Ganassi goes for all-new lineup for 2023 Extreme E season

Sam Bagnall/Motorsport Images

Ganassi goes for all-new lineup for 2023 Extreme E season

Extreme E

Ganassi goes for all-new lineup for 2023 Extreme E season


Chip Ganassi Racing will field a new driver lineup in Extreme E in 2023 as it looks to take the final step towards a championship crown in the all-electric off-road series, RACER can reveal.

RJ Anderson and Amanda Sorensen will drive for the GMC Hummer EV-backed squad, replacing Kyle LeDuc and Sara Price. While it will be a first full season for Anderson, the two-time Baja 1000 winner previously made his debut in the 2022 season finale in Uruguay, filling in for LeDuc.

“I’ve definitely looked at it both ways. I’m coming in with a lot less experience, but at the same time, that one round was huge for me,” Anderson told RACER. “I think, while it’s very similar to what I do, it’s also so foreign at the same time, so with that one round of experience I definitely don’t feel as much as a fish out of water like I did going into Uruguay.”

After that initial outing alongside Price, the full-time opportunity presents something of a role reversal for Anderson going into Saudi Arabia next week – just edging new signing Sorensen in terms of series experience, but still looking forward to learning with his new teammate as they tackle the expanded 10-round calendar together.

“Sara took me in under her wing when I showed up and showed me the way things worked. I honestly was thrown into it at the last minute, just a few days before the event, so it was all so green to me when I came last year.

“I have one event under my belt and now Amanda will be looking to me to do the same thing, so I’m excited to team up with Amanda. I think it’ll be good to learn together. You know, it’s not like I’ll have a huge advantage over her; we’ll be able to build the building blocks, so to speak, at the same time.”

Sorensen, meanwhile, joins the team off the back of an extensive off-season driver evaluation.

“I’ve always been a fan of Extreme E from afar and I think that it is a great experience to be a part of just because we’re going to be driving in all of these challenging and unique environments that are also showcasing the sustainability movement,” she told RACER. “I think it’s truly exciting.”

At 20 years old, Sorensen will be the youngest driver in the series. She already has a wealth of experience under her belt with race wins and championship titles in a number of off-road categories – though more recently competing in Formula Drift – but she says that racing in the dirt remained her passion.

“I’ve really only done a small handful of dirt racing since 2017 when I used to be competitively involved with it, just because I’ve been so heavily focused on the drifting,” she said. “But I’m excited to get back into dirt because that’s where my passion is and I think it’s an amazing opportunity to be doing the desert racing at this level of professionalism.

Sorensen will be the youngest driver in the 2023 Extreme E field.

“I had always dreamed about racing internationally, and especially seeing that my focus has been drifting lately. Drifting is a huge international market, so I had always made it a goal to go drift internationally at one point in time and I didn’t know that my first international races wouldn’t actually be drifting – they’re actually dirt racing, which is very exciting.”

That mixed background of off-road racing and drifting, while not conventional, isn’t exactly unprecedented in Extreme E, with McLaren racer Tanner Foust following a similar path. Sorensen says that a lot of the skills and approach needed are transferable.

“I have had some small talks (with Foust) on the competition format of Extreme E and how we can relate that to the drifting stuff, as far as understanding that there’s no room for error and that you really have to click into that mindset because you have one shot to go out there. You’ve got to get the car to the next person if you’re the first driver. There’s a lot of stuff that goes into it that translates over from the Formula Drift competition format.

“But as a driver you begin to develop these skills in drifting because it is a short form of racing. You really have no room for error because if you make one small mistake you are going home for the weekend.”

Speaking of his team’s new driver pairing, GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing team boss Dave Berkenfield said, “We’re pretty excited about it, for sure.

“Most importantly, we’re excited to race for a championship and to bring the GMC Hummer EV to the front of the grid,” he told RACER. “I think that where we ended up at the end of last year was a big step from Season 1, moving from, frankly, a lot of trouble in Season 1 to fourth and really chasing the championship right down there till the end (last year). And we did that knowing that we still had some work to do, so I think it was just time for a change.

“RJ did a great job for us in Uruguay and really stepped into the car with basically a 10- or 15-minute shakedown, and then battled with the rest of the field appropriately and drove really well. He was a critical member of the team.

“I was excited to get…a bunch of accolades from the other drivers that were in the field racing against him, and spoke positively of that on-track action. I think we’re in a good spot with RJ.

“Amanda’s interesting. Amanda’s basically an unknown in the greater global off-road world. We’re really excited about her potential.

“We did a pretty significant driver evaluation and tested her against a few other female drivers in American off-road and she stood out, which was what we needed. And she’s excited about getting behind the wheel as a teammate.

“She brings a little bit of a different flavor to the field – she has lots of off-road experience including some championship wins. She also is bringing some Formula Drift experience, which really speaks to her car control, and she’s really excited.

“It’s a really positive future, we feel.”