DirtFish-backed Molly Taylor has become the latest driver to join the Extreme E Drivers’ Program ahead of the new series’ introduction next year.
Taylor, the only female to scoop top honors in Australia’s national rally championship, is the sixth female to signal her interest in the series after Jamie Chadwick, Katherine Legge, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, Simona de Silvestro and Catie Munnings.
Extreme E boss Alejandro Agag announced last month that the series will feature 50:50 male/female driver pairings, a first for top-level motorsport.
“One thing that has always appealed to me about motorsport is that once the helmet goes on, your gender becomes irrelevant and the stopwatch has no bias,” said Taylor. “However, I also think that it is important to look at how we can effectively improve the diversity in our industry and this is a step in the right direction. I think this format will provide new opportunities for us to reshape the image of our sport in the eyes of young fans, who will inevitably be our future.”
As well as winning at a national level in Australia, Taylor has also won a pair of British Ladies Rally Champion titles, taken a stage win at Wales Rally GB while competing in the event in 2011 as part of Pirelli’s Star Driver program, and has been a regular in the FIA European Rally Championship.
“Nothing like this has ever been done before,” she added.
“It represents a huge challenge and adventure, which really excites me. The broader message of tackling climate change in a proactive way is also incredibly important – our future, and generations to come, depend on us tackling this issue successfully. From what I have seen of the Odyssey 21 in action, it also looks like a whole lot of fun to drive!
“It’s going to be a rollercoaster for all of us as well as the fans. The variety of locations and conditions we will experience is going to make it a continual adventure; they’re all bucket list places that I have never been in a position to visit, so that will be special. Getting involved with a series where drivers and teams won’t know what to expect is really exciting. Everyone will be in the same boat and will be learning on the ground.
“There will no doubt be a very steep learning curve ahead. I think my experience as a rally driver has given me the car control and ability to adapt to changing environments, but the specificity of Extreme E – new surfaces and the race formats – will be elements to learn and work on.
“Driving a SUV will be something new for me, too, as well as a number of the conditions in which we will drive. I’ve competed a lot on gravel, but sand and ice will be a new challenge. The format will also be completely different, especially sharing the co-driver role!”