Button's Extreme E team announces tie-up with Lotus Engineering
The JBXE team entered into Extreme E by Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button has signed a technical partnership with Lotus Engineering, the consultancy arm of the Lotus group.
The inaugural Extreme E season kicks off this weekend with the Desert X-Prix in the AlUla region of Saudi Arabia, which will be broadcast in the UK via ITV, BT Sport, Sky Sports and online BBC services.
Ahead of the event, JBXE has become the third of the nine teams entered to announce a partnership with an automotive manufacturer courtesy of its new deal with Lotus Engineering.
New Lotus owner Geely is pushing the marque further towards electrification, and the flagship all-electric 1970bhp Evija model is currently in the latter stages of its development.
Lotus Engineering will use this experience to support JBXE in the fledgling all-electric SUV off-road racing championship, which has been launched by Formula E co-founder Alejandro Agag.
Button, who will be driving for his own team, said: “Lotus is a great British brand that is inextricably linked to motorsport, so we are delighted to welcome Lotus Engineering to JBXE.
“Extreme E is a unique and exciting formula, full of 'world firsts' and challenges, and to announce that a brand such as Lotus Engineering is coming on this journey with us is a proud moment for myself and the team.
“We are very excited about our new technical partnership and can’t wait to show what we can do in the first race this weekend.”
Lotus joins Cupra and GMC as OEMs involved in the championship. SEAT offshoot Cupra will maintain the long-standing Volkswagen Group alliance with the Abt race team through its partnership.
GMC has backed Chip Ganassi Racing ahead of the 2022 revival of Hummer, led by an all-electric 1000bhp model. Its Odyssey 21 Extreme E car has received a new grille to resemble the road car.
Matt Windle, the managing director of Lotus Cars, added: “We are on the cusp of an exciting new era of electrified motorsport, and we’re delighted to support the JBXE team as technical partner.
“The complex technicalities of EV racing present a fascinating challenge, and using our learnings from more than a decade of electrifying sports cars – most recently with the Lotus Evija hypercar – we can bring valuable knowledge to the team.”
“As the consultancy arm of our business, Lotus Engineering is growing from strength to strength with multiple major projects underway and a new home at the Lotus Advanced Technical Centre in Warwickshire.
“Supporting the JBXE team is another valuable demonstration of Lotus Engineering’s wide portfolio of interests – in this case, electrified motorsport.
“We look forward to sharing the journey together and experiencing the next phase of electric racing with an equally admirable sustainability agenda.”
The Extreme E driver line-up has been completed by JBXE’s signing of Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky.
The first female to score pole positions and race wins in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship, Ahlin-Kottulinsky has also operated as the test driver for Extreme E tyre supplier Continental.
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