Lewis Hamilton Adds S\u00e9bastien Loeb, Cristina Guti\u00e9rrez to Extreme E Effort
When it comes to building a one-two punch for his Extreme E team, Lewis Hamilton and his team are not messing around.
Extreme E and Hamilton’s X44 race team on Thursday announced that nine-time World Rally Championship champion Sebastien Loeb and Dakar Rally trailblazer Cristina Gutierrez will drive for team founder Hamilton in the inaugural 2021 season.
Loeb, 46, who won the WRC title every year from 2004 through 2012, should bring eyeballs to the new all-electric off-road series and help further the series’ missions of showcasing electric-vehicle technology and bringing awareness to humans’ affect on the planet and climate.
“Joining team X44 is an opportunity for me to continue to do what I love, which is race, and I’m looking forward to competing in an electric vehicle,” Loeb said. “I had the chance to drive the car recently and it is incredible. Cristina is a fantastic driver and I can’t wait to partner with her and see what we can achieve together. I am really impressed by what Lewis is doing in Formula 1 too, so to be able to work with him on this is an honor.”
In 2017, Gutierrez, 29, became the first Spanish woman to finish the Dakar Rally in the car category. She has finished the race four times.
“I am really excited to join X44,” Gutierrez said. “Not only will we get the opportunity to raise awareness of the climate crisis, which is very important to me, but I get to work with two heroes of mine. Sébastien Loeb is the most incredible rally driver of all time so I’m really happy that I get to partner with him and I hope to learn a lot. I’m a huge Formula 1 fan and have been watching Lewis race for years, so being asked to join his team is a dream come true. I drove in the car for the first time recently and it was such a great experience, I can’t wait to see what it can do at each race.”
Hamilton, a seven-time F1 champion, does not plan to drive in the new series, but he will be carrying the messages of the series’ founder.
“I’m delighted to welcome Sébastien and Cristina to X44,” Hamilton said. “They are both incredible drivers, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re going to do out there at each race. Cristina is an upcoming talent with a great future ahead of her, and Sébastien is a driver I have admired for so many years so I’m so proud and excited to have them on board.”
The Extreme E season is set to begin March 20-21 in Saudi Arabia. That event will serve as the series’ desert event. Extreme E will also bring its circus of Odyssey 21 electric SUVs and climate awareness to Senegal (Ocean) May 29-30, Greenland (Arctic) Aug. 28-29, Brazil (Amazon) Oct. 23-24 and Argentina (Glacier) Dec. 11-12.
The series was founded by Alejandro Agag, who also founded the now 6-year-old Formula E electric open-wheel series.
“X44 has certainly picked a strong driver pairing, and I’m delighted to welcome possibly the greatest rally driver of all-time, Sébastien Loeb, and his teammate Cristina Gutiérrez, to the Extreme E family,” Agag said. “The pair bring with them a wealth of off-road and rally experience, which will stand them in good stead when it comes to racing next year.
“We have now announced over half of the grid for our inaugural season and it is shaping up to be a fantastic competition with drivers, both male and female, from a mix of ages and motorsport disciplines getting behind the wheel of our electric SUV. I can’t wait to go racing next year.”
Extreme E has momentum with team owners including Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Michael Andretti and Chip Ganassi. Now, the series has added the greatest rally driver of this generation. Will you watch? Let’s talk electric SUV’s in the comments section below.
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