Ganassi becomes seventh team to confirm Extreme E entry
IndyCar and NASCAR Cup team Chip Ganassi Racing has announced its first electric motorsport programme with an entry into the inaugural 2021 Extreme E campaign.
The American squad has amassed seven IndyCar championships, four Champ Car titles and four victories in the Indianapolis 500.
Eponymous owner and former racer Chip Ganassi has also led the team to success in the blue-riband Daytona 500 NASCAR race, the Sebring 12 Hours and the GTE Pro class of the Le Mans 24 Hours with the now-defunct Ford GT programme that ran in conjunction with Multimatic.
It joins recently announced Andretti Autosport as a major American backer of the first season for the all-electric off-road SUV series, which is set to launch with a January round in Senegal.
Ganassi said: “Extreme E is a very different proposition to anything we have done before, but it’s where I think motor racing is headed in the future.
“When I started our team in 1990, one of the founding principles I built it on was innovation.
“I’ve always been passionate about pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and Extreme E checks that box for us in a big way.
“It represents an opportunity in motor racing to use the latest technologies to attract a new, younger audience to this great sport of ours.
“Everything about Extreme E is cool, from the car to the race format and the in-built technology. We’re thrilled to join the championship and to play a part in developing the future of our sport.”
Series founder and CEO Alejandro Agag said the first round could be delayed by four to six weeks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
This follows a month-long factory shutdown of Spark Racing Technologies, which is building the fleet of 550bhp ODYSSEY 21 cars - made up of two Formula E powertrains.
Agag said: “It’s fantastic to be able to confirm Chip Ganassi Racing’s participation in Extreme E, marking this hugely successful team’s progression into electric racing.
"CGR boasts a tremendous heritage and pedigree in motorsport, achieving consistent success over three decades in some of the toughest single-seater and sportscar series around.
“Of course, our championship poses a very different kind of challenge, but the team has proven itself to be a winner in every discipline it has contested and clearly possesses the skillset to similarly excel in Extreme E.
“I am confident that his team will add great value to Extreme E in our drive to propagate the environmental message and engineer long-lasting change through first-class sporting entertainment.”
Chip Ganassi Racing becomes the seventh team confirmed for Extreme E, joining Andretti Autosport, HWA, Venturi, Abt Sportsline, Veloce and QEV Technologies.Agag originally targeted 12 teams to launch the series, but has since scaled that back to eight due to the expected economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.