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Jimmie Johnson, Travis Pastrana to join Extreme E

NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson's Legacy Motor Club outfit will enter Extreme E this year and make its first entry this weekend in Saudi Arabia.

Travis Pastrana, 23XI Racing, Black Rifle Coffee Toyota Camry

Travis Pastrana, 23XI Racing, Black Rifle Coffee Toyota Camry

Lesley Ann Miller / Motorsport Images

LMC, which fields two full-time entries in NASCAR’s Cup Series and a part-time entry for Johnson, will make its Extreme E debut in the 17-18 February Desert X Prix with drivers Travis Pastrana and Gray Leadbetter.

Extreme E is an FIA-sanctioned international off-road racing series that uses spec silhouette electric SUVs to race in remote parts of the world. By the 2025 season, the series will transition to become Extreme H when it will run under hydrogen power.

The team's entry into the championship follows the departure of Lewis Hamilton's X44 team, Chip Ganassi Racing and the Abt Cupra team over the off-season, and was described by championship manager Ali Russell as “a huge coup”.

“The opportunity for LEGACY MC to field an off-road vehicle in the Extreme E championship is exciting in many ways,” said Johnson, who won a record-tying seven Cup titles.

“We are essentially representing America in this unique and very competitive series, and we are committed to the challenge.

“I’m excited to watch our Legacy Motor Club colours race on foreign soil for the first time while I’m in Daytona for the ‘Great American Race.’

“I know Travis and Gray will represent us well and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish.”

#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Jimmie Johnson

#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Jimmie Johnson

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Both Pastrana and Leadbetter will make their Extreme E debuts.

Leadbetter, 19, started driving in the Championship Off-Road series in 2019 and was the first woman to win a U.S. Pro Class Championship in the Championship Off-Road closed-course series, winning four races overall to take the crown.

In December 2020, she was the first woman and youngest competitor to win a Sportsman SXS race. She started competing in Arenacross when she was five years old.

“When Travis texted me last week that there might be a chance to race with Jimmie Johnson and Legacy M.C., I couldn’t have been more thrilled,” Leadbetter said.

“I’ve never driven these cars so it’s sure to be an adventure, but I will be in great company.”

Pastrana meanwhile is a motorsports legend. A three-time motocross champion, he is a multi-time and multi-disciplinary X Games gold medalist with a versatile and high-profile racing career that has also ventured into NASCAR with a Daytona 500 outing last year for 23XI Racing.

“I have quite a bit of experience in electric vehicles, although I've never been in an Extreme E Odyssey 21 before,” said Pastrana, a regular at the Race of Champions invitational events.

“I compete in a lot of off-road events and some desert stuff – mostly on two wheels – but this should be really fun for us.

Travis Pastrana, 23XI Racing, Black Rifle Coffee Toyota Camry, Jimmie Johnson, Legacy Motor Club, Carvana Chevrolet Camaro

Travis Pastrana, 23XI Racing, Black Rifle Coffee Toyota Camry, Jimmie Johnson, Legacy Motor Club, Carvana Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: NASCAR Media

“I believe in Jimmie Johnson and in Legacy M.C. and all he is doing with the Club, so when he asked me, it was a no-brainer.”

Johnson plans to compete in some events as his schedule permits.

“From a technical standpoint the changeover to hydrogen in 2025 is really intriguing and the entire motorsports community is watching closely,” he said.

“Personally for me as a driver, going back to my off-road roots and to the type of racing I started my career with is going to be a blast.”

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