Loeb replaced in Hamilton Extreme E team
By Iwan Jones
Wednesday 8th March, 2023 - 11:39am
Reigning Extreme E title winner Sebastien Loeb won’t be racing for Lewis Hamilton’s team this season.
The nine-time FIA World Rally Championship winner has been replaced in the X44 Vida Carbon Racing line-up by 2019 American Rallycross Championship winner Fraser McConnell, who will team up with Dakar Rally-stage winning driver Cristina Gutierrez.
It comes after Loeb and Gutierrez finished second in the inaugural Extreme E season, before claiming the title last year.
He suggested that he would be running a limited programme this year in the lead-up to the Dakar Rally, where he collected a record six consecutive stage wins on his way to finishing second to five-time champion Nasser Al-Attiyah.
The Frenchman has instead opted to focus on a World Rally-Raid Championship campaign with the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team.
Hamilton announces new direction for team
In a statement, Hamilton said the announcement represents a new direction for the team.
“I hope that X44 Vida Carbon Racing can be a powerful platform to provide opportunities to the next generation,” Hamilton said.
“It has never been more important that we, as an industry, take real action to move our sport forward and X44 Vida Carbon’s new direction is one of the ways I am committing to making that genuine change.”
On his appointment to the team, McConnell added: “I am delighted to join X44 Vida Carbon Racing, and to be part of a championship-winning team.
“I’m also looking forward to being part of a team that uses its platform to make the world a better place.
“I have always admired Lewis’s dedication to making our sport more inclusive and opening up opportunities for young talent, and I’m honoured to be part of that journey with him.”
Gutierrez is excited about the upcoming season, after her title victory last year.
“Following last season’s win, I am so excited to get back on track and give it my all again for the team,” she said.
“Fraser is an exciting young talent and I am looking forward to racing with him this year.”
2023 Extreme E driver line-up finalised
The reveal of the X44 Vida Carbon Racing line-up completes the Extreme E driver roster for this season, with recent announcements including Timo Schieder and Christine Giampaoli Zonca at Carl Cox Motorsport, Formula 1 race winner Heikki Kovalainen at the Jenson Button-owned JBXE alongside Hedda Hosas, as well as four-time Race of Champions winner Mattias Ekstrom and Laia Sanz at the Acciona Sainz XE Team.
Round 1 of the 2023 Extreme E season will take place in Saudi Arabia this weekend.
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