Andreas Bakkerud will return to Jenson Button’s JBXE Extreme E team this year for his first full season in the electric off-road category, and will be joined by Dania Akeel at next week’s Saudi Arabia season opener.
Bakkerud joined the team from the second event of last season, replacing Formula 1 race winner Heikki Kovalainen after serving as series reserve driver at last year’s Saudi Arabia event. He was partnered with Hedda Hosaas for the majority of the season, with Tamara Molinaro stepping in for the final two rounds of the season after Hosaas switched to McLaren.
“I’m thrilled to be back with JBXE for 2024. It is great to be a part of this championship and I can’t wait for the new season,” said Bakkerud. “This will be my first time racing in the sand, last year I got to be ringside watching the epic scenery of the race in NEOM, and now I’m just pumped getting to race it.
“Welcoming Dania as a teammate is an exciting prospect. Her rise through the motorsport ranks has been monumental and I’m optimistic about what can happen when we head to Saudi Arabia for the opening rounds of the campaign.”
Akeel, the first Saudi to gain a license to race motorcycles, has been racing cars since 2021 and has competed in the Dakar rally, the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, and the Saudi Toyota Rally Championship’s T3 category.
“I’m very excited to join the fun that I’ve been witnessing at Extreme E since it started. Sport is the perfect medium for both work and play, and I’m looking forward to what I’ll learn in this type of racing,” she said. “Being home for the first round will have its comforts, and I couldn’t ask for a nicer start.
“Thank you to the JBXE team for this opportunity; working with Jenson is a true privilege given his incredible career, and I aim to deliver my absolute best for us all. Wishing everyone a great season!”
Team namesake Jenson Button added, “I am delighted to welcome Andreas back to JBXE and it is great to have Dania make her Extreme E debut with us. I believe we have got a strong driver pairing for 2024.
“Andreas’ experience with the team gives us a great platform to achieve positive results this season, while Dania has demonstrated her off-road capabilities in other categories and that will give us plenty of experience for the season ahead. I’m confident we can hit the ground running at the Desert X Prix, especially in Dania’s home event, and we are really looking forward to the new season.”