Extreme E

Fraser McConnell, Carlin join X44 for 2023

2 Mins read
Credit: Nitro Rallycross Media

X44 Vida Carbon Racing‘s Extreme E championship defence will come with a new driver pairing and team backing. On Tuesday, the team announced Fraser McConnell will partner with Cristina Gutiérrez in the #44, while Rodin Carlin will provide technical support.

Gutiérrez returns to the team after claiming the 2022 title alongside Sébastien Loeb with a win in Chile, but Loeb’s departure comes as Carlin replaces Prodrive. Loeb races for Prodrive in the World Rally-Raid Championship, which he currently leads after two rounds including last week’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Gutiérrez also competes in W2RC, albeit in the T3 category versus Loeb’s T1.

“Following last season’s win, I am so excited to get back on track and give it my all again for the team,” said Gutiérrez. “Fraser is an exciting young talent and I am looking forward to racing with him this year. I’m also looking forward to meeting the new team, and I feel privileged to be part of the journey towards a fairer, more inclusive industry. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together.”

McConnell served as the Championship Driver for Extreme E for much of 2022, assuming the role after his predecessor Timo Scheider found a ride at XITE Energy Racing. Scheider returned to the post at the season-ending Energy X Prix as McConnell was picked up by JBXE to replace the Veloce-bound Kevin Hansen; McConnell and Hedda Hosås finished ninth.

Outside of Extreme E, McConnell mainly competes in Nitro Rallycross where he sits third in Group E points with a victory at Glen Helen. Andreas Bakkerud, who is one spot ahead of him in the standings, recently joined Extreme E as Championship Driver. McConnell will also get to compete against 2021 XE champion Johan Kristoffersson once again, having last done so in the Nitro RX round in Strängnäs.

“I am so impressed with Cristina’s performances in the first two seasons of Extreme E and I can’t wait to drive alongside her,” commented McConnell. “I am sure that we will work well together and I hope to learn a lot from her prior experience. It’s never a bad thing to race alongside a World Champion.”

Rodin Carlin, commonly known as Carlin Motorsport, has a diverse open-wheel programme that includes teams in Formula 2 and Formula 3. Carlin’s leadership like team principal Stephanie Carlin will also oversee X44, while Stephanie Travers and George Imafidon will respectively serve as deputy team principal and lead engineer. Imafidon is a member of The Hamilton Commission, an initiative by X44 owner Lewis Hamilton to study diversity in motorsport.

“At Rodin Carlin, we are so excited to join forces with X44 Vida Carbon Racing and I am proud to be leading such an inclusive and diverse team into Season 3 of the series,” Carlin stated. “As fits with our ethos at Rodin Carlin, it is a privilege to be able to provide opportunities for up-and-coming engineers, mechanics and technicians, who we believe are truly the next generation of promising talent in our industry.”

The 2023 season begins with the Desert X Prix this weekend. X44 is the ninth and final team entered in the opener to confirm their lineup.

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