Six-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has founded his own racing team called X44, which will make its debut in the new electric off-road racing series Extreme E. Hamilton himself will not participate as a driver.
As the team’s founder, Hamilton will not be behind the wheel or involved in the day-to-day running of the team, as the racing series’ announcement states. Rather, he wants to “put the learnings of his motorsport career into practice to help guide the creation of a dedicated and competitive team”.
The first round of the Extreme E, called X-Prix, is scheduled to take place in early 2021. The electric races are planned in five remote locations in Arctic, desert, rain forest, glacial and coastal environments to raise awareness of the environmental problems being faced there.
The team name X44 refers with the X to the four-wheel-drive racing cars and the name of the racing series itself, the 44 is Hamilton’s starting number in Formula 1. X44 will be the eighth team in the new racing series. Should Mercedes – as happened in Formula E – one day take over the starting position of HWA, Hamilton would compete against his current employer in Extreme E.
Hamilton himself stated that he was attracted to Extreme E because of its environmental orientation. “Every single one of us has the power to make a difference, and it means so much to me that I can use my love of racing, together with my love for our planet, to have a positive impact,” said the Formula 1 world champion.
“Of course, my ambitions and commitments with Mercedes in Formula One mean that I won’t be operationally involved in X44,” continued Hamilton, “but I’m excited to play a different role in this new series, one that brings my vision for a more sustainable and equal world to life.”
“Like us, Lewis is hugely passionate about motorsport, but also shares our belief that we can use sport to highlight subjects which are vital to the world, such as climate change and equality,” says series founder Alejandro Agag. “Lewis is one of the most successful drivers of all time, and we’re all excited to see how his X44 team performs on and off the race track under his incredible guidance.”
The Extreme E is driven with standard cars. The Odyssey 21 manufactured by Spark Racing Technology accelerates to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and, importantly for off-road use, can negotiate gradients of up to 130 per cent.