Celebrating gender equality on this year's International Women's Day, ground-breaking electric motorsport series Extreme E is launch-ready and set to kick off the 2021 season in just under a month. The mission is simple: use motorsport to highlight important social and environmental issues important to today's world. The first, to raise awareness for the climate crisis and the role of clean energy, and the second, to obliterate current preconceptions regarding gender in motorsport.
Extreme E is the first series that has been designed around eliminating the gender divides in motorsport. And their inaugural year is certainly starting in a big way. Top female drivers from around the world such as Jamie Chadwick (2019 W Series winner), Sara Price (Off-Road Truck Champion and X Games Medalist), and Molly Taylor (Australian Rally Champion) will be competing with some of motorsports biggest names, including Jenson Button (Formula One champion) and Sebastien Loeb (WRC).
Per Extreme E rules, each team will be made up of one male and one female driver with each competing in one lap of the race course with a driver change-over called "the switch" taking place in between laps. Each team will have the choice on which driver will start and which driver will finish the race.
Jamie Chadwick is ready for the new series saying, "Extreme E is definitely a leap into the unknown for me, having only previously driven single-seaters and sportscars, but I’ve never shied away from a challenge. The first time I tested the car, I knew I wanted to race it – an electric SUV is a large vehicle, yet the stunning power it produces when you put your foot down makes it exhilarating to drive. The fact that Extreme E is also committed to gender equality is just the icing on the cake.”
Equally as excited about racing in Extreme E is Molly Taylor. "One of the great things about motorsport is that when you put the helmet on it doesn't matter what gender you are and that’s always been my philosophy." She says, "But what I have noticed through competing, is the number of young girls that when they see a female competing, they then want to be involved - so I think having that exposure at the highest level is really important to help improve the diversity and equality for the next generations coming up.”
What Extreme E is doing has never been done before. Founder and CEO of the series Alejandro Agag explains, "We are striving for equality, and Extreme E’s sporting format is the truest reflection of that goal. Everybody will race together, and only the most effective combination of drivers, team, engineers and car will rise to the top. “I believe that our race format will challenge all of the drivers, male and female, which is what makes this concept so exciting. There is no shortage of women drivers good enough to take the seats!” Agag’s ultimate goal however? To end the emphasis on a driver’s gender entirely: “My aim is that one day, female participation and achievement throughout motorsport will be at such levels where it simply is not a story – then I will be happy.”
In celebration, Extreme E released this video: