Extreme E—the all-electric SUV racing series aiming to be something like an eco-friendly rally in the wildest climates—isn’t starting its inaugural championship season until 2021. But the series has already started announcing its driver program lineup, and, holy shit, it is chock full of world championship-winning talent.
We should note right away that this isn’t necessarily a secured team-by-team lineup. Rather, it’s a “driver program,” or a way to recruit competitors that teams can then select from in order to flesh out their lineup, a press release reports.
Basically, this is a group of people who are interested in racing in Extreme E, which gives teams easy access to contacting them. Teams aren’t required to select these drivers—they can still choose anyone they want. But with the list revealed, I have no idea why anyone would even want to pick someone else.
Perhaps the biggest name here is Sebastien Ogier, six-time World Rally Championship winner. While he announced in August that he would be serving as an ambassador for Extreme E, it wasn’t confirmed as to whether or not he would be driving. If there’s a driver you want to promote a series and succeed behind the wheel, this is the guy you’re going to pick. If you’re looking for someone to compete against, this may not be your guy. He wins just about everything he enters.
Current Formula E drivers Andre Lotterer and Lucas di Grassi have both signed on as well. Lotterer is a three-time Le Mans champion and overall winner of the 2012 World Endurance Championship who also boasts a huge amount of success winning in Japan’s SUPER GT and Super Formula. Di Grassi has also competed in various racing series around the world, his first overall championship coming in the 2016-17 season of Formula E.
There are other champions in the mix, too. Two-time DTM champion Timo Scheider and inaugural W Series champion Jamie Chadwick have both expressed interest.
World Rallycross front-runners Andreas Bakkerud, Kevin Hansen, and Timmy Hansen have signed on. Sacha Prost—Alain Prost’s youngest son—is there. And leading female drivers Katherine Legge (who has raced in IndyCar, DTM, IMSA, NASCAR, Formula E, and Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY) and Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky (worldwide touring car driver) are also in contention.
That’s a damn good list.
While we can’t anticipate exactly where these drivers will end up when it comes to Extreme E, we can hope that each of them will get a shot at the inaugural season.