Anderson expects more electric classes in future U.S. off-road events

Extreme E

Anderson expects more electric classes in future U.S. off-road events

Off Road

Anderson expects more electric classes in future U.S. off-road events

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Two-time Baja 1000 champion and double Crandon winner RJ Anderson thinks that Extreme E can provide a template for traditional off-road racing in the United States as electrification becomes more prominent in the automotive and motorsport worlds

Debuting last year, Extreme E was the first all-electric true off-road series, and has since raced in the Middle East, Europe, and South America. But in the U.S, where off-road truck racing is more prominent, combustion engines largely remain the propulsion of choice, especially in the short-course realm.

“They’re starting to introduce that into some [long-form desert races], they’re figuring out ways to quickly change out battery packs in that type of racing,” Anderson explained ahead of his recent Extreme E debut (main image), where he was filling in for fellow off-road stalwart Kyle LeDuc at the General Motors-backed Chip Ganassi Racing outfit. 

“It’s still very new and in the early stages, obviously with Extreme E being successful, I think it’s opening a lot of peoples’ eyes, from where I come from, of this [being] the future.

“They see that manufacturer support here and the caliber of media and everyone that’s involved with making this a successful racing series, so I do believe that even at home we’ll start seeing more and more, very quickly, classes develop with electric being the pure focus of the progression of the sport.”

But before we see trophy truck racing and the like go electric in the U.S., there’s a possibility of Extreme E itself racing in the country. The recently-announced 2023 schedule featured one TBC round in the Americas, with Brazil and the U.S. listed as its potential locations.

While a more specific site for either country hasn’t been mentioned yet, series boss Alejandro Agag is known to have been keen on a U.S. race for some time. There is also a sizable American presence in the series with Andretti United, Ganassi and GM’s GMC Hummer brand, as well as drivers Sara Price, LeDuc, Anderson, and Tanner Foust who contested the 2022 season with McLaren.

“I think it would be great,” Foust said of a mooted U.S. Extreme E round. “It’s not super-easy to see the races in the U.S. right now, you can’t watch it on YouTube live, you have to wait and watch it delayed on Fox Sports. 

“So I talk about it a lot and get asked a lot of questions, so it would be amazing if we were able to bring it there and also talk a little bit about some more homegrown issues there in the U.S.”

A handful of potential race sites were mentioned in the paddock over the course of last weekend’s season finale in Uruguay, but Foust pointed to Formula 1-crazy Las Vegas as a good option should the series make its way Stateside.

“Thinking about locations, we do have quite a few desert races, but the U.S. is comprised of a lot of desert,” he said. “As far as our playground goes, I think Las Vegas would be a great venue, they have motorsport fever right now with the Formula 1 race scheduled for next year so I think basing it out of Las Vegas, and Las Vegas is surrounded by solar fields basically, it would be great to go racing in that venue.”

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