In a first for an international motorsport championship, all teams contesting the Extreme E all-electric off-road racing series will be required to field both a male and female driver.
With the inaugural Extreme E season scheduled to start in January 2021 with five events, the teams will be made up of an interchangeable driver and co-driver pairing who will swap after a lap each in a changeover ‘incorporated into the race format’.
Extreme E founder and CEO, Alejandro Agag, said the two-person line-up is helping the series achieve their goals of striving for equality.
“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,” Agag said.
“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,” he said.
Extreme E’s series already has three women assigned to the drivers’ programme, including maiden W Series champion Jamie Chadwick, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Katherine Legge, and Swedish touring car driver Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky.
FIA Women in Motorsport Commission president, Michele Mouton, said this is a great step in the right direction for equality in motorsport.
“This is a great opportunity for women and men to team up, compete together and against each other with the same material,” Mouton said.
“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,” she said.
Legge said, as the only female to have driven the 550bhp ODYSSEY 21 to date, this regulation is a dream come true.
“Hearing the format was like waking up on Christmas morning,” Legge said.
“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 the forefront of breaking boundaries in technology, sustainability, and climate change, and now Extreme E will challenge perceptions with gender equality too,” she said.
The Extreme E inaugural season now has six squads announced, Abt Sportsline, Andretti Autosport, HWA, Venturi, Veloce Racing, and QEV Technologies, with Agag announcing earlier this month the competition would aim for eight teams by January 2021.