Junior World Rally Car driver Catie Munnings has been selected to be part of the driver programme for the inaugural 20021 season of the radical new racing series, Extreme E.
The environment conscious electric SUV off-road racing series will see many of the best male and female drivers meet in five remote destinations around the world: Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Greenland and Brazil.
The races, which will be broadcast on BBC and around the world, will be used raise awareness the issues each territory is facing due to climate change.
While Munnings will continue to be a part of the Junior WRC, she will also be able to be part of the driver programme which is designed to promote professional drivers and assist teams and prospective entries.
Munnings join an all-star list of drivers to be part of the programme, including W Series winner Jamie Chadwick, leading female racer Katherine Legge, FIA World Rally Championship title-winner Sébastian Ogier and double DTM champion and FIA World Rallycross driver Timo Scheider.
Q&A with Catie Munnings on joining Extreme E
As a top-tier driver, what appeals to you about racing in XE?
The races are in incredible locations and I love and look forward to the challenge of mastering many surfaces and conditions. Aside from the obvious high level competition, and new experience racing in these conditions; I am really drawn to the sustainability side, and the work that will help to change the World for the better. To achieve something like this would mean a lot for motorsport.
Why is the fight against climate change important to you?
I've noticed every side of life affected by climate change in the most recent years, motorsport included, and it's important to remember that we do only have one planet and we have to take care of it, not only for us but for future generations. XE is making the link between the sport we love; racing, and doing something for the world in a positive way. All forms of motorsport are actively looking at ways to make positive environmental changes, it's an exciting time for everyone.
What are you expecting from XE and the E-SUV?
I don't know what to expect fully, but I can imagine the car is able to drive in a way you can't imagine, on surfaces you wouldn't imagine it could - and I'd love to experience this! I'm excited to test one of the cars to get a good feeling for it, and then I'll know which skills I can adapt from rally and which I need to learn from scratch. I read that Gouzin said the cars have "the power and torque of World Rally Championship and rally raid cars" - that would be very impressive and quite surreal to feel in the SUV.
Where and how do you think XE will differ from your motorsport experience to-date?
I think it will be similar in the way of driving with instinct, rally is probably the closest in the motorsport family, and the changeable conditions will be relatable. Competing on different surfaces, in different climates and adapting quickly is something I'm used to. However, the physical side of learning this new car, an electric car, also the size, the maneuverability and judging the pace of a new Championship will be a completely new challenge, for every driver.
How much would your expertise be of value should you make the transition to XE? Will there be a steep learning curve despite your experience?
There is always a learning process when sitting in any new car, especially when it's a different discipline. As it's a new championship and fresh for everybody there's also a sense of anticipation and excitement to see how it will unfold. I also think it will be the perfect compliment alongside my WRC career so I plan to work hard and make sure I make the most of the opportunity to be a part of XE right from the start.
Which location are you most looking forward to racing in?
That's such a tough question! I would jump at the opportunity to race in any of those locations, so to include them all in one championship is fantastic. I have never been to any of the locations, but the events that stand out to me at a first glance would be the Amazon and the Indian Ocean Island - I just cannot imagine seeing the car racing in those environments, but why not?! The thought is very exciting to me.