Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has announced he will enter a team in the new Extreme E series next year. It will be his first involvement in any form of other motorsport than F1 since joining the McLaren Grand Prix team in 2007.
Extreme E will feature high-performance all-electric SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles) who will race in remote parts of the world to try and raise awareness of climate issues. Races will be held in deserts, on glaciers and through rain forests, with the five venues being Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Greenland, Nepal, and Brazil, all with a common theme of how human intervention is impacting the environment.
Ecological experts have been consulted to ensure that the races will have a minimal environmental impact, whilst a team of scientists will travel with the teams to investigate local climatic issues.
Organisers are also hoping to leave a long-term legacy of their visit in the form of various tree-planting, solar power, and clean-up initiatives.
Hamilton has been encouraged to join the event because it chimes with his own interest in climate change, although cynics might argue that his day job is in a sport that is amongst the least environmentally friendly on the planet!
His team will beat the number 444, in commemoration of his Mercedes racing car.
There will be nine other teams, one of whom will be led by another figure from Formula One, Adrian Newey, now chief designer at Red Bull.
Each team will consist of one male and one female driver.
Each race will be spread over two days, with the fastest four teams taking part in the final on the second day. Each race will consist of the teams completing a circuit approximately 16 kilometres (10 miles) long, twice.
There will be no spectators allowed at any of the races; instead they will be filmed for broadcast on terrestrial television using drones rather than helicopters, because, again, they are more environmentally friendly.
Hamilton is next on action on the track at the Toscana Grand prix in Mugello, Italy, this weekend.