“The series is so unique, it was tricky to find a reason why we wouldn’t do it. We see it the same as we saw Esports, as a honeypot, an enormous opportunity. It fits our mentality and our mindset.”
“It’s a cross between the America’s Cup, Blue Planet and the Dakar rally – I think that’s what we’re going to have as a spectacle.
“It’s funny, because for the last three or four years we’ve been saying to all the big, real-world manufacturers, athletes, and whoever else: ‘Trust us, the real world of motor sport needs esports and gaming more than it needs you.’
“Now, here we are going back into the real world with a real-world racing team, but for the right reasons. It’s raising awareness around climate change and it serves as a platform to develop further technology.
“As a sporting proposition, we’re really excited about it. We want to win – we’re taking this really, really seriously.”
Helping them take things seriously is the accomplished ART team, winners of titles in GP2, GP3 and F3, in addition to having DTM experience. The link-up with ART came from Veloce’s esports ventures.
“We’ve been working with Alfa Romeo Sauber for three years in Esports. Initially we were exploring a potential opportunity with Sauber but they’re pretty limited with personnel and the commitment to the F1 project. We looked further, but it became a no-brainer to work with [Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vausseur’s] ART.
Further completing the circle from real world to virtual and back again is its female driver, Jamie Chadwick, the last real-world driver signed by Veloce before it moved over to Esports. The W Series champion now has the chance to take on some of the all-time motor sport greats in Sébastien Loeb, Carlos Sainz Sr and Jenson Button.
“I’m so glad that we stuck with Jamie and we kept with her,” Svendsen-Cook says. “She’s been with Veloce family for three or four years now, and we always had a belief that we could take her a long way.
“She’s a total and utter off-road rookie, but an immense talent.”
Accompanying Chadwick will be arguably the best all-rounder in motorsport: Stéphane Sarrazin. The veteran driver has F1 experience, is a four-time runner up at Le Mans, has 22 WRC stars to his name and also an electric racing pedigree from Formula E.
Svendsen-Cook describes Extreme E as cross between “the America’s Cup, Blue Plant and Dakar”
The strength of Veloce’s ascendancy also persuaded F1 design guru Adrian Newey to join the Veloce Racing project, giving technical advice as well a being a face of the racing project.
Veloce already has one eye on the future of Extreme E, when teams will potentially be allowed to design their own drivetrains, as in Formula E.
“Adrian’s obviously very tied up with his former one commitments, but he does have great belief and great commitment to what we’re doing here,” Svendsen-Cook says.
“He doesn’t believe that batteries (which are powering Extreme E cars) are the long-term answer for the EV sector but he does think Extreme E is a great platform to develop further from where we are right now.
“That’s where Adrian will come into his own. He had his eyes over the technical regulations as soon as he could, his input’s been really useful.
“The ambition really is to have a conglomerate”
“The fact he endorses not just the series but also the Veloce itself is something we’re really proud of and we’re excited to expand that relationship as time goes on.”
Progress is unrelenting, and Veloce is already looking to the future, with Svendsen-Cook saying big developments could even be announced later this year – his company has already spied the next opportunity.
“I think there’s certainly legs in Veloce establishing an innovations arm,” he says.
“I just recently ordered my first electric car. We’re all making ‘the switch’. With that comes a much greater strain on infrastructure in the UK – there isn’t charging capacity or infrastructure for everybody to have an electric car yet, so there are opportunities abound.
“I think we sit really well to help bring that technology in and secure it – whether it be import rights of technology or developing our own patents in the sector and implementing them across the world. I really see that as a big opportunity for this company.”
It’s not just in the real world where Veloce continues its aggressive expansion though…
“When it comes to esports, we’ll be announcing our own league that we think is going to be the biggest racing esports league in the world. In quick order we’re also establishing a game integration – if not a game itself – that puts us in a really different spot.
“The goal and the ambition really is to have a conglomerate, and that sounds a bit punchy, but we’re gonna give it a good crack.”
Perhaps even the sky isn’t the limit, in this world and the virtual, for racing’s new ‘Brat Pack’.