GMC has announced a sponsorship deal with Chip Ganassi Racing for the team’s entry in the inaugural Extreme E race series for electric SUVs. All competitors must drive a Spark Odyssey 21, but the regulations do not prevent manufacturers from altering the vehicle’s appearance to resemble a current or future production model. In this case, the model is the upcoming GMC Hummer EV.
The Hummer EV has inspired the bodywork, the graphics and in particular the unique grille on the CGR racer, which will therefore draw public attention to the production vehicle even though it is technically unrelated.
“I can’t think of a better fit than showcasing the look of GMC’s Hummer EV in Extreme E with Chip Ganassi Racing,” said Jim Campbell, General Motors U.S. vice president, Performance and Motorsports. “Both GMC Hummer EV and the Extreme E series are designed to be revolutionary – to challenge perceptions of electric vehicles and to showcase their true capability.”
“It’s truly an honor to represent GMC, especially during such an exciting time in auto racing,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “The new GMC Hummer EV is going to be a game changer in terms of how the world views off-road EV capability, and we couldn’t be more proud to represent GMC in such an innovative new series.”
In its first season, Extreme E will consist of five rounds in remote locations around the world, as follows:
- Desert X Prix: AlUla, Saudi Arabia: April 3rd-4th
- Ocean X Prix: Lac Rose, Senegal: May 29th-30th
- Arctic X Prix: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland: August 28th-29th
- Amazon X Prix: Para, Brazil: October 23rd-24th
- Glacier X Prix: Patagonia, Argentina: December 11th-12th
Each round will consist of two qualifying races on the Saturday followed by two semi-finals and a final on Sunday. Every truck must have two drivers, and uniquely one must be male and one female.
In June of last year, Chip Ganassi Racing announced that one of its drivers would be off-road racing expert Sara Price, who became the first driver confirmed for the series. CGR subsequently revealed that its other driver would be Kyle Leduc, who has amassed 101 race victories and six Pro-4 championship titles in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS).
This is a very strong pairing, but the opposition will be tough. Other confirmed drivers include former World Rally Champions Sébastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz, and World Rallycross Champions Mattias Ekström, Timmy Hansen and Johan Kristofferson.
However, Price and Leduc are part of a formidable team. Chip Ganassi is the only team owner to have secured victories in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition to Extreme E, the team’s schedule for 2021 includes running four cars in the NTT IndyCar series, two in the NASCAR Cup and one in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.
One peculiar feature of the GMC entry in Extreme E is that the racer will be significantly less powerful than the production vehicle it resembles. The racer’s output is 550 horsepower, only a little more than half of the 1,000 horsepower produced by the three-motor Hummer EV Edition 1 which will go on sale this fall, priced to start at $112,595.
Even the least powerful version, the $79,995 two-motor EV2 scheduled to arrive in spring 2024, will have 625 horsepower. But there can be little doubt that, in the race conditions of the Extreme E series, the specialized Spark Odyssey will be faster.
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