If you don’t know Swedish racecar driver Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, we think maybe you should. This former Audi Sport TT Cup driver is also the official test-driver of the recently announced Extreme E electric rallying series (the same role Lucas di Grassi held in Formula E’s infancy), and she’s making even more moves on the subject of electric racing and the FIA.
Kottulinsky’s Audi lineage is worth mentioning. Her grandfather is the late Freddy Kottulinsky, one of Audi Sport’s first employees and the driver who famously took a Volkswagen Iltis military vehicle on the second ever Paris-to-Dakar rally in 1980 to prove the then-in-development quattro system was up to the challenge of rallying. He won that race, also the first-ever factory-backed winner of Dakar and proved the value of the all-wheel drive tech. That same year and not by coincidence, Audi Sport headed to FIA headquarters in Paris in order to lobby for all-wheel drive to be allowed in the World Rally Championship. The rest of that story, as they say, is history.
Mikaela’s own career in racing started young, and up through the Volkswagen Group’s variety of training series. Much of that is detailed on her own website, and it eventually took her to Audi and the Audi Sport TT Cup, then the ADAC GT Masters with Audi Sport customer racing. Watchers of Youtube may also remember the promotional video she did for Audi Australia called “Backseat Driver”
Just this week, Mikaela posted on Facebook that she’d arrived at the FIA headquarters in Paris. Yes, that’s the very same place Audi engineers went to lobby for all-wheel drive 40 years ago and following her grandfather’s hidden victory in Dakar. This time, she’s been elected into the FIA Electric and New Energy Championship Commission (FIA ENECC). This year she begins pioneering another new technology in rally – electromobility.
This move is an interesting one. So too is Extreme E, the FIA’s startup rallying series with which she’s working. That series combines an electric “SUV”, placing it in extreme rallying locations and brown zones around the world. If that’s not a fateful nod to her grandfather’s victory in Dakar, we’re not sure what is.
Also worth noting, just a few teams have signed on with Extreme E at this early date. One of those teams is ABT Sportsline, the very same team that operates Audi Sport’s Formula E. ABT Sportsline was also one of the founding teams in Formula E for what it’s worth.
So where does it all lead? It remains to be seen. The Audi brand has yet to make any official commitments to Extreme E, but it does seem the stars are aligning on the subject. The presence of Mikaela and ABT Sportsline, not to mention the brand’s own rich history in rallying and future in electric crossovers… it’s hard to ignore that kind of alignment. We’re hoping Audi takes notice.