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Current Extreme E competitors give hydrogen move the thumbs-up

Current Extreme E competitors have thrown their weight behind the championship’s transition to Extreme H following the launch of the hydrogen-powered Pioneer 25.

Covers came off the car at an event held on the series’ showpiece St. Helena ship – which handles the series’ logistics and serves as a central hub for the championship – on the River Thames in London on Thursday, and bosses of the 2024 Extreme E participants responded with acclaim.

“This new era of motorsport is exciting to witness,” said Kimmo Liimatainen, team principal of the two-time champion and current points-leading Rosberg X Racing team. “The launch of Extreme H is a natural step forward, improving technology and racing while keeping Extreme E’s core values in the race against climate change.

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“Our team’s current focus remains on this season of Extreme E and hopefully securing our third championship, but Extreme H is an exciting venture for all of us to consider.”

Carlos Sainz, whose Acciona Sainz team is currently second in the points, added, “Venturing into hydrogen is a really exciting prospect for our series. It is all about pioneering new paths into sustainable mobility and this championship is unique in the sense that it puts the latest technology to the test in the toughest environments in the world. Hydrogen has a future both on the road but also in racing. Extreme H will be a world-first and a key steppingstone into that tomorrow.”

While hydrogen is a new solution for motorsport, particularly in the off-road arena – as Sainz alluded to – the championship will look to serve the further development of the technology for wider applications. It’s something that NEOM McLaren managing director Ian James believes is a big draw for the series as it evolves.

“As a team that currently competes in the Extreme E Championship, we’ve been excited to see the plans for Extreme H take shape,” he said. “We believe that this is a great direction for the championship – tapping into a new technology that is currently underrepresented within motorsport.

“Hydrogen provides a genuine solution for the future of mobility and Extreme H will provide an exciting platform to showcase its potential. Coupled with its unmatched focus on equality, the championship continues to be a pioneer in motorsport. We will watch further developments with interest.”

While most teams have been coy on their actual commitment to the rebranded series from next season so far – aside from SUN Minimeal, whose CEO Wolfgang Grabher said, “We are excited to be part of the first hydrogen-powered motorsport championship and believe in the future of hydrogen” – all are upbeat at the direction that the four-year-old series is taking.

“It is great to see the plans and first car for the Extreme H championship unveiled, for what is a landmark moment for motorsport,” said E.ON Next Veloce Racing CEO Dan Bailey. “E.ON Next Veloce Racing always supports innovation, which is exactly why we got involved in Extreme E from the very beginning.

“Hydrogen is a key pillar for the future of the automotive industry, and we’re excited and supportive of the future plans for the championship and its hydrogen-powered future.”

Roger Griffiths, Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E, team principal, added, “As we continue to explore sustainable innovations in motorsport, we commend the launch of Extreme H and its ambitious move towards hydrogen-powered racing.

“At Andretti Global, we have always supported initiatives that push the boundaries of technology while prioritizing environmental interests. The development of green hydrogen as a fuel source represents an exciting advancement in the pursuit of sustainable energy solutions, and we look forward to seeing how Extreme H will inspire further progress and innovation within motorsport and beyond.”

Jenson Button, who raced in the first season of Extreme E and has continued to support the championship with his JBXE team, was impressed to see such a young championship take such a bold step.

“For Extreme E to be evolving into Extreme H is incredibly exciting and a brilliant step forward in such a short space of time for the series,” he said. “To see racing of this caliber powered by hydrogen fuel cells, which will allow for even more racing with less impact, is remarkable.”

Seven-time NASCAR Cup series champion Jimmie Johnson, who joined Extreme E this season with his Legacy Motor Club team, added that the move will prompt other series to sit up and take note.

“This is a forward-thinking championship and the evolution to hydrogen and Extreme H is so innovative,” he said. “From a technical standpoint the changeover to hydrogen in 2025 is really intriguing and the entire motorsports community is watching closely, and we are really looking forward to being a part of it.”

Alongside the new car unveiling and Extreme H calendar announcement, which will see it host 10 races in five locations across the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S., Red Bull strengthened its commitment to the series by becoming Extreme H’s official energy drink sponsor, having been a long-time backer to many of Extreme E’s participants. Of the 16 drivers that have competed in Extreme E so far this season, nine currently carry backing from the Austrian energy drink brand, while two more have been sponsored by it in the past.

Story originally appeared on Racer