Jimmie Johnson, a seven-time champion of the NASCAR Cup Series, is bringing LEGACY MOTOR CLUB to an international audience in 2024, joining the ranks of Extreme E as both a team owner and competitor.
Aside from the opening two rounds of the championship, where Johnson will be otherwise occupied with competing in the Daytona 500, the El Cajon, California-native will compete under the banner of ‘LEGACY MOTOR CLUB IN ASSOCIATION WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON’.
In Johnson’s absence, Travis Pastrana and Gray Leadbetter will be competing in the season-opener for the series’ fourth season, the Desert X Prix in Saudi Arabia, driving the LEGACY MOTOR CLUB ODYSSEY 21.
“The opportunity for LEGACY M.C. to field an off-road vehicle in the Extreme E championship is exciting in many ways. We are essentially representing America in this unique and very competitive series and we are committed to the challenge. I’m excited to watch our LEGACY MOTOR CLUB colors race on foreign soil for the first time while I’m in Daytona for the Great American race. I know Travis and Gray will represent us well and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish.”
At 19 years old, Leadbetter is already an extremely decorated off-road racer, becoming the first woman to win a US Pro Class Championship in the Championship Off-Road closed-course series, winning four races overall to take the crown.
In December 2020, the Morganton, North Carolina native became the first woman and youngest competitor to score a victory in a Sportsman SXS event. Leadbetter began competing in arena-cross when she was just five years old.
“I’m super excited and thankful for this opportunity,” said Leadbetter. “I’ve always been interested in Extreme E, but just never found the right opportunity to step foot in it. When Travis texted me last week that there might be a chance to race with Jimmie Johnson and LEGACY M.C., I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I’ve never driven these cars so it’s sure to be an adventure, but I will be in great company. This is a dream come true.”
A globally recognized name, Pastrana has the combined accolades of a three-time motocross champion and a multi-disciplinary X Games gold medalist, coupled with a versatile and high-profile racing career, including an 11th-place finish in the 2023 Daytona 500.
Throughout this long-tenured career, the Annapolis, Maryland-native has claimed seven championships across supercross, motocross, and rally racing, making him a perfect fit for the brand-new challenge presented to him.
“This all came together pretty quick, but I’m really excited,” said Pastrana. “I have quite a bit of experience in electric vehicles, although I’ve never been in an Extreme E ODYSSEY 21 before. I compete in a lot of off-road events and some desert stuff – mostly on two wheels – but this should be really fun for us. I believe in Jimmie Johnson and in LEGACY M.C. and all he is doing with the Club, so when he asked me it was a no-brainer.”
“I’ve worked with Gray before and she is a huge talent,” Pastrana added. “So overall it is just a great opportunity for both of us to compete in this championship series together. She’s the top female young up-and-coming talent in Nitro Cross and has the speed. So hopefully as Americans, we will do our country proud and return home with a win and some smiles on our faces.”
Needless to say, there is much excitement surrounding the LEGACY MOTOR CLUB entry in Extreme E, seeing as Johnson is a globally recognized name, as is Travis Pastrana. Both Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extrame E, and Ali Russell, Managing Director of Extreme E, expressed their excitement for the addition of Johnson and LEGACY MC.
“It is fantastic for Extreme E to welcome Jimmie Johnson and LEGACY M.C. to the championship. Jimmie’s credentials speak for themselves, and we cannot wait to see him behind the wheel of the ODYSSEY 21,” said Agag. “Jimmie is a proven winner and adds to our already healthy list of champions competing in the series. Racing in Extreme E with his own team is something which excited him, and it is great that Jimmie is also looking towards the future and our transition to Extreme H – the world’s first off-road hydrogen-powered racing series – next year.”
Welcoming Jimmie Johnson and LEGACY MOTOR CLUB into our championship for Season 4 is a huge coup. We are thrilled that the LEGACY MOTOR CLUB has joined Extreme E and we wish them the very best for the campaign ahead,” added Russell. “Jimmie knows what it takes to win and he has done it all throughout his career, so we look forward to seeing him and his team mix it with the very best in Extreme E. Travis Pastrana and Gray Leadbetter make an exciting combination for the first event in Saudi Arabia before Jimmie gets behind the wheel as they fly the flag for the United States.
For Johnson, there were a number of key factors that drew him to competing in Extreme E, including the series’ changeover to hydrogen-powered vehicles that is coming in 2024, amongst other things.
“Our goal is to learn as much as we can and see what the future might bring. The fact this series competes globally and focuses on sustainably, inclusion, and equality really piques our interest. From a technical standpoint, the changeover to hydrogen in 2025 is really intriguing and the entire motorsports community is watching closely. Personally for me as a driver, going back to my off-road roots and to the type of racing I started my career with is going to be a blast.”
LEGACY MOTOR CLUB will compete for the first time in Extreme E on February 17 and 18 in Saudi Arabia, as part of the Desert X Prix.