Jenson Button to drive in Extreme E for own team

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Former Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button will compete in the new Extreme E racing series for his own team.

Button, 41, joins other high-profile names who have signed up for the climate-aware series, including seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton.

“I’ve followed Extreme E with great interest – what they have managed to create is nothing short of incredible,” Briton Button said.

Extreme E will be streamed on the BBC iPlayer, Red Button and Sport website.

The new series, set to begin in April this year, will see a male and a female driver compete for each of the 10 teams in off-road electric ‘E-SUVs’.

Button’s female driver in his JXBE team is set to be announced in the coming weeks.

“I haven’t even seen the car yet,” said Button. “And I don’t know if I’ll be able to test it [before the series begins]. I need a lot of practice – I’ve signed up to a rally school.

“The cars are four-wheel drive monsters, and the format’s a bit like Star Wars pod racing,” added Button, who now lives in Los Angeles. “I’m up against rally champions such as [nine-time WRC winner] Sebastien Loeb.”

The series aims to raise awareness in areas around the world affected by climate change and visit territories – arctic, desert, rainforest, glacier and coastal – which have been affected, such as Greenland and Brazil’s Amazon region.

“The future will definitely be electric – you can’t have every single road car electric and have fuel-guzzling race cars,” added Button, who won the 2009 F1 world championship for the Brawn team.

“There are other possibilities that are very green, but electric is here and now, and there are regulations in many countries to stop building petrol cars.”

Who else is involved?

Button’s fellow Briton Hamilton recently announced he will enter his X44 team into the sport, as has his old Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg.

British female driver Jamie Chadwick has been selected as the female driver for the British Veloce team, who have F1 design legend Adrian Newey as part of their set-up.

Button added: “Owning a team makes me very proud. But I couldn’t just put my name to it, I had to go and drive it.

“Hamilton and Rosberg being there as well is so good for bringing awareness. It’ll bring a lot of eyes to it.”

BBC

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