Beijing, April 30 (IANS) The forthcoming Extreme E racing series is to feature teams comprising one male and one female driver, marking a first for global motorsport.
In a move that has been compared with mixed doubles tennis, the format would see male and female drivers competing together in every two-lap race as driver and co-driver, reports Xinhua news agency.
Each would complete one lap behind the wheel of their identical 550 horsepower SUVs, with a changeover incorporated into the race format.
“This is a first in motor racing,” said Extreme E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. “We are striving for equality, and this format is the truest reflection of that goal. Everybody will race together and the most effective combination of drivers, team, engineer and car will rise to the top.”
Extreme E is set to debut in January 2021, and the series’ commitment to gender equality was welcomed by Michele Mouton, who finished runner-up in the 1982 World Rally Championship and is now president of the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission.
“This is a great opportunity for women and men to team up, compete together and against each other with the same material,” said Mouton, who remains the only woman to win a World Rally Championship event.
British driver Katherine Legge, who has competed in many different forms of motorsport, was equally effusive about the announcement.
“Hearing the format was like waking up on Christmas morning,” said Legge, who had previously registered her interest in competing in Extreme E. “It is a giant step in the right direction for motorsport as a whole. I have been looking forward to something like this my entire racing career.”