Izabella Rekiel was excited to join Extreme E as its inaugural impact correspondent, but to take part this globe-trotting Australian DJ would have to change her life by spending the entire season aboard the St Helena.
In telling the story of the ship, its crew and their voyage around the world Izy saw firsthand the devastation being wrought by climate change and human behaviour but was inspired by a new perspective on the natural world and the growing number of people determined to save it.
James and Michael caught up with Izabella at the end of the 2021 season to hear about her year aboard the ship that makes Extreme E tick. Just don’t call it a boat.
As a teenager Christine GZ knew she loved motorsport. She had only one problem: she didn’t know what it was. But a chance meeting with an A92 Corolla in Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands set her on a cross-continental odyssey that would eventually lead her to Extreme E.
Along the way she taught herself to weld, became a mozzarella dealer, went to mechanic school, dabbled in tow truck ownership, sold everything she owned and jumped aeroplane wings in the Mojave Desert in an unlikely story of energy and perseverance.
GZ sat down with James and Michael at the 2021 Jurassic X Prix to recount her overwhelming journey to establish herself in international motorsport.
When Oli Bennett puts his mind to something, he makes it happen, and the owner of inaugural Extreme E team Xite Energy Racing has his sights set on success.
But the rallycross ace is aiming for victory off track as well as on it. The fitness fanatic with a background in nutrition and a brain for business has brewed Xite Energy in pursuit of not only an edge over the competition but also a new health-conscious direction for energy drinks.
Extreme E is his latest challenge, and James and Michael sat down with Oli at the season-ending 2021 Jurassic X Prix to talk about his feel behind the wheel and his understanding of the word ‘mouthfeel’.
Rosberg X Racing scrapes home to the inaugural Extreme E championship despite a Jurassic X Prix clean sweep for Team X44. We hear from the victorious Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor and from runners-up Cristina Gutiérrez and Sébastien Loeb, while James and Michael debrief the weekend from the never-ending mud of the Dorset course.
It’s the championship decider between Rosberg X Racing and X44 at the Jurassic X Prix. Timo Scheider and Tamara Molinaro give us their analysis of the Bovington course, Extreme E commentators Jennie Gow and Andrew Coley refuse to pick a favourite for the title, and James and Michael talk about free-living beavers and get stuck in some mud.
Jutta Kleinschmidt has always had smarts, but did she have skills? At age 30 she decided she had to know, and she traded her high-flying engineering job at BMW for the dust and sand of the Dakar. The rest is history: she smashed through the glass ceiling of the male-dominated off-road scene to become the first and so far only woman to win the Dakar Rally.
Cross-country had its first queen, so when Extreme E appeared on the horizon, the German national couldn’t help but get herself involved as an advisor, championship driver and, unexpectedly, a full-timer for Abt Cupra.
James and Michael sat down for a chat with Jutta to discuss her switch from the factory to the track, her historic Dakar victory and getting thrown in the Extreme E deep end in her happy place in Senegal.
And with one round to go in the inaugural Extreme E season, we check in with the Count Us In challenge to learn how we can all make practical commitments to fight climate change.
If you had to pick Alejandro Agag’s spirit animal, you probably wouldn’t choose the donkey, yet it’s to the attitude of this humble farmyard animal that the Extreme E CEO credits his success: don’t get distracted and keep your eyes on the prize.
But no common donkey could have made itself the youngest person elected to European Parliament, and a lack of opposable thumbs would have made launching two pioneering electric racing series unmanageably complex.
But Alejandro has done all those things and much more, and on the eve of the finale of Extreme E’s inaugural championship James and Michael caught up with the man who set it all up to talk about what’s motivated him to dominate the electric racing scene, his hopes for the future of the planet and what it’s like to buy a massive ship.
We also hear the final part of our chat with Professor Lucy Woodall from the Extreme E scientific committee about the importance of uniting people from different walks of life in the fight against climate change.
Catie Munnings’ rise has been as rapid as her pace behind the wheel, and whether it’s debuting in the European Rally Championship while still taking her final-year exams or becoming a TV presenter to fund her racing career, there’s nothing she does by half measures.
