Extreme E driver Sara Price says series brings her ‘whole new light’ on climate change

Extreme E
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If she weren’t competing in the inaugural season of Extreme E, Sara Price concedes she might not be so aligned with the environmentally conscious series’ messaging

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has raced dirt bikes and off-road vehicles much of her life while living in the Riverside, California, area, and her garage has  “big trucks, because I’ve got to two big vehicles, so they’re not very gas efficient most of the time.”

But Price, who was the first driver hired by an Extreme E team, said she has become a believer in the series’ initiatives such as the “Count Us In Challenge,” which is encouraging fans to take individual steps on climate change.

“I think it’s awesome,” Price told NBC Sports in an interview this week. “I’m kind of new to the whole movement of the electric market and being more efficient, and it’s been something I’ve been learning quite a bit about and also advocating for because I’m someone who’s been getting into this whole new era of racing electric cars, and the behind the scenes is let’s take care of our planet a little bit more. So I’m standing up for that the best I can and the best ways I possibly can. Obviously, I still am an off-road racer. I’m still piloting gas and combustion engines, but it’s a pretty cool cause, and it just goes to show that every little bit counts.

“I’m not going to completely lie and be like I was this big advocate for electric vehicles or I was this person that was doing all these crazy things to save the world, because I wasn’t. But I also was aware to begin with, and I care, and now this has brought a whole new light to it for myself.”

The new circuit that will race electric SUVs with teams adhering to a gender equality format will kick off its season April 3-4 in Saudi Arabia – one of five race locations that are designed to raise awareness about climate change.

“More people watch sport than science documentaries, and with 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions coming from transport, Extreme E believes it can use its powerful media platform to shine a spotlight on the issues we face, and the need to act now to help protect our futures,” Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Extreme E (and Formula E), said in a release to announce the Count Us In Challenge. “We are proud to be joining forces with Count Us In as, in addition to raising awareness of the climate crisis, we can now drive our fans, teams, drivers and staff to take impactful action. All of course within a competitive campaign which matches our sporting ethos, and proves that all our actions no matter the scale, have a huge impact when combined.”

“Most items we use in our daily lives – from food to household goods – have traveled by road to reach stores and our homes and this, along with passenger vehicles, are major sources of toxic air pollution, responsible for one in ten deaths globally. The Extreme E Count Us In Challenge will bring the voice of racing fans, drivers, teams and sponsors to industry discussions and policymakers, highlighting the need to accelerate progress on clean transport. The campaign supports the UN’s Race to Zero initiative which, in the lead-up to COP26 this November in Glasgow, aims to bring together non-governmental stakeholders to advocate for accelerating the transition to a zero carbon world.”

In order to reduce its carbon footprint, Extreme E is shipping its vehicles and gear between locations by using an ocean liner.

Sara Price (Extreme E)

Price, who will be teamed with Kyle LeDuc for Ganassi’s team, said she has tried to take more accountability by being more clean, efficient with waste and avoiding processed materials.

“As well as just obviously, ‘Hey let’s carpool if we’re going to go somewhere.’Why waste the gasoline or whatever it takes to run a vehicle?”

Price still will be racing internal combustion off-road vehicles on the side as she pursues a career that she hopes eventually could take her to the car class of the Dakar Rally.

“Obviously, I’m a racer; that’s what is in my DNA,” she said. “That’s what is in my blood, and that’s what drives me. I also, though, want to be an advocate for good in the world, so it’s amazing to me that the series is about social media reaching out to people, showing them that, ‘Hey, this is what we’re standing for doing this series,’ and this is what we want to bring to your guys’ eyes and show you there are parts of the world that are really suffering and this is why. And this is what we can do to make them better.

“To be able to use racing to do that is just incredible to me. So yeah, definitely being part of the series has brought me on as a new fan and a new way to also be better.”

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