Extreme E team owner Jenson Button says the challenging off-road series “is scarier than F1”, but the 2009 F1 world champion believes the adventurous racing category will see an influx of manufacturers in the future.
Button’s JBXE team jumped on the Extreme E bandwagon, along with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, just a few months before the series kicked off in Saudi Arabia.
But contrary to Rosberg, Button, added driving duties to his team boss role, leveraging on his Mint 400 and Baja 1000 off-road experiences.
However, after racing alongside teammate Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky in the sries’ first round in Saudi Arabia, Button elected to stand down for last weekend’s Ocean EPrix in Senegal where he was replaced by Kevin Hansen, although the Briton intends to race again in the series in the future.
“I’m definitely on the back foot but for me it’s all about learning, I want to do stuff that is challenging,” Button told Reuters. “However scary it is, I still want to race the car.
“In an F1 car you kind of know the limits… With this thing, it can throw you through a bush. It might be OK but there might be a giant boulder on the other side. It’s definitely a little bit scarier than F1.”
JBXE is partnering with Lotus Engineering, a subsidiary of the now Chinese-owned Lotus automotive company.
Button sees a bright future for the all-electric SUV category that races in remote locations to help promote sustainability and draw an interest to climate change issues, as it can serve as a “fantastic playground for manufacturers to really learn and prove out their systems”.
“And it’s a fun way to do it,” Button added. “It’s really good for Extreme E to have a manufacturer like Lotus and I think it will attract a lot more manufacturers.
“You will see the OEMs [carmakers] coming to the category, whether its next year or the year after. And it will just grow very quickly when we see that happen.”
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