Molly Taylor joins Rosberg Xtreme for Extreme E inaugural season

Taylor Rosberg Extreme Xtreme
Extreme E
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Molly Taylor will race for Rosberg Xtreme Racing in the inaugural season of the Extreme E series.

Taylor adds her name to a roster of championship caliber racers that includes car owner Nico Rosberg and teammate Johan Kristoffersson, a three-time FIA World Rallycross champion.

Extreme E teams will each have a male and female driver as the series seeks to race environmentally friendly electric SUVs worldwide. Pairing male and female drivers in the series is a way to promote gender equality in racing while the series itself addresses climate change.

The inaugural five-race season will compete in Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and Argentina.

Taylor brings experience as a former Australian Rally Champion and the only female to win in that series so far. She won the 2016 championship there and finished in the top three standings in four of five season from 2015 through 2019.

Rosberg Xtreme Racing has its roots in Team Rosberg, which was founded by 1982 F1 champion Keke Rosberg. Over the years, the team has competed in several series including Formula 3 and DTM (German Touring Championship). The team has 38 DTM victories and three driver championships to their credit.

Rosberg’s entry will not be the only team with a connection to Formula 1. Earlier this year Lewis Hamilton announced he would field a team in the Extreme E series.

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“I’m delighted Molly has been snapped up by Rosberg Xtreme Racing,” said Alejandro Agag, CEO and Founder at Extreme E in a press release. “As a member of the Extreme E Drivers’ Programme it is great to see her secure a seat for the first season.

“I’m sure Molly and recently announced teammate Johan Kristoffersson are going to be a strong paring on the track, and I’m looking forward to seeing them behind the wheel at the upcoming test.”

In addition to her exploits as a driver, Taylor is an ambassador for FIA Girls on Track, which seeks to support women entering the motorsport industry.

“It feels amazing to be joining Rosberg Xtreme Racing and Extreme E on this new adventure,” Taylor said. “I’m so excited to be able to compete on the international stage again, and to be part of a completely new team and series makes it even more special.

“Alongside fighting climate change, I’m excited to work together as a team and series to promote equality. One part of motorsport I’ve always admired is that once the helmet goes on, your gender becomes irrelevant and the stopwatch has no bias. There’s still a lot of work to do to improve the diversity in our industry, but the work RXR and Extreme E are doing will provide new opportunities to reshape the image of our sport in the eyes of young fans, and I’m thrilled to be a part of that.”

The inaugural season of Extreme E will begin in Saudi Arabia on March 20-21 2021, marking the first X Prix in a five-event schedule.

Extreme E 2021 Schedule:

March 20-21: Desert X Prix: AlUla, Saudi Arabia
May 29-30: Ocean X Prix: Lac Rose, Senegal
August 28-29: Arctic X Prix: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
October 23-24: Amazon X Prix: Para, Brazil
December 11-12: Glacier X Prix: Patagonia, Argentina

Cadillac, Acura battle for top speed as cars back on track for Rolex 24 at Daytona practice

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The new hybrid prototypes of Cadillac and Acura battled atop the speed chart as practice resumed Thursday for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Richard Westbrook was fastest Thursday afternoon in the No. 02 Cadillac V-LMDh with a 1-minute, 35.185-second lap around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

That pace topped Ricky Taylor’s 1:35.366 lap that topped the Thursday morning session that marked the first time the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was back on track since qualifying Sunday afternoon that concluded the four-day Roar Before The Rolex 24 test.

In a final session Thursday night, Matt Campbell was fastest (1:35.802) in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsports Porsche 963 but still was off the times set by Westbrook and Taylor.

Punctuated by Tom Blomqvist’s pole position for defending race winner Meyer Shank Racing, the Acura ARX-06s had been fastest for much of the Roar and led four consecutive practice sessions.

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But the times have been extremely tight in the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) category that has brought hybrid engines to IMSA’s premier class. Only 0.9 seconds separated the nine LMDh cars in GTP in qualifying, and though the spread slightly widened to 1.378 seconds in Thursday’s practices with teams on varying strategies and preparation, Westbrook still pooh-poohed the importance of speeds.

“It’s always nice to be at the top, but I don’t think it means too much or read too much into it” Westbrook said. “Big fuel tanks in the GTP class this year, so you have no idea what fuel levels people are running. We had a good run, and the car is really enjoyable to drive now. I definitely wasn’t saying that a month ago.

“It really does feel good now. We are working on performance and definitely unlocking some potential, and it just gives us more confidence going into the race. It’s going to be super tight. Everyone’s got the same power, everyone has the same downforce, everyone has the same drag levels and let’s just go race.”

Because teams have put such a premium on reliability, handling mostly has suffered in the GTPs, but Westbrook said the tide had turned Thursday.

“These cars are so competitive, and you were just running it for the sake of running it in the beginning, and there’s so much going on, you don’t really have time to work on performance,” he said. “A lot of emphasis was on durability in the beginning, and rightly so, but now finally we can work on performance, and that’s the same for other manufacturers as well. But we’re worrying about ourselves and improving every run, and I think everybody’s pretty happy with their Cadillac right now.”

Mike Shank, co-owner of Blomqvist’s No. 60 on the pole, said his team still was facing reliability problems despite its speed.

“We address them literally every hour,” Shank said. “We’re addressing some little thing we’re doing better to try to make it last. And also we’re talking about how we race the race, which will be different from years past.

“Just think about every system in the car, I’m not going to say which ones we’re working on, but there are systems in the car that ORECA and HPD are continually trying to improve. By the way, sometimes we put them on the car and take them off before it even goes out on the track because something didn’t work with electronics. There’s so much programming. So many departments have to talk to each other. That bridge gets broken from a code not being totally correct, and the car won’t run. Or the power steering turns off.”

Former Rolex 24 winner Renger van der Zande of Ganassi said it still is a waiting game until the 24-hour race begins Saturday shortly after 1:30 p.m.

“I think the performance of the car is good,” van der Zande said. “No drama. We’re chipping away on setup step by step and the team is in control. It’s crazy out there what people do on the track at the moment. It’s about staying cool and peak at the right moment, and it’s not the right moment yet for that. We’ll keep digging.”


PRACTICE RESULTS:

Click here for Session I (by class)

Click here for Session II (by class)

Click here for Session III (by class)

Combined speeds