11 December 2020, London: Extreme E is delighted to welcome two stellar drivers, Sébastien Loeb and Cristina Gutiérrez, who will race for X44, the team founded by Seven-Time Formula 1™ World Champion Lewis Hamilton, in the inaugural Extreme E season which begins in 2021.
Acclaimed French driver Sébastien Loeb is one of the greatest rally drivers of all time and a legend of the motorsport world, with a record nine World Rally Championships and 79 race wins to his name. After beginning his rally career aged 22, his natural driving talent soon saw him winning championships in his home country before quickly moving to a global stage. His 24-year career in motorsport has seen him achieve total dominance in the rally world, including his nine world championships. He has also achieved three Race of Champions wins in which he competed against the world’s best racing and rally drivers, and X44 is delighted to welcome him to the team.
Gifted Spanish driver Cristina Gutiérrez is a promising upcoming talent who made history in the 2017 Dakar Rally by becoming the first Spanish female driver to finish the race in the car category, finishing fifth place among the debutantes. Widely known as the toughest rally in the world, Cristina has now finished the race four times and has quickly adapted to the tough requirements of rally driving. She has all the hallmarks of a great driver, showing grit and a natural talent, and has had a huge passion for the sport since she started racing at four years old. Her talents have been well showcased in her home country, where she previously secured a second-place overall position in the mixed-gender All-Terrain Spanish Rally Championships, finishing top of the female category between 2011 and 2016.
Alejandro Agag, CEO and Founder of Extreme E said: “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. 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 in 2021.
“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 in next!”
X44 driver, Sébastien Loeb commented: “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 – 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 honour.”
X44 driver Cristina Gutiérrez added: “I am really excited to join X44. 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.”
X44 Founder Lewis Hamilton concluded: “I’m delighted to welcome Sébastien and Cristina to X44. 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.”
Both drivers recently tested the car for the first time at Donington Park Circuit’s off-road stages. The single-design ODYSSEY 21 electric vehicle entered by X44, and all other competitors, is at the cutting edge of innovation for electric vehicles, and with this car, the series hopes to develop technology that will find its way into everyday use, paving the way for a less carbon intensive future.
X44 will take its followers on a journey of discovery, to show first-hand how human actions are damaging the planet. Sébastien, Cristina and their fellow Extreme E competitors will race electric vehicles in five remote locations, that are already damaged or severely under threat of climate change from a range of serious issues including melting ice caps, deforestation, desertification and rising sea levels.