Legendary F1 Designer Adrian Newey Moves to New Extreme E Racing Series

What can F1's most successful designer bring to an off-road, electric car racing series?

Getty/EXTREME-E

Legendary Formula One designer Adrian Newey has announced a career change that will surprise even the most seasoned of racing fans: a move to the futuristic, electric off-road racing series called Extreme E.

Earlier this week, Newey announced that he would be coined "lead visionary" of Veloce Racing, a motorsports team jointly co-founded by Newey and Formula E world champion Jean-Éric Vergne. The team plans to compete in Extreme E, an all-new off-road racing series dedicated to bringing all-terrain electric vehicles to remote locations where the thought of tarmac is nothing more than a pipe dream.

Newey's role in the organization will be to initially understand and engineer a powertrain for Extreme E, but also to adapt to the changes and maturation of the industry to ensure that Veloce stays on the bleeding edge of technology in electric motorsports. Coming from some of the industry's biggest names like McLaren, Williams, and Red Bull to name a few, Newey will bring established knowledge to a brand-new style of racing.

Unlike traditional racing which usually happens on a preset track with live spectators, Extreme E plans to turn the entire thought of racing as we know it upside down. Contenders test not only their skill, but the endurance of their battery-powered off-road vehicles by racing in remote areas in the Himalayas, rainforests, deserts, and Indian Ocean islands, all while live-streaming to spectators around the world.

The series will also help to highlight key environmental concerns of each race course by building a series of documentaries around the sport and the respective venues where they are hosted. Extreme E recently announced that it would host its first event in Greenland as an arctic expedition.

"Everyone involved in Veloce Racing is extremely passionate about racing, competition, and cutting-edge technology, as well as tackling environmental issues that face the world today, so we couldn't be happier to be taking part in Extreme E," said Newey.

"The series is an exceptional platform for developing new technology, drawing attention to the earth’s environmental challenges and driving change. Veloce will play an active role in as many of Extreme E’s legacy projects as possible to help regenerate the local environments."

via Extreme E

Co-founders of Veloce Racing, Adrian Newey and Jean-Éric Vergne

Those familiar with Esports might recognize the Veloce brand from its already extensive presence in the video game community. Veloce Racing's sister organization, Veloce Esports, regularly competes in tournaments featuring racing-based video games such as Formula 1, Forza, Gran Turismo, Project Cars, Dirt, and Rocket League.

While video games haven't traditionally facilitated fans into becoming full-fledged racing enthusiasts, new teams look to take the appeal of Esports and apply them to both Formula E and Extreme E, effectively broadening the appeal of racing to a younger audience by migrating games into reality.

Still, it's important to consider the big names that Extreme E is attracting. While its founder Alejandro Agag might have earned notoriety even before founding sister racing series Formula E, his newest venture has been sucking in some of the biggest names in modern racing with very little effort. At the very least, this should help to further brighten the future of motorsports for both new and veteran fans.