Thursday 26 November 2020

Jamie Chadwick joins Extreme E with Veloce Racing

Jamie Chadwick is joining Team Veloce for the inaugural season of Extreme E beginning next March, as one of 20 drivers competing in this brand new off-road all-electric SUV series … yep; you read it right!

Extreme E is a new motorsport series, created with climate awareness and eco principles built-in from the ground-up (no pun intended), and promises to offer something truly unique in the world or motorsport. Founded by Spanish businessman and ex-politician, Alejandro Agag, the series already has some big names on-board; Lucas di Grassi (former Formula E champ), Andre Lotterer (three-times Le Mans champ), and Katherine Legge, (seasoned Formula E, IndyCar/ChampCar, and DTM racer), to name a few. And then there’s team X44, founded by a certain Lewis Hamilton … hmm … name sounds familiar …

Alejandro Agag

Jamie is racing for the Veloce Racing team (fantastic name, but we are biased … and no relation, sadly) which was founded by none-other than Adrian Newey and Jean Eric-Vergne. Currently, two other female racers are confirmed; the UK’s Catie Munnings and Sara Price from the US.

The series aims to provide a fantastic spectacle, and one that could, perhaps, be a little more relatable for many people, than some race series. All-electric SUVs help not only to reduce fossil fuel use, but also create a filter-down effect for technology, much as other formulas have led to improvements in consumer vehicles. Using SUVs presents viewers with a more familiar vehicle than the extreme tech of F1 and Formula E, and could help bring a broader range of viewers to the sport. With SUVs being the biggest selling, and biggest growing auto market, bringing down its eco footprint could have a big effect on reducing fossil fuel use.

NOT your typical SUV.

As well as utilising all-electric SUVs, the series consulted experts in the fields of ecology and environmental science to ensure that it has minimal environmental impact. There will even be a team of scientists travelling with the race teams, investigating the effects of climate change in each location.

Further lessening the eco burden, people and equipment will be ferried to each region in RMS St Helena, an ex-Royal Navy cargo vessel modified to act as a floating paddock. And as if that wasn’t enough, the series is drawing up plans to leave lasting legacies in the areas it visits, with tree-planting, clean-up operations, and renewable energy initiatives.

RMS St Helena, Extreme E transport vessel

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of Extreme E – certainly for traditional motorsports fans – is that there will be no track-side spectators. Instead, the entire series will be broadcast on TV and streamed online, with filming carried out by drones.  For viewers, the spectacle promises to be a feast for the eyes. If the trick shots and flyovers made possible by drone cams aren’t exciting enough, each race location will offer a very different environment for racing – from steamy rainforests, and frozen glaciers, to arid deserts, each being a 'poster child' for the effects of global heating and ecological damage.

Last year, Jamie showed her mettle by taking the championship crown in the female-only W Series. Sadly, the Covid pandemic brought a halt to this year’s W Series action, but it’s due back on track in 2021. Extreme E announced in April that there would be an equal number of male and female drivers, making it a rare opportunity to race against the opposite sex; as Jamie told BBC Sport:

"It's huge. It's amazing what Extreme E have done with the format they have chosen. It’s exciting for me because it gives me this opportunity - it's the same for everyone, 100% fair.

"It's such a male-dominated sport. There are so few females, that you have to take that responsibility [of being a female role model]. But I'm always just focused on doing the best job I can possibly do."

Jamie’s involvement in the sport has also had a knock-on effect on her own awareness of ecological issues, already making a positive impact on her own actions:

"I've definitely been made more aware of climate issues, with a lot of stats and things I wasn't aware of before. I try to do everything I can to help in my own life, such as scootering everywhere."

Jamie’s journey hasn’t always been smooth running, but with a W Series championship under her belt, Extreme E on the horizon, momentum continues to gather for Jamie, and with eight W Series races supporting the 2021 F1 season, the opportunity to add vital points to her Superlicence is just around the corner. Heaven knows it’s about time we saw a female racing driver in F1 again; the last to race was Lella Lombardi, in 1976.

