board was Kevin Hansen, who personally replaced Button as driver during Extreme E Season 1. However, there was a serious accident at the Desert X-Prix, after which Hansen had to receive treatment in hospital. In the meantime, however, he is on the road to recovery, as you can also follow on his Instagram channel. Most recently, Hansen was in Senegal to see how the Extreme E Senegal Legacy project is progressing.
After all, in addition to the races, Extreme E also carries out various projects aimed at sustainably improving the environmental situation at the race venues. Climate scientist Richard Washington explained this to us in more detail in an interview.