- Mattias Ekström is the new driver of the team, given that Carlos Sainz could not recover in time from his crash at the Dakar Rally.
- Ekström and Sanz will chase the team’s maiden victory, and Carlos will be supporting them in situ.
- Extreme E is set to use a new race format with two independent events per weekend.
Mattias Ekström is the new signing of ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team for the 2023 Extreme E season. The Swedish racing driver will share the steering wheel with Laia Sanz, given that Carlos Sainz is still recovering from a crash in the Dakar Rally, in which he fractured two vertebrae. Still, Carlos will be travelling to NEOM to work and help the team throughout the Desert X-Prix.
Therefore, Laia Sanz will race for ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team once again, already established as one of the best female off-road and Extreme E drivers. This will be her third season with the team.
Mattias Ekström joins the team after a prolific racing career in the Rallycross World Championship, which he conquered in 2016, and the DTM, which he won twice in 2004 and 2007. He knows Extreme E inside out because he raced during the maiden season in 2021. He is one of Carlos’ teammates at Audi at the Dakar Rally.
ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team heads to the 2023 Extreme E season determined to fight for the Drivers’ and Teams’ Championship, which ultimately is a reasonable goal given the upwards trajectory that the team showcased last season.
The calendar will begin in Saudi Arabia, which will host the Desert X-Prix on the 11th and the 12th of March. From there, the Championship will pay its first visit to Scotland, before reaching Sardinia and crossing the Atlantic to compete either in Brazil or the United States. Chile will host the season finale, the Copper X-Prix, on the 2nd and the 3rd of December.
For this season, the biggest regulation change is a new race format. Instead of a single event per weekend, now each location will host two Champion-ship rounds, one on Saturday and the other one on Sunday.
Carlos Sainz, driver:
"Mattias is the best signing we could have hoped for, for this new season. I know him well and I trust him completely because I know what he is capable of: I believe he is one of the best and most multifaceted race drivers in the world, and therefore it is an honour that he gets to defend the colours of ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team. I have raced against him in Extreme E and know him as my teammate at Audi in the raids, so I am aware of his potential and strengths. I myself will do all I can to help the team achieve its goals. I will be attending the races and supporting them to get the best results we can. Regarding Laia, she keeps growing as a race driver and she knows the team throughout. I would also like to thank Acciona, Santander Private Banking, Asterra and all our sponsors for their trust in this sustainable, egalitarian, thrilling project again."
Laia Sanz, driver:
"I am really looking forward to the start of the Extreme E season. I feel like I improved a lot last year, but I haven’t reached my maximum and I am convinced that this season I will be able to contribute even more to the team’s success. It will definitely be strange not having Carlos on my side in Saudi Arabia, but his advice will be as important as always to try and achieve the result we all want. I am thrilled to be working with Mattias, who doesn’t really need any introduction because he has achieved so much in his long career in motorsports."
Mattias Ekström, driver:
"Carlos is one of my childhood idols and since we are teammates in Audi’s Dakar project, we’ve become friends, so it feels special and even emotional to join his team at Extreme E. With me stepping in for Carlos, it will give him more time to recover from the accident he suffered at the Dakar Rally. I also know Laia since my very first Extreme E race and I’ve seen her progress a lot and she has shown her speed on track."
“Even though it was a very late decision to join the team, I will do my best to bring success to ACCIONA | SAINZ this season and I hope we can fight for race wins and titles. I look forward on meeting all the team members in person and working with Carlos as my team boss, as I’m sure it will be a fun and valuable experience."
Joan Orús, Team Principal:
"This season is very important for the entire ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team. We start the year in a tough situation with the news that Carlos will not be in the car in Saudi Arabia, but we still feel we have found the best possible driver to complete the team with Laia. Mattias Ekström is one of the best rallycross, track and off-road drivers in the world, and his illustrious racing record will surely help us further develop as a team. Our aim is to win and we know that we can fight for the title if we all do our work right."