By Alan Baldwin
(Reuters) - Double world rally champion and triple Dakar winner Carlos Sainz will drive for his own team when the new Extreme E electric off-road series starts next year, the Spaniard announced on Monday.
Compatriot Laia Sanz, a 13-times women's trial motorcycle world champion, will be his team mate. Sanz has reached the finish 10 times in the Dakar Rally on two wheels with a best result of ninth.
Every team in the series, which aims to raise awareness about climate change by racing in some of the world's most remote and harsh environments, must have a male and a female driver.
Sainz, 58, is the father of Ferrari-bound McLaren Formula One driver Carlos Sainz Jr, who will also be a shareholder in the all-Spanish ACCIONA Sainz XE team.
Rivals will include teams owned by Formula One champions Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
"It's a great opportunity for me to do something new," Sainz said at the launch in Madrid.
"One is to have the opportunity - after driving so many cars and before I finish my career - to drive a 100% electric (car) and know this world."
Sainz also cited the chance to be part of the team's ownership while also driving the car in competition himself.
"I think it is going to be the most powerful off-road specification car that I've driven so far," Sainz said of Extreme E's Odyssey 21 SUV.
"I'm really curious and really interested in going along this road of electric power and a new championship, which we are going to try to win. It's a huge challenge."
Sainz said he would also continue his Dakar project with Mini. The 2021 edition starts in Saudi Arabia in January.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by David Goodman)