Legendary F1 champion, Jenson Button has joined Oli Bennet at XITE Energy Racing to compete in Nitro Rallycross for the 22-23 season. Button, now 42, is broadening his horizons once again to expand into rallycross. Button’s father, John Button, was at the forefront of rallycross in its infancy so it’s only right that his son follows in his footsteps by joining in the now global Nitro Rallycross.
“There’s a real family connection with rallycross. Dad used to race in the late ’70s and ’80s in a Volkswagen Beetle and then a Volkswagen Golf. If you go on YouTube you’ll actually find some videos of my Dad racing at Lydden Hill with Murray Walker commentating“, said Jenson.
While the driver has lots of experience in open-wheelers, his experience isn’t nearly at the same level in the offroad world. Button previously competed in the Extreme E series for the 2021 season where his team JBXE finished third in the championship and Button himself only drove for the inaugural round at the Desert X Prix. To get up to pace, both Oli and Jenson have been testing cars from go-karts all the way to supercars, most recently testing at Pembley earlier in April.
“We’ve already completed a lot of testing and we’ve learned a fair bit from each other. As you can imagine, he took to it really quickly, adapted his driving style, and was very, very fast. It’s been really interesting and useful to compare the data – but I don’t think there’s any doubt which one of us is quicker in a go-kart“, said Oli Bennet when asked about the shared testing experience.
The pair make for Nitro Rallycross’ first all British team as they team up at XITE Energy. “We’re a British team taking on the world,” said Oli. “There’s no bigger or better driver to represent the team and what the team stands for than Jenson. We’re hugely excited about what’s to come.”
With Button on board and Bennett ready to go the team also announced that they will both pilot dentical FC1-X’s for the upcoming season, Button touting it as an exciting new experience. With that new experience comes the alternative track style that only Nitro Rallycross provides with it’s gap jumps and action packed racing.
It looks awesome,” said Jenson. “There’s so much action. There are some fantastic drivers driving some absolute beasts. The car I’ll be racing is the FC1-X. It’s a 1000 horsepower, four-wheel drive EV with 12-inches of suspension travel – which it needs, to be fair. Some of the jumps I’ll be flying over are extremely big and kind of scary, but that’s why it’s exciting to me as it’s a new challenge.“
XITE Energy Racing will begin their test program with the FC1-X in the coming weeks to prepare for the season.