Exclusive: Catie Munnings talks Extreme E's first-ever season, Arctic win & final race in Dorset

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The final Extreme E X-Prix of the season is nearly upon us as the teams head to Dorset for the Jurassic X-Prix next weekend.

The sport’s first season has been a successful one, with it pushing electric off-road vehicles to their very limit on some of the most demanding terrain there is.

Ahead of the final round, we caught up with Andretti United driver and Red Bull athlete Catie Munnings to discuss a variety of topics related to the championship, and in this piece we’re looking back at the season so far, her and Timmy Hansen’s win at the Arctic X-Prix, driving at her home race this month and what the future might hold…

What have you made of Extreme E’s first-ever season? What successes do you think it’s had?

Yeah, it’s been really cool to be part of the championship in the first year.

I think with a season one of any championship, there are always challenges and you have to be very flexible with how you prepare for an event as well, because you never really know what to expect.

We have seen a lot of format changes and updates to the car and things like that throughout the season so it’s been a year of being spontaneous as a team and trying to come up with a strategy to help you to win and finding the edge when we’re all racing in the same spec car.

We’ve all had very limited testing and none of us have any experience with the environment we’re racing in, so it feels like a really pure form of motorsport, it doesn’t feel sterile, and it doesn’t feel too controlled.

I think Extreme E as a whole has done really well. I think the mainstream broadcast has really brought people’s attention to it and not just the sport, but also the bigger picture of the environment and the amazing work that our scientists are doing in each of the locations or the legacy programs too.

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On a personal level, how would you rate your season up until now?

We knew it was a new championship so no one really knew how it would pan out and I think me and Timmy were also two of the first drivers to be signed last year so we didn’t even know who we would be racing against.

Then obviously we see Formula 1 champions bring teams in and even had Jenson [Button] in the field with us and then obviously, we have people like Seb Loeb and even my teammate Timmy, so I think pretty much everyone’s a world champion there.

For me, it’s been really humbling to sit on things like the preseason photo shoot and I think, ‘wow, who am I racing against?’

These are people that I was looking up to. I’m a lot younger than the rest of the drivers there as well. So it was my heroes when I was growing up. And I think I was really nervous at the beginning of the year, obviously. But Timmy has been a fantastic coach for me.

We spent a lot of time training outside of Extreme E together as well. He’s really helped me with my confidence, to kind of have respect off the track but on the track realise that we’re all there because we’ve got good skills behind the wheel and to let them come through no matter who you’re racing next to you.

How much confidence did you take from your Arctic X-Prix win and beating Rosberg X Racing who have the most victories so far?

It’s obviously season one so I think we’ve seen reliability of the cars play a factor and there are areas of the car that will always show up when we’re racing in these extreme environments.

I think we have to remember we’re not racing on prepared tracks. We’re literally racing in the wild on terrains that have probably not been driven on before.

So I think in that sense there have been teams that have been luckier than others in terms of mechanicals, we’ve had a couple of mechanicals that have put us out of the race.

The Ganassi team we’ve all been kind of trying to cheer on because they’re so quick and they just haven’t managed to have a break.

But yeah, Rosberg X have been reliable. I think what’s been exciting for us, though, as a team, is that on pace, we’ve been really quick all year. Timmy’s often getting the fastest sectors and combined times all often at the top as well. I think for us, it’s been positive to see that obviously because the competition is really tough, and I wouldn’t say that there are really weak teams in the championship.

Everybody’s quick when they have the chance to be and it’s kind of been down to this year who’s had a bit more luck than the others. But hopefully, next year as we see the developments come through on the cars, it will put a lot more teams up there and in contention for the title. And we’ll have a really exciting season ahead.

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How excited are you about competing in the final race in your home country?

Yeah, it’s gonna be really special.

I don’t think I’ve actually raced in the UK before. I’ve probably done like a couple of really small level club events, but I’ve never done a proper race.

So that sounds really strange as everyone kind of thinks you go through a national championship, but this is really nice for me. And it’s actually a home race for my team as well, because they’re based in the UK. So it will be really special.

I think the thing I’m most excited about is not having to fly anywhere. That’ll be cool. It feels like it’s been a busy year of travel. I guess I’ve got the timezone on my side and that sort of thing but then we have got December rain to look forward to and the cold weather as well!

What are your aims for next year and the longer term?

Next year with Extreme E I think we’ll be in a good place, having the same teammate, same team, in terms of the mechanics and people that have gotten knowledge of the cars now, so definitely aiming for another podium overall.

I think we’ll be traveling to some more remote locations, hopefully, if travel allows us to. So that’d be exciting and more challenges for us, I’m sure. I think beyond that, it’s really hard to say because I think the electric space is moving so quickly now. And I think the face of motorsport will ultimately change a lot over the next few years. So hopefully, I’ll stick with Extreme E but who knows what else will crop up? And I think that’s the exciting part of our sport is that it’s different every day.

To find out more about Catie Munnings, head to her athlete profile page on RedBull.com

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