Rosberg X Racing drivers Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor crowned as first Xtreme E champions

Rosberg Racing Extreme E
Extreme E

After finishing fourth in the final round of the inaugural five-race Extreme E season, Rosberg X Racing with drivers Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor were crowned champions. The season ended with a tie for the top spot with X44’s Sebastian Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez also earning 155 points, but the tiebreaker went to Rosberg X on the strength of that team’s three wins.

Rosberg Racing won the first two rounds and Round 4, which gave them the lead heading into the finale. X44, owned by Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton and rally standout Sebastien Loeb, did their best to close the gap by winning the final round, the Jurassic X Prix. Rosberg Racing finished fourth in that race to force the tie.

“It’s fantastic; this has been a new racing series, new team, and new locations but we’ve worked so hard to get here, and to be champions really feels amazing,” Kristoffersson said in a series release. “Molly drove excellently today, managing the challenging conditions and I knew that all that remained for me was to not make any mistakes and bring the car home safely. We’re delighted to be champions and look forward to celebrating with the team.”

In most racing series, there can be only one champion. The unique rules of Extreme E pair a male and female driver in each team and provide two champions.

“It feels amazing to be the first-ever championship winners of Extreme E,” said Taylor. “This season has been brutal, racing in some of the most remote parts of the world in truly extreme conditions, but we’ve worked together as a team and we’re delighted with this result.

“The nerves were definitely there today but Johan and I kept our eyes on the final prize, and the whole team effort across many months has brought us to this point today.”

While the top two teams finished first and fourth, the start of the final race of the season saw them leave the starting line wheel-to-wheel. Gutierrez feathered her Odyssey 21 to full power on the loose soil quickest with Taylor falling into second. As the race progressed, Taylor was passed by Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky (JBXE) and Catie Munnings (Andretti United). Taylor could not afford to fall any lower if Rosberg Racing wanted to win the title.

When the driving duties were handed over to Kristoffersson, the drama evaporated in the Driver Switch Zone as Rosberg X Racing padded the advantage over the Carlos Sainz led team. Securing the fourth position was enough to create the tiebreaker.

“This has been a challenging championship for us, but this weekend was the best so far,” said race winner and second-place championship contender Loeb. “We came first in qualifying in every X Prix, but we kept having bad luck in the finals – so to end on equal points with RXR after the season they’ve had is incredible and shows what we can do.

“I’m confident we will do even better next year, but for now we will be celebrating with the team.”

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”