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Lewis Hamilton joins new electric car series Extreme E

The new tournament has been designed to highlight key climate crisis issues, taking electric cars off road in a series of SUV races.

Lewis Hamilton has just announced that he’ll be entering his own team of racers into the new Extreme E tournament that will begin in 2021.

Created by Formula E series founder Alejandro Agag, Extreme E has been created to raise awareness about the worst environmental damage happening as a result of the climate crisis and to alter how the public perceives electric cars.

A British F1 legend, Lewis has become increasingly more vocal about social change issues in recent years. Back in February he vowed to become carbon neutral and has been a prominent campaigner for Black Lives Matter all throughout 2020. He launched a commission to improve diversity in F1 back in June too, with a focus on encouraging BAME representation across the motor sports industry.

This latest venture will see him putting together an entire team of racers under the name X44, which will include two drivers, five mechanics, and one engineer. There will be five races in total, taking place in Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Greenland, and Brazil. All of these locations are considered to be severely damaged or under threat by climate change.

Other big shot racer are giving the tournament some additional mainstream buzz, including two-times DTM champion Timo Scheider, Formula E winner Lucas di Grassi, and Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer. Lewis has released a flashy video with Extreme E that explains the basics, should you not care for my words and prefer to watch the man himself say it all instead.

At first glance it may seem a bit counterproductive to have big, hulking vehicles parade around in the name of climate awareness.

Keep in mind though that each car is entirely electric, and every race has been organised to have as low a carbon footprint as possible. The aim is to promote electric vehicles as a viable alternative to our usual diesel and petrol cars and to elevate their profile in the professional racing industry.

Plus, Extreme E will be setting up ‘legacy programmes’ in each of the five racing locations that are designed to last well beyond the tournament in 2021. Social and environmental support via specially funded projects will be available and lead by a team of hand-picked scientists, with a focus on helping local communities and creating new educational facilities. It also aims to make each race entirely carbon neutral by the end of its first season next year.

Teams are being limited to reduce carbon emissions and there will be no spectators for any of the races. If you do want to watch them live you’ll be able to stream via the usual sports outlets and on YouTube, with editing and transmission being handled remotely from London.

Extreme E describes itself as a mix between Star Wars pod racing and Dakar Rally, an off-road desert racing series that takes place in South America. If that mix of high-energy competition doesn’t sell you then nothing will. The first race will be from 23rd – 24th January and will take place in Senegal.

You can read more about the championship here.