Swedish racing driver, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, is no stranger to the podium and intends to close off the Second Season of Extreme E with teammate Johan Kristoffersson, with another First Place.
The Season Finale of Season 2 Extreme E Electric Odyssey races through Uruguay next weekend is a mere 5 days away. Read Part I of the interview with Mikaela here.
Season two has been strong for team RXR and Mikaela and teammate Johan Kristoffersson take first place in overall standings of 83 points. Mission? Take yet another podium finish in the Energy X Prix. We are ready to watch another Crazy Race over dangerous terrain! Mikaela will just have to wait for the snow to come down to drift (like our Canadian hometown), as Uruguay is set for 25 degrees Celsius this week.
FINALS RESULTS TEAM RXR
1st Place in the DESERT XPRIX – NEOM, SAUDI ARABIA (19-20 Feb)
1st Place in ISLAND XPRIX – SARDINIA, ITALY (6-7 July)
1st Place in ISLAND XPRIX II – SARDINIA, ITALY (9-10 July)
READ PART ONE HERE.
Interview Part II
Fueler: Team RXR consistently brings to light the importance of sustainable practices. RXR is something much bigger than just driving cars. Tell us more about Driven by Purpose.
Mikaela: The tree planting that we’re going to do then in Sardinia is part of this Driven by Purpose Program. For example, also the clothes that we’re wearing now, all the profits from the clothes go directly to the Driven by Purpose campaign. But other things that we’ve done, for example, was in Saudi Arabia we were giving materials or cameras and so on to an artist school of female artists, where they make their own handcrafted jewelry, so that they can promote their products online, make a living out of that. So it’s not only environmental projects, it’s also social ones.
Fueler: Has there been an environmental or social surprise with one of the Legacy Programs alongside Extreme E.
Mikaela: I can say going to Chile, I was really surprised. Chile is the driest place on earth, so I was really surprised to go there. I did expect some kind of nature, but it was a very remote place that we were racing on. But what was exciting was that we went to the Antofagasta minerals, to see how that they are bringing out copper, and that they are now using not sea water but ocean water instead of normal water. They’re really finding ways to produce copper in a much more sustainable way.
That was, for me, very surprising. Because I first of all did not expect Chile to be that remote as it was. But also going to this, down to Antofagasta minerals, the whole factory is the same size as San Diego City. Huge. That was, for me, very surprising. And I think they are 50% of what is called P&P of Chile, so they are really a huge company. I had no idea about that.
Fueler: What is so unique about driving the Odyssey 21, and do you foresee any changes in the car coming in next season?
Mikaela: I think the most breathtaking is that we are driving these huge cars on very extreme places, on extreme surfaces. And especially when we got the updates on the damper side, we really bring exciting racing to the off-roading and circuit racing, and it is overtaking and it is jumping and it’s all electric, and I haven’t gotten anyone saying that it is boring because it’s electric also.
I mean, we really need the power that we get from the electric car to go full throttle and it gets straight away the full power, because it is deep sand or big rocks or whatever that we’re driving over. So I think just that we can drive on all these different surfaces and different places and bring extreme racing in electric cars, that is what I love about the Odyssey. And also the car looks huge, but once you’re in it now, you have a good feeling from the car. You kind of feel tight with the car, which maybe sounds weird because it is huge, but you do feel like you’re one with the car, and I love that feeling.
Fueler: You and Kristoffersson have a very big size difference! Can you explain that driving position?
Mikaela: We do have a seat insert, otherwise it would’ve been impossible. And to be honest, that was one of my biggest questions ahead of this season, how are we going to make it? But we found a good way, we did the seat insert in Saudi Arabia for the first event. Feels good. Also, our driver changes are really smooth and we found a good way of doing the switches, so it works really well. Surprisingly, but it does…
Fueler: What is the most difficult part of the switch?
Mikaela: I think to keep calm. It’s very easy to get stressed, and if you get stressed then you miss something or do that, so the key to make a good driver switch is just to keep calm.
Fueler: Whether you’re racing the Odyssey as we were talking about or strapped into Nitro Alley or keeping up gears on Tour de France, many different sports, you’re constantly exuding this electric, exciting, energy. What’s your secret sauce?
Mikaela: Haha! Thank you. Thank you. Well, just, short thing about food. I need food all the time, so I constantly… I need my sleep and I need my food. That’s number one to keep my energy. But then also I had a time in 2017 where I wasn’t feeling super well… I was working maybe too much and didn’t enjoy life so much, so I decided then in 2018 to focus on doing things that I enjoy. I want to do things that makes me happy. I want to work with people that make me happy. And that’s what I do.
So I think the recipe there is just to follow my gut feeling and really… I mean, sometimes maybe you say even no to a corporation, it could be huge, but if it doesn’t feel right in my heart, I won’t do it.
Also, I have the worst poker face in the world, so if you would tell me to do something I don’t want to do, you see it straight away from my face. And also, I try to appreciate these good moments. This last weekend I was with 11 of my friends celebrating my birthday and just enjoying it, and I was just so grateful that, because I travel a lot and I often miss their birthday parties or even weddings, so when they take the time to be with me, I really appreciate it so much.
Fueler: Not to mention your 30s will be a whole new adventure. Canadians look forward to seeing you at Whistler!
Mikaela: I’m really sad that you’re not coming to the last event, but maybe we’ll see each other next year. Who knows?
Fueler: I’d love to come again for the third season and see what kind of amazing changes there are happening for 2023 and catch up with everyone!
Mikaela: Sounds good. Sounds good. Thanks a lot for the chat and the talk.
Fueler: Thank you so much, Mikaela. Good luck!!
Led by 2016 Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg, the team is an evolution of Team Rosberg, founded in 1994 by Nico’s father and 1982 F1 World Champion, Keke Rosberg. RXR builds on the team’s success in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) series as well as Nico Rosberg’s post-F1 career as an entrepreneur in the field of sustainable mobility.
Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky has successfully competed in the Scirocco R-Cup Germany and in the rallycross discipline. In 2015, she took part in the newly established Audi Sport TT Cup. She also started in the junior classification of the ADAC GT Masters in 2016 and in the Audi Sport Racing Academy in 2017, before switching to the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship in 2018, where she made history as the first, and only woman ever to win races in that series.
In 2019, Åhlin-Kottulinsky was appointed test driver for Extreme E’s founding partner Continental, helping to develop the CrossContact tyre for the series’ ODYSSEY 21 e-SUVs. Prior to joining RXR, Åhlin-Kottulinsky competed for JBXE, driving alongside Jenson Button and later Kevin Hansen, claiming third place in the first-ever Extreme E season.