Lotus Engineering partners with Jenson Button's Extreme E off-road racing team ahead of inaugural event

Lotus partners with Jenson Button's Extreme E off-road racing team ahead of inaugural event

Consultancy arm of Lotus brings Evija hypercar learnings to F1 champ's team

Lotus has teamed up with Jenson Button’s JBXE Racing team to take on the inaugural Extreme E electric off-road racing series, which begins this weekend in Saudi Arabia.

The 2009 F1 world champion’s team, for which Button will be sharing driving with multiple Scandinavian Touring Car race-winner Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, will benefit from the technical expertise of Lotus Engineering, the engineering consultancy arm of Group Lotus.

Lotus has said that its next sports car will be its last one to feature a petrol engine, and that it is to kill off the Elise, Exige and Evora models as it transitions to an electric brand. Its first pure-electric model is the incredible 1,973bhp Lotus Evija hypercar.

Matt Windle, managing director of Lotus Cars, said: “We are on the cusp of an exciting new era of electrified motorsport, and we’re delighted to support the JBXE team as Technical Partner. The complex technicalities of EV racing present a fascinating challenge, and using our learnings from more than a decade of electrifying sports cars – most recently with the Lotus Evija hypercar – we can bring valuable knowledge to the team.

“As the consultancy arm of our business, Lotus Engineering is growing from strength to strength with multiple major projects underway and a new home at the Lotus Advanced Technical Centre in Warwickshire. Supporting the JBXE team is another valuable demonstration of Lotus Engineering’s wide portfolio of interests – in this case, electrified motorsport.”

JBXE Racing said that it is looking forward to working together with Lotus Engineering to promote electrification and highlight the importance of sustainable solutions to help protect and preserve the planet.

The Extreme E series uses custom off-road racing vehicles powered by electric motors, which will be recharged using hydrogen generators, while the promoters wish to highlight environmental disasters such as plastic pollution, desertification and rising sea levels through its TV coverage and a documentary series.

The opening race of the 2021 Extreme E Championship,  the Desert X Prix, takes place on April 3 and 4 in AlUla, one of the oldest cities in the Arabian Peninsula and home to Hegra, a Uunesco World Heritage site.

Jenson Button, who last week told Driving.co.uk that his experienced rally champion opponents should be embarrassed if he beats them in Extreme E, said: “Lotus is a great British brand that is inextricably linked to motorsport, so we are delighted to welcome Lotus Engineering to JBXE.

“Extreme E is a unique and exciting formula, full of ‘world firsts’ and challenges, and to announce that a brand such as Lotus Engineering is coming on this journey with us is a proud moment for myself and the team.

“We are very excited about our new technical partnership and can’t wait to show what we can do in the first race this weekend.”

Windle added: “We look forward to sharing the journey together and experiencing the next phase of electric racing with an equally admirable sustainability agenda.”

Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “It’s fantastic that Lotus Engineering is entering Extreme E alongside Jenson Button’s JBXE team. The long-term success of our series relies on bringing in top automotive manufacturers to utilise our extreme racing platform as a testbed for accelerating electric mobility innovation for the wider industry.

“Lotus Engineering brings a wealth of experience in electrification and will no doubt prove a huge asset to the JBXE team. Welcome to the Extreme E family Lotus!”

– After reading the Lotus Engineering has partnered with Jenson Button’s Extreme E off-road racing team ahead of the inaugural event, you might like to read our interview with the F1 champ about his chances this season.
– Button is a busy boy right now, having joined forces with TV mechanic Ant Anstead and a car designer to bring back the Radford coachbuilding name.
– Ford more information about the Extreme E off-road racing car, called the Odyssey 21, click here