Button competing in Extreme E to improve off-road racing skills

Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button says he is competing in the inaugural Extreme E season because he is “not very good” at off-road racing but “really wants to be”.

Button competing in Extreme E to improve off-road racing skills

Button has contested the Mint 400 and Baja 1000 in 2019 aboard a 750bhp trophy truck but will now drive for his own JBXE team in Extreme E.

Son of British and Lydden Hill Rallycross racer John, Button will partner Extreme E tyre supplier Continental’s test driver Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky after she won the seat following a three-way private shootout in Wales.

Button, who made his last Formula 1 start in the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix, explained he had moved to Extreme E after he was priced out of an initial World Rallycross interest.

He said: “I had a couple of goes in a rallycross car, wanted to do that but the cost was just through the roof.

“It was around the time when all the manufacturers were getting involved [in World Rallycross] and it was £12-15 million to run a team.

“It was like ‘pfft, I’m not going to be able to find that amount’ for a category that’s not Formula 1, not the World Rally Championship,

“I thought it would be very difficult to bring in the sponsors and the partners.

“[Whereas in Extreme] I think to bring sponsors onboard, it’s probably the best category there is in motorsport right now.

“One, because it’s electric, it’s new technology and it’s something we’re all going to be using in our road cars in 10-15 years, everyone is going to be driving electric cars, or possibly hydrogen.

“So, from that point of view, I thought it was perfect.

“Wheel-to-wheel action with the best drivers in the world is great; male and female, it’s the first time that’s ever happened.

Motorsport Images will provide exclusive photography assignment and distribution services for the Extreme E series and teams.

Motorsport Images will provide exclusive photography assignment and distribution services for the Extreme E series and teams.

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Button added that his only target for the first-ever Extreme E round, which takes place in AlUla desert in Saudi Arabia this weekend, was “survival”.

He explained that his motivation to compete in Extreme E as a driver, beyond fellow F1 champions and team owners Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, was to improve his ability to race off-road.

“[I’m] really looking forward to it; it’s a very different experience to anything that I have driven and raced really on track,” Button said.

“It takes a long time to really get to grips with it, and it’s scary as well.

“The amount of dust you get with it, the visibility is not there that I was used to in a race car, and the consistency, lap after lap having the same kind of circuit. Every lap it changes a little bit but not much.

“It’s very unusual and I think that’s why I love it so much and want to keep doing it, is because I’m not very good at it yet, and I really want to be.”

The opening round of Extreme E will be broadcast live in the UK on Sky Sports, ITV and BBC platforms this weekend.

shares
comments

Related video

Extreme E alters Saudi Arabia format after dust concerns

Previous article

Extreme E alters Saudi Arabia format after dust concerns

Next article

How Extreme E’s charging solution could transform motorsport

How Extreme E’s charging solution could transform motorsport
Load comments
Why McLaren’s surprise electric path can benefit everyone involved Prime

Why McLaren’s surprise electric path can benefit everyone involved

McLaren's announcement that it will enter the Extreme E series for electric SUVs next year came as something of a surprise. But it brings benefits that other championships it could seek to enter cannot, while providing a timely boost to a start-up that has had to cancel two of its South American rounds.

Extreme E
Jun 13, 2021
Why Extreme E's Senegal round hints at the series' true potential Prime

Why Extreme E's Senegal round hints at the series' true potential

Extreme E's second round on the sands of Senegal refined some the more clunky aspects of the series' debut event in Saudi Arabia. Even though its star-studded finale between Lewis Hamilton's X44 team and Rosberg X Racing proved anticlimactic, the pieces are in place for the series to only get better

Extreme E
Jun 1, 2021
How Extreme E exceeded expectations to pass its first major test Prime

How Extreme E exceeded expectations to pass its first major test

The racing may have lacked the explosive conclusion to Formula E's first race in 2014 and was not without its hiccups. But Extreme E's leap into the unknown appears to have paid off, delivering a spectacle quite unlike anything else

Extreme E
Apr 5, 2021
Extreme E: The team-by-team guide Prime

Extreme E: The team-by-team guide

The world’s newest motorsport discipline is set to go racing for the first time this weekend. Extreme E’s innovations and plans have raised some eyebrows, but it also provides an exciting list of competitors and teams for the inaugural campaign

Extreme E
Apr 2, 2021
How Extreme E’s charging solution could transform motorsport Prime

How Extreme E’s charging solution could transform motorsport

The new off-road SUV series aims to go boldly into the unknown on several fronts, but perhaps its most significant measure will involve the energy source powering its fleet of cars

Extreme E
Apr 1, 2021
How XE's star power puts Formula E under pressure Prime

How XE's star power puts Formula E under pressure

With the addition of Jenson Button's own team to join the involvement of fellow Formula 1 champions Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in Extreme E's ranks, the new electric SUV series is brimming with star power to enable it to deliver on its promise

Extreme E
Jan 29, 2021
Driving the electric beast behind XE’s off-road eco-crusade Prime

Driving the electric beast behind XE’s off-road eco-crusade

In October, Motorsport.com headed to the South of France to sample the Odyssey 21 - the titanic 550bhp machine underpinning Alejandro Agag's latest electric venture. But for such a big beast, it's a nimble machine that should provide spectacular entertainment…

Extreme E
Dec 10, 2020
Why a fearsome ‘electric alliance’ will have lasting significance Prime

Why a fearsome ‘electric alliance’ will have lasting significance

OPINION: Formula E has invested in Extreme E to create a formal allegiance between the two most influential electric motorsport series. Allaying fears of financial uncertainty, together they will shape the future of battery-powered motorsport competition…

Formula E
Nov 4, 2020