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In Conversation with Christine GZ – Extreme E

Tell us why you are so passionate about making a positive environmental impact on the planet through sports?

Well, mainly I'm passionate about racing! Then, I am passionate about making a positive environmental impact through sports because I believe that as an athlete I have a platform to inspire others to take action, and this is really motivating. It’s incredible that we can race in remote locations and at the same time promote sustainability.

Motorsports in particular can demonstrate exciting technology like 100% electric vehicles that reduce emissions while still delivering an incredible driving experience and performance.

How can sports, and in particular motorsports elevate awareness into action in making a positive impact on the planet?

Sports reach a massive global audience which provides an opportunity to elevate environmental awareness into meaningful action. High profile races and competitions can showcase sustainability initiatives and promote cleaner technologies like electric vehicles. For example, when we were racing in Extreme E, we had a movement called “Count us in” where all of us drivers had to show something we had to do to make our life more sustainable (e.g. Using more hybrid cars daily)… This visibility and storytelling through sports can and surely will catalyze the change.

What are the latest projects that you’re working on that are actioning climate change?

We have been working on promoting electric vehicle adoption by demonstrating their capabilities in high performance racing applications. With our Rally School for example, we are supporting reforestation projects to offset carbon emissions related to racing and travel. My goal is to raise awareness through my participation, while directly taking personal daily steps to reduce my environmental impact…

What inspired your decision to join the e-racing movement?

I have to admit that at the beginning I didn’t know much about this “e-world”, and I was a little doubtful if I would miss the noise, the revs of the car, the smell of gasoline… but as soon as I tested my first electric rally car, I realised how amazing this new era would be. The instant torque and smooth powerful delivery… just amazing to be honest. EV’s can offer the same performance (or even better!!!) while reducing emissions and giving back something good to our planet.

So I knew this was the way to go, and wanted to be part of the movement.

How does racing an electric car compare to an ICE car?

Compared to ICE, EV’s have a much better drivability, it’s linear; when you accelerate it’s smooth and you can moderate much better as the pedal is so much more precise.
I like to say that what happens on wheels is totally proportional to what you do on foot, haha!
It’s also interesting the fact that you don’t have noise, so you can listen to the suspension doing it’s job and so on, which is a very strange but cool feeling!

Extreme E is a newcomer to the off-road rallying world and its environmental awareness ambitions are lofty – what positive impact has the series had so far?

Extreme E has spotlighted critical environmental issues and demonstrated the capabilities of electric vehicles in extreme environments. Locating races in climate-impacted locations and promoting local sustainability initiatives has helped raise awareness and inspire action around the world.

In every remote location we raced we also worked with the Legacy Programmes to give awareness - for example, in Greenland we worked closely with climate scientists to showcase global warming, by attending a study directly on the ice caps that are melting, to see with our eyes and be able to explain how serious the situation really is.

Will we see a day when all e-motorsports becomes more popular than ICE motorsports?

E-motorsports adoption will continue growing rapidly as EV technology improves and awareness increases through high profile racing. But ICE racing still delivers a beloved experience that will maintain popularity even as electric racing achieves more parity. I see room for both to excite fans (and drivers) in the future! Let’s see what happens (because Hydrogen seems to be pushing strong too…)

The UAE is home to a number of FIA sanctioned races, formula 1 and Abu Dhabi Desert Championship among these – what are your thoughts of the country hosting a formula E or Extreme E event?

The UAE has the perfect environment for the off-road racing which is what I love most! This makes it an ideal location for hosting any of the Electric races (such as EE, World RX, etc…)
Such an event could reinforce the UAE's role as a sustainability leader while educating fans on electric vehicle capabilities. I would be thrilled to see this vision become reality, and why not, be part of the Grid ?!

Finally, what is the significance of you for speaking at Expand North Star this October?

I'm honoured to share my experience accelerating EV adoption through racing at Expand North Star. My goal is to spread the racing passion and show that competitive performance and sustainability can go hand in hand.
Let’s help make a change, let’s be part of this new E-Era!