Extreme E, the new electric off-road racing series, today welcomes female German driver Claudia Hürtgen to the championship, who joins Mattias Ekström to complete the ABT CUPRA XE driver pairing.
With successes in various touring car and sports car championships, several endurance races and other events under her belt, Hürtgen is amongst Europe’s most successful female racing drivers. Notably, in 2005 she won the VLN Endurance Championship, making her the first female to do so since 1998.
Along with her Swedish teammate, Hürtgen has already completed her first Extreme E shake down, familiarising herself with the 400-kW all-electric SUV – which the team has named e-CUPRA ABT XE1 – ahead of next weeks pre-season test with all other teams in Spain, before the car will be loaded onto the championship’s floating centrepiece, the St. Helena, at the beginning of January.
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO at Extreme E, said: “It is fantastic to have yet another top-class female driver join Extreme E. Claudia brings with her a wealth of experience in motor racing, and while she more used to sports car racing, I’m sure her skills will transfer off-road, particularly with the support of her team mate Mattias.”
Claudia Hürtgen, ABT CUPRA XE driver said: “Even after 25 years in motorsport Extreme E is an all-new and exciting challenge for me that I’m very much looking forward to. What makes this competition special among other things is the fact that this is an all-new adventure for all entrants that we’re jointly embarking on.”
Speaking about the recent shake down, Hürtgen went on to say: “I learn something new on every kilometre and try to handle each corner with greater perfection. Needless to say, it’s great to have such an experienced and open-minded team mate in Mattias who superbly supports me in this effort.”
ABT CEO Thomas Biermaier added: “We met Claudia for the first time at a small shoot-out with several female candidates this summer and were soon convinced that she’d be the right choice – not only because of her strong performance in the cockpit, but also due to her professional cooperation, her precise feedback to our engineers and her overall demeanour. Claudia is simply a good fit for us.”
Mattias Ekström, two-time DTM Champion, World Rallycross Champion, CUPRA ambassador and ABT CUPRA XE driver said: “Claudia and I have occasionally crossed paths with in recent years, we know each other and get along well. It didn’t take long for her to impress the entire team and me as well. Claudia is an extremely quick learner and immediately adjusts to all requirements. Given that she’s joining us with just little experience in off-road racing, that’s even more impressive.”
Following the joint pre-season test, at which ABT CUPRA XE will be meeting with its international competitors for the first time, the car will be prepared in Kempten, Germany, ready to be loaded onto the St. Helena, ahead of its departure for the Arabian Peninsula, and the first race will be held in AlUla, Saudi Arabia.