Championship drivers are not an unusual sight in Chip Ganassi’s Cadillac Racing garage, including IndyCar champs Scott Dixon and Alex Palou taking driving duties during the Roar and Rolex or full-time driver Earl Bamber, a WEC LMP1 winner and IMSA GTLM champion. But also hanging around the garage this week were multi-time short course off road champion and Ganassi’s Extreme E driver, Kyle LeDuc (pictured above), along with teammate Sara Price.
LeDuc is used to hustling a 900hp truck through dirt and over jumps in short course, or the 550hp electric racer through the varied terrain in Extreme E. But at Daytona, he and Price were there to observe and perhaps learn some things they can take back to their own program.
“It’s literally a different world … different planet,” said LeDuc who in his years of short course racing never dealt with sharing his truck. “I went to Indy and learned a little bit about their program there. And I’ve never seen these cars up close. So it’s cool to get out here and see these cars and kind of go over their team meetings and watch how the managers handle things and how the drivers handle each other.
“I think that’s the biggest thing that we are learning, is how to deal with another driver. Normally, you’re always in a car by yourself and doing your own driving. So learning some of their their lingo back and forth and how they manage setups and stuff is, is what we’re kind of here to learn, how these multiple drivers get in these cars. We’re definitely learning a lot bringing some of that to our 2022 Extreme E program.”
LeDuc admits being at Daytona may have sparked an interest in giving pavement racing a try.
“It would definitely be interesting for myself, my family, my team and my fans,” he said, although he says he’s not about to ask Ganassi for the keys to the Cadillac. Instead he’s hoping to learn what championship sports car drivers focus on in setup and where they’re looking to find speed on the track.
The next season of Extreme E begins Feb. 19-20 in Saudi Arabia.