Staff proprietor and 2009 Method One world champion Jenson Button expects the brand new Excessive E off-road racing sequence for electrical SUVs to see an inflow of producers within the subsequent yr or two.
Button’s JBXE group is partnered by Lotus Engineering, a subsidiary of the British sportscar maker, in a sequence that races in distant areas to spotlight local weather change and promote sustainability.
A Lotus engineer joined the group final weekend for the second spherical within the coastal dunes of Senegal, with JBXE ending third.
“It must be a improbable playground for producers to essentially be taught and show out their techniques. And it’s a enjoyable strategy to do it,” Button mentioned by video convention from his residence in Los Angeles.
“It’s actually good for Excessive E to have a producer like Lotus and I believe it’s going to appeal to much more producers.
“You will note the OEMs (carmakers) coming to the class, whether or not its subsequent yr or the yr after. And it’ll simply develop in a short time once we see that occur.”
Lotus, owned by China’s Geely and Malaysia’s Etika Automotive, hopes to promote solely electrical vehicles by 2028 with a brand new plant within the Chinese language metropolis of Wuhan and ‘life-style’ fashions anticipated to incorporate an electrical SUV.
Group Lotus PR supervisor Rob Borrett hoped the partnership can be an extended one and mentioned it was all about studying for the longer term.
“What higher race sequence to be in from the start than Excessive E for us,” he added.
Volkswagen-owned Seat’s Cupra model is the opposite automotive producer concerned in Excessive E as a technical accomplice to Germany-based ABT.
The groups all use ODYSSEY 21 SUVs, manufactured by Spark Racing Know-how. The French firm additionally makes vehicles for the city-based Method E sequence which has been embraced by main producers.
Method One champions Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg even have their very own Excessive E groups however Button is the one one of many three additionally racing.
“I’m positively on the again foot however for me it’s all about studying, I need to do stuff that’s difficult,” mentioned Button. “Nevertheless scary it’s, I nonetheless need to race the automotive.
“In an F1 automotive you form of know the bounds… With this factor, it will possibly throw you thru a bush. It is perhaps OK however there is perhaps a large boulder on the opposite aspect. It’s positively a little bit bit scarier than F1.”