Extreme E stands out from other championships in its mission for providing women with opportunities in the racing world, especially with the requirement that teams field a female driver alongside their male counterpart. During July’s Island X Prix in Sardinia, the series invited four female students from its Student Ambassador programme to study and experience the doubleheader, and they will also join the championship for the rest of the 2022 season.
The Student Ambassador project is organised in partnership between Extreme E and McLaren Racing, who plans to launch a similar model for Saudi citizens as part of their partnership with Island X Prix and team title sponsor NEOM. As part of their duties, the ambassadors work directly for the series along with the Legacy Programmes and Scientific Committee; the former is a series of environmental efforts in the race sites’ areas, with the Island X Prix’s being blue and green carbon stores, while the latter is a joint panel between professors from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford concerning the series’ climate and sustainability actions. Other responsibilities include focusing on hospitality for guests while also talking with media and the teams themselves.
“It was incredibly busy at times, but I enjoyed being part of the work that goes into making these events happen,” Student Ambassador Ioana Ispas, an aerospace student at Queen Mary University, said in an interview with Extreme E. “The heat definitely made working outside a challenge, but we were all able to adapt to the conditions pretty well.”
Fellow ambassador Amanda Kangai, who studies engineering at Cambridge, also spoke to XE about her experience in Sardinia. Kangai served as a paddock tour guide while Ispas oversaw tours onboard the series’ roving ship St Helena.
“As I oversaw the tours, there are many facts that I have learnt about the paddock,” commented Kangai. “In addition to the statistics, watching and talking to the engineers, mechanics, drivers and team principals was great. They are really patient and open to give advice to activate my future in motorsport.”
Ispas added what stood out to her the most was “the sheer extremity of the conditions at the NEOM Island X Prix and how the drivers and engineers were able to work through it with no significant problems. I think my own biggest achievement was being able to adapt to these conditions myself and communicate with guests effectively throughout the week. I was impressed by the resilience of the Extreme E team and the way that they were available to help at any time, even if the venue was busy. The team was also friendly and good to talk to, and they would give out feedback whenever necessary, which is something that I was able to learn and improve a lot from.”
The next race will be the Copper X Prix in Antofagasta on 24/25 September.