Six-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton will form a brand-new team named X44 to enter the new all-electric off-road racing series Extreme E next season.
The name references Hamilton’s own racing number, 44, that he has used since his early racing career days in karting. The team will be joining the first-ever X Prix race that is scheduled to take place early next year.
Hamilton himself will not be behind the wheel or be involved at the five locations that the series will feature, but instead will manage and help to guide the creation of the new team.
“Extreme E is an exciting new sustainability initiative, and this is a great opportunity to be involved from the outset as a team founder. Of course, my ambitions and commitments with Mercedes in Formula One mean that I won’t be operationally involved in X44, but I’m excited to play a different role in this new series, one that brings my vision for a more sustainable and equal world to life.” Hamilton said.
“Extreme E really appealed to me because of its environmental focus. Every single one of us has the power to make a difference, and it means so much to me that I can use my love of racing, together with my love for our planet, to have a positive impact.“
He added: “Not only will we visit remote locations facing the front line of the climate crisis, we will also work closely with these locations and leading climate experts to share our knowledge and leave behind a positive legacy in each location which goes far beyond the race track.”
“As Founder of X44, I am looking forward to building my team around important values such as sustainability and equality. None of us are perfect and we all have improvements to make, but I am excited to use our platform to highlight the most serious issues facing our planet and the solutions we can all be part of.”
Extreme E will be hosting five X Prix races at remote locations in season 1, ranging from an Arctic environment to rain forests, deserts, glaciers and a coastal location also. All featured races will take place at spots either already damaged or under threat of climate changes.
The events will also be held behind closed doors to minimise their environmental impact, but fans can follow the races live on different TV broadcasts around the world as well as on social media. The command centre of the series will be onboard a ship called RMS St. Helena, which currently is undergoing a multi-million pound conversation to reduce its environmental impact. Once finished, it’ll be a hub that hosts logistics, accommodation and a garage base for the series.
“We are thrilled to welcome Lewis Hamilton and his X44 team to Extreme E. Like us, Lewis is hugely passionate about motorsport, but also shares our belief that we can use sport to highlight subjects which are vital to the world, such as climate change and equality.” Alejandro Agag, CEO and founder of Extreme E, commented.
“Lewis is one of the most successful drivers of all time, and we’re all excited to see how his X44 team performs on and off the race track under his incredible guidance. A huge welcome to the Extreme E family Lewis!”
X44 and the other teams will be using single-make Oddysey 21 E-SUV vehicles manufactured by Spark Racing Technology which are set to use batteries produced by Williams Advanced Engineering. These new machines can do 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds and can reach gradients up to 130 percent.