Nine-time World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb has signed to race for seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton’s Extreme E team in 2021.

Loeb will race alongside Dakar driver Cristina Gutierrez at the X44 squad founded by Hamilton to contest the inaugural season of the Extreme E all-electric championship when it gets underway next year.

Along with fellow world champion and former F1 teammate Nico Rosberg, Hamilton is making his first foray into motorsport team ownership with an entry into the new series which will race across the globe at a number of remote locations in a bid to raise awareness of climate change - an issue close to Hamilton’s heart.

Loeb, who will be 47 by the time the first round gets underway, marks the latest high-profile signing and is a major coup for Extreme E, with fellow World Rally champion Carlos Sainz Sr also racing for his own team.

Double DTM winner Mattias Ekstrom and three-time World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson are also signed up to contest the championship’s first season.

Extreme E’s regulations state that each team must field one male and one female driver, with 26-year-old Spanish rallying regular Gutierrez completing the X44 team’s line-up for 2021.

“I’m delighted to welcome Sébastien and Cristina to X44,” Hamilton said. “They are both incredible drivers and I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re going to do out there at each race.

“Cristina is an upcoming talent with a great future ahead of her, and Sébastien is a driver I have admired for so many years so I’m so proud and excited to have them on board.”

Upon being confirmed as an Extreme E driver, Loeb said: “Joining team X44 is an opportunity for me to continue to do what I love, which is race, and I’m looking forward to competing in an electric vehicle - I had the chance to drive the car recently and it is incredible.

“Cristina is a fantastic driver and I can’t wait to partner with her and see what we can achieve together. I am really impressed by what Lewis is doing in Formula 1 too, so to be able to work with him on this is an honour.”

Gutierrez, who joined Loeb in taking part in a recent test of the car at Donington Park, added: “I am really excited to join X44. Not only will we get the opportunity to raise awareness of the climate crisis, which is very important to me, but I get to work with two heroes of mine.

“Sébastien Loeb is the most incredible rally driver of all time so I’m really happy that I get to partner with him and I hope to learn a lot.

“I’m a huge Formula 1 fan and have been watching Lewis race for years, so being asked to join his team is a dream come true. I drove in the car for the first time recently and it was such a great experience, I can’t wait to see what it can do at each race.”

 

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