Lewis Hamilton creates team to enter Extreme E

Six-time F1 champion will have his own X44 team in new off-road series

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Few folk would find standstill to 60 in four-and-a-bit seconds dull. The latest Extreme E team owner would. One day of his working week, he gets there twice as fast.

Lewis Hamilton is no stranger to speed. Granted, a January season opener across the Senegalese dirt on the shores of Lac Rose will be different. As will a late summer race on a Greenland glacier.

But that’s what the six-time Formula 1 world champion has signed up for.

Hamilton’s X44 outfit is the eighth team to sign up for XE. But the Mercedes-Benz F1 star won’t be taking the wheel of the 400kw (or 550bhp in old money) Odyssey 21 or an operational role in the team. Instead the 35-year-old be using the experience which has helped guide him to the top step of F1’s podium 89 times for the greater good of his own team.

That he’ll be raising awareness and shining a light on climate change makes XE even more attractive to the Briton.

“It’s an exciting new project and it will be fun to have a different role from being the team driver,” said Hamilton.

“What is most appealing though, is that the Extreme E Championship will be not only raising awareness of some of the most critical environmental issues facing our planet, but also doing something about it through working with local charitable organisations to leave behind no trace and a long-lasting legacy of change.

“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. I’m looking forward to the team taking part in this new series and I think it’s incredible that we can do so whilst raising awareness about the climate crisis.”

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The team name X44 is a combination of the cross-country nature of XE and the number Hamilton uses on his car in F1. Forty-four is a reference to one of Hamilton’s father Anthony’s car registration plates from his younger days and is a number he’s ran with through from his formative years in karting.

Understandably, XE founder and CEO Alejandro Agag is pretty chuffed at landing one of global sport’s biggest names.

“We are thrilled to welcome Lewis Hamilton and his X44 team to Extreme E,” said Agag. “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.

“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 will tackle the inaugural XE season alongside several other teams with single-seater racing links. Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti United (USA) are super successful in Indycar racing, Techeetah (Indonesia), Abt and HWA (Germany) all know Agag through racing in Formula E, and the British-owned Veloce Racing is co-founded by FE champion Jean-Éric Vergne.

The eighth of the confirmed teams is QEV Technologies (Spain).

Words:David Evans

Photos:Extreme E