Ekström’s new role will see him work closely alongside Executive Director Arne Dirks and the rest of the RXP team as well as all key stakeholders, to develop and grow World RX in every area as the series prepares to embark upon the second season of its exciting electric era.
The Swede brings with him a wealth of experience. World Rallycross Champion in 2016 – when his EKS outfit similarly lifted the Teams’ laurels – Ekström has finished inside the top two in the overall standings on four occasions, confirming his status as one of the most successful drivers of the current generation.
One of the most versatile drivers in the sport, the four-time Race of Champions winner has similarly excelled in a number of other disciplines, from touring cars – with titles to his credit in both DTM and ETCR – to rallying and cross-country competition. Now, he is set to turn his unquestionable talents to helping to guide World RX into its second decade.
Q: Mattias, welcome back to World RX. You’ve returned in a slightly different capacity to before...
Mattias Ekström: Yes, it will be a bit different now I’m not racing in the championship, but it’s great to be back – even more so with such an exciting challenge ahead of me! I’ve been in and around rallycross ever since I was a kid, watching my father compete in the European Championship in the 1980s and ‘90s. It’s a discipline I love, one that has brought me a lot of success and one that I am convinced has a very bright future.
Q: What exactly will your new role entail?
ME: A bit of everything, to be fair! As Sporting Director, I will represent Rallycross Promoter in all sporting matters relating to the World Championship, from the format to commercial and sponsorship affairs and in broader terms, the overall product. I’m keen to bring the benefit of my experience to really strengthen the series at this important stage in its history. That means I’ll be working closely with the drivers, teams, circuits, partners and the FIA, as well obviously as Arne [Dirks] and the rest of the Rallycross Promoter team.
Q: Why have you chosen to take on this new challenge?
ME: As I say, even though I didn’t start competing in rallycross myself until 2013, it is in some respects where everything began for me – certainly it is what inspired me to follow in my father’s footsteps and pursue a career in motorsport. In its short nine-year history, World RX has already shown its potential to capture fans’ imagination in a way that few other disciplines are capable of doing. There’s no denying that for various reasons, it has been a tough few years, but everything I have seen since Rallycross Promoter took over and the start of the electric era convinces me that the best is yet to come. All the ingredients are there to attract new generations of fans and make this championship a real blockbuster success.
Q: How do you regard World RX’s electric transition last year?
ME: For me, electric technology and rallycross are the perfect match. I’ve been a big advocate for electric racing for a number of years, and nowhere is better-suited to this than rallycross. The length of the races mean drivers can really exploit the full power and potential of these amazing cars, and if we want to get the manufacturers back in and more teams and sponsors involved – which is clearly one of the major goals – being more sustainable is the only way forward. In the future, all motorsport will be judged on how sustainable it is; the time to act is now. That’s why World RX has such a trump card to play – it allows manufacturers and private teams to showcase their technological expertise without harming their green credentials. It’s win-win.
Arne Dirks, Rallycross Promoter Executive Director, added:
“We are delighted to be bringing Mattias on-board at RXP. He is a very familiar face in the motorsport world and somebody whose reputation for success and forward-thinking precedes him. He knows the rallycross business inside-out and is obviously extremely well-connected and respected in the industry.
“His addition to the team adds another layer of credibility at an exciting time for the World Championship, as we race full speed ahead towards the second season of our new electric era. I have no doubt that Mattias will play an absolutely key role in helping to drive the series to ever-greater heights and I look forward to working with him.”