Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button is set to drive in the inaugural Extreme E season this year for his own team JBXE.
Button will be joining the likes of Sir Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in having teams participate in the all-electric SUV off-road racing series, although neither Hamilton or Rosberg will be driving for their respective teams.
The maiden desert event, which is now set to take place in April, will be a 10-team grid following the announcement of JBXE.
"JBXE has been a long time coming and I'm both delighted and proud to announce its formation and entry into the inaugural Extreme E Championship," started Button.
"I caught the off-road bug a few years back, which led to me entering my own team in a few races including the Mint 400 and even the Baja 1000 and I absolutely loved it!
"It was around the same time I first heard about the plans for Extreme E, which I've followed with great interest, and what Alejandro, Ali [Russell, XE chief marketing officer] and the team have managed to create is nothing short of incredible.
"In Extreme E, they've created a product that will offer first-class racing and entertainment to the fans, but also serves to highlight the impact of climate change.
"While we will of course compete to win on track, as a collective we will also work to maximise awareness while racing in places that have been damaged or affected by climate change over the years.
"Alongside the awareness piece, Extreme E themselves are committing legacy initiatives at each destination which help protect already damaged ecosystems impacted by climate change.”
"On track I’m delighted to say there are some world-class opponents to go wheel-to-wheel with and Extreme E is a world-first which sees true equality with male and female drivers both as team-mates and as opponents out on track."
Button has experience in loose-surface competition, having raced in the infamous Baja 1000 off-road race in 2019, however, his off-road debut saw him stranded for 17 hours in the desert after his vehicle broke down.
Alejandro Agag, founder of Extreme E and co-creator of Formula E, added: "I’m thrilled to welcome another major name in the world of motorsport in Jenson Button. He is one of the most popular drivers in the business and Extreme E will give him the opportunity to live out one of his long-held passions, to compete at the highest level in off-road racing.
"Jenson, alongside his peers, will give further weight to our mission to raise awareness of the global climate crisis, while doing what we love - racing.”
Author: Jake Wilkin