We’d like to wish Jamie – and the brilliantly named Veloce Racing – the best of luck in the inaugural Extreme E season. We’ll be watching and cheering come March 2021 – and as they say on social #VivaVeloce !

Find out more about Extreme E and Jamie’s latest challenge, on the BBC at

Visit Jamie’s site for all the latest news from Jamie, and the Veloce Racing site

Find out the what, when, and how of Extreme E at

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Farewell to a life in car design

Oliver Winterbottom, with his 1966 Concorso Grifo d’Oro Bertone award-winning model.
(Courtesy Malcolm Griffiths/Classic & Sports Car)

It with much sadness that we announce that Veloce author, automotive designer, and dear friend of Veloce Publishing, Oliver Winterbottom, passed away on Friday 6th October, aged 76.

Oliver spent his entire career designing cars, and a short period designing boats. Beginning his working life as an engineering apprentice at Jaguar Cars, he later spent five years there as a staff designer. 

Model and drawings on display in
Turin for the Bertone competition in 1966.

In 1971, Oliver joined Lotus Cars as Design Manager, where he was responsible for styling, body engineering, and aerodynamics. His designs have come to symbolise an entire era of auto design, defined by the classic 'wedge' shape styling. In 1975, he transferred from Lotus to Colin Chapman’s luxury boat company.

A short period of self employment, and the start of the TVR Tasmin range of sports cars, saw him joining the company through to the launch of the Tasmin Convertible and 2 +2. In 1980 he returned to Lotus to lead the joint Lotus/Toyota sports car project, completing a running prototype vehicle.

Oliver, with the JCL Mamba, a design
he created in 1976.

After a stint working in the US as Project Manager for General Motors, he returned to the UK and rejoined Lotus, holding a number of senior management positions in engineering and vehicle safety. He resigned in 1998 to set up a consultancy, where he worked until his retirement in 2009. 

Oliver always maintained a 'hands-on' approach throughout his career, both to the design and to the development of a wide range of products. Besides vehicle design, he had interests in architectural design, boats, and civil engineering. He loved Italian coachwork from the 1950’s to the present, regretting the decline of the traditional design houses. 

Colin Spooner, Roger Putnam, Mike Kimberley, Colin Chapman
and Oliver Winterbottom inspect a full-size coupé model.

Oliver's work took him all over the world – France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Sweden, USA, Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Brazil and Russia. He always enjoyed travel, and took an interest in the history and geography of the regions he visited, to get a better understanding of the places and the people there.

Since our first meeting Oliver in 2016, for preliminary work on A Life in Car Design, Oliver has been a warm friend to all at Veloce. Instrumental in helping publicise and promote his book, many of Oliver’s efforts in this area are recounted in a series of posts on the Veloce blog, called Oliver Winterbottom’s Diaries. Recounting his travels to shows and auto events across the UK and beyond, his diary included everything from funny stories and anecdotes, to meetings with friends, old and new, and commentary on many current events, technologies, and happenings that came to his broad attention.

Oliver gave frequent talks, and was a regular at car shows up and down the country.
Here Oliver is interview for local radio at the Hinckley Classic Show, 2018. 

Oliver gained genuine pleasure from meeting and chatting with anyone interested in cars, design, boats, and much more besides, whether they be industry insider, or a private individual, and his passion for such things never dwindled, as is evident from his blog diaries. He was particularly keen on passing on his knowledge and an enthusiasm for creative work to younger generations, and often gave talks and presentations for car clubs and organisations. You can hear Oliver discussing his thoughts on this, and more, in our 2017 interview, below.

Whether retelling his experiences from his decades in the auto industry, to hearing his funny stories – and, of course, his recommendations for good Inns and Pubs to eat and drink around the country (and where to avoid) – Oliver was always a engaging, always entertaining, and always a gentleman; he will be sorely missed by all at Veloce Publishing.

We would like to extend our condolences to Oliver’s family.

Oliver Winterbottom