The forthcoming electric off-road championship Extreme E will be contested by a 50% female driver line-up.
The series announced on Thursday morning that teams will be required to field one male and one female driver, who will share a car.
Each environmentally-friendly race will be run over two laps of a wilderness course, with a driver change between laps. Each driver must complete one lap each, but the order in which they start will be up to the team.
Both drivers will also remain in the car for both laps, switching seats and swapping between driver and co-driver roles.
Extreme E chairman Alejandro Agag explained the format further to DirtFish, particularly the role of the co-driver.
“They will have navigation duties,” he said. “They will have a radio connection and will be able to help their driver.
“Otherwise they are just there to get scared!”
Strategy will be up to the teams, eight of which are expected for the first season in 2021. Driver pairings are also able to work out their own quickest ways to switch seats between laps.
Each race will have four cars on track and lap distances will range from 7-10 kilometers, according to Agag, although this will vary according to the terrain.
“It depends on the speed of the surface,” added Agag. “If you look at the track we have in Nepal, for example, I think it’s going to be more like five kilometers, because it’s so hard. It’s going to be impossible to reach high speeds.
“On the beach, you can go faster, so we’ll probably go longer in Senegal. In the desert you can go longer. In the Amazon, it’s tricky!
“It’s going to be more of an obstacle race than a high-speed race. This will be fighting with the terrain.”
Agag said he believes that the most successful drivers will probably be those with off-road experience.
“I think the ideal driver is probably a hybrid rally/rallycross driver,” he said. “But I can tell you, single-seater drivers are pretty excited about it too, so they want to come and drive. We’ll see how they do.”
In terms of potential drivers on the female side, Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, Katherine Legge and Jamie Chadwick have all been linked with Extreme E drives. Scandinavian TCR driver Ahlin-Kottulinsky has already completed some tire testing for founding partner Continental.
Agag acknowledged those three as part of “at least 20 or so” women he has in mind. He is aiming to get the top levels of female motorsport talent involved, including some he has previously worked with in Formula E and GP3.
The scope for driver recruitment is very wide, according to Agag, who said that if he “could convince Danica Patrick, I would”.
Drivers are due to be announced in June or July, once the remaining teams have been revealed.