In 2021 she’s had a new reason to go flat out, taking up a position as one of Andretti United’s drivers in the inaugural Extreme E season, and with Timmy Hansen she became a race winner in Greenland. James and Michael caught up with Catie after the Arctic X Prix to talk about that victory and her newfound appreciation for pizza dough.
Plus we hear from Professor Lucy Woodall from the Extreme E scientific committee about the danger of microplastics and the role of plastic production in the climate crisis.
Rosberg X Racing puts one hand on the Extreme E championship with victory in the Enel X Island X Prix after the car-destroying Sardinia course broke steering and hearts at Chip Ganassi Racing. We hear from Professor Lucy Woodall on the role of climate change in the natural disasters afflicting the Mediterranean. James and Michael come up with a new tagline for the series.
James and Michael spell out the championship picture with series commentator Andrew Coley ahead of the Enel X Island X Prix, Tamara Molinaro and Timo Scheider give us the inside line on the Sardinia course, and Professor Lucy Woodall explains the importance of Seagrass and blue carbon in our battle with climate change.
You can’t keep Sara Price away from racing, even if she has to take some detours to get there. When the global financial crisis derailed her meteoric motocross rise, she opened her own auto paint business. Then she became a stuntwoman. And eventually she transitioned to car racing, and her irresistible rise continued.
The stars were aligned for Sara again, and her career was about to take its latest turn: in 2020 she claimed the unique status as the first drive announced to compete in Extreme E, and with none other than iconic American racing dynasty Chip Ganassi.
James and Michael caught up with Sara after the Arctic X Prix to ask her about her transition from two wheels to four, racing non-stop through the night in the desert and camping on the Arctic ice cap — and falling into a river in the process.
We also hear from Professor Lucy Woodall from the Extreme E scientific committee ahead of the Island X Prix to get a sense of the global scale of the challenge facing our oceans.
Even if you’ve never seen his face, you’ve almost certainly heard his voice: Scot Elkins’s dulcet tones grace not only Extreme E as the voice of the race director but an impressively large array of other high-profile motorsport series the world over.
If you had to define Scot’s motorsport career, it might boil down to one word: yes. Never afraid to agree to a new challenge, he agreed to commit his directing prowess to Extreme E before he even knew what it was, adding yet another feather to a broadening hat.
James and Michael managed to crowbar some time into Scot’s busy schedule after the hectic Arctic X Prix to talk about his life on the road and his lesser known passion for guitars.
Plus we hear from Extreme E CEO Alejandro Agag on the power motorsport has to influence positive change in the race for the planet.
There’s nothing Timo Scheider won’t try. A karting champion before he was even allowed to race in his native Germany, he’s an endurance-race winner, a Le Mans podium-getter and a two-time DTM champion.
So when Extreme E beckoned as a new challenge, Timo had to be involved, and he’s now a key part of the team responsible for laying out the championship’s challenging courses as well as one of two nominated ‘joker’ drivers on call each weekend.
Timo caught up with James and Michael to explain how he was ‘stupid and crazy’ enough to reinvent himself as a track designer for Extreme E.
And we hear from series scientist Professor Richard Washington, key 2015 Paris Agreement architect Christiana Figueres and UN climate ambassador Lucas di Grassi about the race to zero emissions in the Extreme E workshop Tipping Point.
Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen score their maiden Extreme E victory in an epic Arctic duel with Molly Taylor and Johan Kristoffersson, Carlos Duarte sums up the climate change threat posed by Greenland’s receding ice sheet, and James and Michael apologise for accidentally cursing two teams in Kangerlussuaq.
Timo Scheider gives us the inside line on Arctic X Prix course, Carlos Duarte explains why Greenland is at the centre of climate change, and James and Michael run through the format changes for this weekend in Kangerlussuaq.
Molly Taylor started life wanting to represent Australia as an Olympic equestrian rider, but after her first taste of racing she traded horses for horsepower on her way to the 2016 Australian Rally Championship title with Subaru, following in her mother’s championship-winning footsteps.
But now she has her eyes on an all-new prize.
Off Track brings you great stories, amazing insights and a lot of laughs from the people on and off the track in Extreme E. In each episode James Baldwin and Michael Lamonato chat with some of the biggest names in the paddock as well the experts tackling the climate and sustainability challenges facing our planet.