Munnings gunning for Extreme E home win

Wednesday 10 July 2024

The pioneering all-electric off-road Extreme E series is returning to the former Glenmuckloch opencast coal mine in Scotland this weekend (13-14 July) for the next two rounds of the championship. The site is set to undergo the next phase of its major transformation into a Pumped Storage Hydropower plant and wind farm – thus is a very relevant backdrop for a sport which promotes global solutions to climate change. 

As well as one of the highlights in British Motorsport Week, it is also a very special event for Catie Munnings, the only full-time British racer on the 2024 grid. Understandably, the Andretti Altawkilat driver is excited to be racing on home soil. 

“I can’t wait to be back racing in Scotland,” enthused the 26-year-old who not so long ago was presenting her own tv show on CBeebies television. “I was really hoping the calendar would take us there this year, because it’s a home race for me and for a lot of the people working within the team. We had really great pace there last year and crossed the line in first place but, sadly, a post-race penalty for leaving Switch Zone a fraction too quickly then demoted us to second. Nonetheless, we showed good pace to finish first and I’m really excited to hopefully replicate that this year. 

“We also had some really challenging conditions, with a lot of mud and rain on the second day, which I’m used to being a British driver! It’s definitely not an easy surface on which to race with a heavy car, so it takes a lot of our skills and I have a lot of confidence in myself in those conditions. The setting of the race location in and around the quarry provides such an amazing landscape – you can see pretty much the whole track from the paddock which is a rare feat and makes the race even more dramatic.” 

Munnings shares the Andretti Altawkilat entry with 2019 World Rallycross Champion Timmy Hansen – the pair made a strong start to campaign on the sands of Saudi Arabia and thus arrive in Scotland in third place in the points standings and with high hopes of victory. 

“We had good pace during the opening weekend in February and we topped the timesheets quite regularly in the majority of running,” recalled Catie who grew up on a farm in Kent and thus was in unfamiliar territory in the Middle East. “It was good for our confidence as the sandy surface in Saudi Arabia is not one either of us are particularly used to or fond of having not done much running on it before.  

“Now it’s even more exciting knowing that you’ve got that kind of speed heading into an event with a surface with which you’re much more comfortable. I feel like we’re coming for redemption from last year – we were so close to taking the victory, so I’m really hoping that we can pull it off this year.” 

Looking at the bigger picture, Munnings is delighted to be part of a championship which is breaking down barriers when it comes to encouraging women into motor sport. In recent weeks we’ve seen both Jamie Chadwick and Abbi Pulling making their mark and, right from its concept, Extreme E has required teams to field both male and female drivers. 

“The female contribution to Extreme E has been massive,” enthused Catie. “The regulations on our participation have meant that it’s not just having a token female driver team as you have two drivers working together for one joint result rather than a male and female trophy – it really changed the game.  

“To be able to jump into the car in the first year and race against massive names in motorsport with a lot more experience and then see the progress rate over the last few years has been game-changing. A recent report shows how the male-female performance gap continues to narrow and has closed by more than 50 per cent since the first season, which is absolutely huge. I feel very proud to be a part of that and to see the opportunities filtering into other championships for the females on the Extreme E grid who have been able to prove their speed against some of the best male drivers.”     

While the racing takes place behind-closed-doors, live coverage of the action is screened across ITV channels with catch up on demand on ITVX. 

Image credit: LAT Images & Andretti Altawkilat ExtremeE