Lewis Hamilton, Sebastien Loeb team up in Extreme E

Loeb Hamilton Extreme E
Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images
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Two of motorsports biggest names will pair up in the Extreme E series in 2021 when Sebastien Loeb joins Lewis Hamilton’s team behind the wheel of his X44 in Saudi Arabia on March 20-21. Cristina Gutierrez will be the female driver in this series that pairs male and female racers.

Hamilton announced earlier this year that he would field a car in the inaugural season of the five-race series that features electric SUVs in global locations most threatened by climate change. Extreme E has targeted five countries that are endangered by melting ice caps, deforestation, desertification and rising sea levels. Senegal, Greenland, Brazil, and Argentina will also host races.

Loeb established himself as one of the most successful rally racers all time with a record nine World Rally Championships and 79 race wins. His most recent World Rally Championship came in 2012. He also won the World Rallycross Championship three times from 2016-2018.

“Joining team X44 is an opportunity for me to continue to do what I love, which is race, and I’m looking forward to competing in an electric vehicle,” said Loeb in a press release. “I had the chance to drive the car recently and it is incredible. Cristina is a fantastic driver and I can’t wait to partner with her and see what we can achieve together.

“I am really impressed by what Lewis is doing in Formula 1 too, so to be able to work with him on this is an honor.”

Hamilton is the reigning Formula 1 champion, who clinched his record-tying seventh title in the Turkish GP with three races remaining on the 2020 schedule.

Gutierrez made history in the 2017 Dakar Rally by becoming the first Spanish female racer to finish in the car category. She was fifth among first time drivers that year.

“Not only will we get the opportunity to raise awareness of the climate crisis, which is very important to me, but I get to work with two heroes of mine,” Gutierrez added. “Sebastien Loeb is the most incredible rally driver of all time so I’m really happy that I get to partner with him and I hope to learn a lot.”

Loeb and Gutierrez recently tested their car at Donington Park Circuit’s off-road track. The series features a single-design Odyssey 21 electric SUV. Manufacturers have traditionally fielded cars as a way to test and develop the durability of their product and the series is designed to help pave the way for a less carbon-intensive future.

“We have now announced over half of the grid for our inaugural season and it is shaping up to be a fantastic competition with drivers, both male and female, from a mix of ages and motorsport disciplines getting behind the wheel of our electric SUV,” said Alejandro Agag, CEO and founder of Extreme E. “I can’t wait to go racing next year!”

The Extreme E driver lineup has begun to fill out ahead of its inaugural season.

Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor were recently announced as the drivers for Nico Rosberg’s entry. Noted American off-road racer Kyle Leduc and Sara Price were named as drivers for Chip Ganassi’s entryAndretti Autosport named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers for 2021.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III