World race car champion Lewis Hamilton is forming his own team for the new electric off-road racing series Extreme E, set to begin next year. The proposed racing series uses electric SUVs to race in extremely remote regions of the world, including arctic, desert, rainforest, glacier, and coastal, that are under threat due to climate change. The series is designed to raise awareness about the issue of climate change and the solution that electric vehicles offer. To minimize environmental impact, the races will not be open to spectators, with fans instead following the action through live TV broadcast, and on social media.
Hamilton’s new team is called X44, named after his car number for Mercedes in the Formula One racing series, of which he is a six-time world champion. As the team’s founder, Hamilton will not be behind the wheel but will help guide the creation of the team, which will be made up of seven personnel, including a professional female and male driver. “As founder of X44, I am looking forward to building my team around important values such as sustainability and equality,” Hamilton said. “None of us are perfect and we all have improvements to make, but I am excited to use our platform to highlight the most serious issues facing our planet and the solutions we can all be part of.” X44 will enter Season 1 of the Extreme E Championship, with its first X Prix race scheduled to take place in early 2021.
Hamilton—who has been vegan since 2017—has used his platform as a race car champion to promote a variety of issues that involve the environment, racial justice, and animal welfare, including urging his followers to go vegan, ditch leather, and boycott animal exploitation for entertainment.