Rallycross driver Fraser McConnell says it is a proud moment in his career to join the X44 Vida Carbon Racing team in the Extreme E championship.
McConnell, who is third in the championship this season with JBXE (owned by former Formula 1 [F1] World Champion Jenson Button), will make the switch to X44 (owned by seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton) after the finale next weekend.
"It's a huge opportunity for myself, a really big step in my career, a new chapter," McConnell told the Jamaica Observer.
"Who knows what can come from it? I'll be giving it my all."
McConnell will replace Frenchman Sébastien Loeb, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest rally drivers of all time, at Team X44. Loeb finished Extreme E in first place the previous season.
But McConnell is unfazed by the pressure of replacing such a high-profile driver.
"It is definitely really big shoes to fill, but I know that once I go out there and trust my instincts and my talents, and make as few mistakes as possible, then anything is possible," he said.
"The circuit racing GOAT [greatest of all time, Hamilton] hired the rally GOAT [Loeb], and now I'm replacing him, so I definitely have a long way to go to reach that status and I'm gonna be working night and day to get there."
Hamilton, the only black F1 driver in history, is trying to make motorsports more accessible to people of minority ethnicities, especially the black race.
McConnell, arguably Jamaica's most successful international driver, says being signed by Hamilton is a big opportunity for him but that it will also inspire other local drivers.
"Lewis and X44 are all about giving people an opportunity, and me being the only Jamaican to ever pursue a rallycross career, it is an anomaly," he said.
"No one has really gone to the extent that I've been doing it. For him to provide me with the opportunity to come into this — Extreme E is a world-class championship and to add Jamaica to that entry list is a huge step in my career and I couldn't be prouder."
McConnell will be driving an ODYSSEY 21 car. It is identical to the others on the circuit and is a fully electric four-wheel drive vehicle with an output of 300 kilowatts, which converts to close to 400 horsepower.
But he is now wrapping up preparations with Team X44 so that he can prepare for the Nitro Rallycross finale which takes place from Friday, March 17 to Sunday, March 19 at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California. This is where he claimed his first-ever Extreme E win last October.
"I'm really putting all my focus into X44 with Extreme E now and once that is over, full focus back over to Nitro and flying on some big jumps," he said.
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