Etter et år i Extreme E-serien med den elektriske offroad-bilen ODYSSEY 21 oppsummerer Andreas Bakkerud sine erfaringer.
Andreas Bakkerud har etter hvert stor erfaring både fra rallycross og ikke minst elektrisk drevne biler. Han kjører den amerikanske Nitro-serien som er elektrisk. Han var så sent som i 2021 Europamester i rallycross for Supercar, og det siste året har han også deltatt i Offroad-serien Extreme E. Der har han blant annet delt bil med Hedda Hosås fra Voss.
-Extreme E er veldig forskjellig fra alt annet jeg har gjort som bilsportutøver, og jeg håper å kunne fortsette i serien, sier Andreas.
Her oppsummerer han året i Extreme E.
Pressemelding fra Extreme E:
Andreas Bakkerud on a year in Extreme E
Andreas Bakkerud was one of the first drivers to ever sit behind the wheel of the ODYSSEY 21, but it took until Season 3 for the Norwegian off-road star to get his chance to race in Extreme E.
After debuting as the series’ Championship Driver at the start of 2023, Bakkerud took over from Heikki Kovalainen when the Finn departed JBXE after the opening round.
Following two top-five finishes, Bakkerud is eager for more and looks back on his maiden campaign in Extreme E ahead of the Season 3 finale in Chile.
XE: You’ve completed your first three events in Extreme E – how would you rate your time in the championship so far?
AB: Extreme E is very different to everything I’ve done. Everyone has made me feel very welcome in the paddock. I have not had as much time in the car compared to others, who have competed in many seasons already, but I definitely feel my pace is improving. I’d give myself a fair seven out of 10!
XE: You started the season as the male Championship Driver. Did you expect to get a race seat in 2023?
AB: It was fantastic to step in as the Championship Driver in Saudi Arabia and learn all about the car and the championship. It’s a great role to introduce you to a new championship and learn from someone like Tamara Molinaro, who has extensive experience in Extreme E.
I didn’t expect to receive a call so soon, but with the history of the championship, anything can happen, so you have to be ready at any moment’s notice. It was an easy decision for me. I love what the championship is all about and driving against legends was something I looked forward to.
But I knew that I would get a chance to drive at some point… especially with my charisma and charm!
XE: This is not the first time you have driven the Extreme E car, having got behind the wheel of the ODYSSEY 21 during pre-season testing at Chateau de Lastours, France, in 2020. How did it feel to be one of the first to drive the ODYSSEY 21 and how does it compare to the JBXE machine you drive currently?
AB: It was a very cool experience testing in France with a lot of cool people also there. Carlos [Sainz Snr.] tested the same day and he’s a legend!
Testing the car before and then coming to a race, it blew my mind. It’s absolutely like nothing else I’ve experienced in motorsport before. The car has definitely come a long way since those days. In Saudi Arabia, I had never raced on sand before and so to race on the beach, next to the ocean, was very different. But for Scotland, it was again a whole new experience – the new suspension since I tested has definitely made an impact.
XE: How challenging is it to get up to speed in Extreme E midway through a season?
AB: It’s tough, but looking where the team started this season before I joined until now, I definitely feel we’re on the right path. In our last Grand Final during Round 8 in Sardinia, we were able to hold the lead ahead of Johan Kristoffersson (Rosberg X Racing), which showed our pace before the technical issue we had
XE: What is this main difference between competing in Extreme E compared to other series’ that you have raced in?
AB: It’s very different. In the ODYSSEY 21, I have much less power than I’m used to, so it sure has to be driven very differently in both racing style and strategy. It’s probably not so easy to see it on TV, but the tracks are changing every time we’re out there, so we have that to also contend with.
The Switch Zone is also a unique one to the series, racing to hand over to your team-mate or vice versa has been an adrenaline rush and always provides a good restart to the race. The level of communication is key when handing over, so I would definitely say both the car and format have been the main differences.
XE: How was your debut in Scotland? Your Redemption Race performance was pretty memorable!
AB: I had never been to Scotland before, so I was excited to visit a new place, especially as it was such an extreme track! It was a learning curve and also the first time with working with Hedda [Hosås], so it took some time to get used to it. I always want to win, but we took some good steps in the right direction which felt good.
XE: How has it been to work alongside Hedda Hosås as two Norwegians at JBXE, and how would you sum up your relationship within the team?
AB: We’re the underdogs. It has also been challenging as when all the other teams went testing, we unfortunately were not able to which set us back a little. However, that hasn’t stopped us from trying, we won’t give up and will keep getting back up after our setbacks. We need a little more from every parameter to nail that podium!
The JBXE team have been great to work with and Hedda is a cool driver, it’s nice to be racing with a Norwegian – it is actually my first time to do so! We’re from the same country and we don’t live too far away from each other back home. I took some time to go over to another competition she was racing at, and we have been able to create a great working relationship with each other where we both want JBXE to succeed.
XE: You will now have Tamara Molinaro as your team-mate for the season finale. Are you looking forward to working with her once again?
AB:Tamara is a great driver and we have a really good relationship. She showed me the ropes earlier this season in NEOM as Championship Drivers, and so we are both keen to do our best in Chile and bring home as many points as we can. I am excited to pair up with her on track and hopefully we can produce some strong results!
XE: You’ve reached two Grand Finals in the last four races showing more positive momentum. What have been your main tactics behind this?
AB: We’re getting there. It took us a long time to understand the set-up, but we should be right there for Chile. We’ve gone differently from the other teams in terms of our running order on track and it has worked quite a few times. Unfortunately, we haven’t quite managed to perform in the Grand Finals… yet.
XE: Are you hopeful of more strong performances in Chile?
AB: Very much so! Most of the drivers went there last year but I haven’t seen the site yet or had any experience on this course, so I’m looking forward to it. I believe we will continue building on our performance as we’ve seen we are capable of being in the Grand Finals and I have a feeling we will get to the podium in Chile.
XE: As a sport for purpose championship, you have got involved with a number of environmental initiatives. How have you found that since joining Extreme E permanently?
AB: I love how Extreme E actively champions climate change alongside racing. The Legacy Programme in Saudi Arabia was my favourite, we were regreening by planting trees and rewilding the animals. There are big challenges in the desert but there’s also a lot of clever minds like our Scientific Committee that have a plan and I have loved being a part of leaving a legacy that I hope people will start to follow.
I’d love to do more and I’m looking forward to seeing how we can help as part of the Legacy Programme in Chile.
XE: How would you sum up your season for JBXE in three words?
AB: Different, challenging and fun!
XE: And, lastly, would you like to be on the Extreme E grid for 2024?
AB: Absolutely, now that I’ve had a taste this season, I want to continue racing in this competitive sport and be more active in the Legacy Programmes.
Season 3 Calendar
Saudi Arabia: 11-12 March 2023
Scotland, UK: 13-14 May 2023
Sardinia, Italy: 08-09 July 2023
Sardinia, Italy: 16-17 September 2023
Chile: 02-03 December 2023