Hamilton. Sainz. Andretti. Loeb. Rosberg. Ganassi. Button. Even before a wheel had turned in anger, Extreme E was already infused with a sumptuous motor sport pedigree. And while the notion of an electric SUV racing in remote locations might be anathema to anyone who thinks a racing car can look only like a Maserati 250F or a Brabham BT44, please bear with us.
Long before it had a name, this concept first fermented in the mind of Gil de Ferran, Indianapolis 500 winner, twice a champion in the now-defunct US-based CART/PPG series and a diehard petrolhead.
“I was just sitting at home,” he says, “wondering what motor sport could do for society, how it could combine an important message with a bit of entertainment and the whole thing started to crystallise in my mind, probably a few years ago now. I like to think of myself as creative, but as you go through the journey of life you come up with all sorts of ideas that are never going to work. I have a bucketful of those, so it’s nice that people grasped what Extreme E was all about and embraced it.”