Extreme E is a new electric racing series officially launched in 2019. Since then, the platform has been in constant development upon some key factors, such as adventure, competition, environmental challenges, locations, legacy projects, electrification, technology, or equality.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the series organizers held a Virtual Global Series Launch today, with the presence online of all the teams that have committed to the inaugural season; thus far, nine teams have joined the Extreme E adventure.
“Our team has been working really hard behind the scenes, and despite the pandemic and the challenges it has provided, we are on track for our first race in March 2021.
“The series has gained massive momentum with no less than two Formula One™ World Champions [Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg] signing up with their own teams [X44 and RXR] alongside other powerhouses in the motorsport world, and there is much more to come as we announce drivers in the coming months,” Agag added.
Six months separate the series from the start of its inaugural season, which will host its opening X-Prix in March instead of January as first planned.
The all-electric ODYSSEY 21 E-SUVs will travel onboard the Royal Mail Ship St Helena to five remote locations on the planet. But the original travel route has been modified as a new location has been introduced.
“We are delighted to confirm that Patagonia in Argentina will feature in our Season 1 calendar, and it will certainly make an incredible race experience for teams and viewers alike. However, of course, there is a far more serious reason why Extreme E has chosen to visit Tierra del Fuego.
“Glacial retreat is one of the devastating effects of the global climate crisis, and unless we act now these incredible places will no longer exist,” Agag explained.
Extreme E will kick off its first campaign in Al-‘Ula, Saudi Arabia in March, Lac Rose, Senegal is the second stop scheduled for late in May; then, St Helena heads to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, where is set to arrive by August.
In October 2021, the journey continues at the Brazilian Amazon in Pará, Brazil, and early in December, the series will celebrate its finale in Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia.
Carlos Turdó, Secretary of Sports of Tierra del Fuego said: “The presence of Extreme E in Tierra del Fuego will be a historical milestone for our province. It is also a unique opportunity for thousands of people to get to know the natural beauties that surround us at the “Fin del Mundo” (End of the World).”
The Argentine location of Patagonia is replacing Kali Gandaki Valley, Mustang District, Nepal.
According to the series organizers: “The decision to change locations, and delay the start of Season 1 by six weeks was made due to a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting series preparations, coupled with the additional complexity of getting to the proposed race region in Nepal.”
However, the series organizers say they remain committed to a visit to the region in future campaigns.
The series reinforces its commitment to the environment through the legacy projects, aiming to leave behind a positive impact in the locations where the series will be racing.
And this is a fact six-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton did not hesitate to remark: “One of the things that really attracted me to this opportunity was that I think in life we all need to take responsibility for the planet, we’ve all got to do something, but each and every one of us can have a positive impact by implementing small changes, and I think that’s really why Extreme E is so important because it is going to keep people talking about the climate issue and inspire us to take action.
“That’s the great thing with Extreme E, it’s not just going out to these great places it is actually going to do something in those locations to make a change so I think to have a championship that will address traditional ways of racing and the negative impact motorsport does have on the planet and offer an alternative is great.”
A POSITIVE IMPACT
In partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Forest Restoration program in the Brazilian state of Pará, Extreme E agreed its first legacy program.
It consists of securing 100 hectares of existing forest, restoring 100 hectares of native forest, aiming to maintain more than 200 hectares of a cacao-based agroforestry program by working with 50 local smallholders.
Another initiative was born in Senegal, in the ocean race location of Lac Rose – a region where the coastline is losing three to four meters each year.
In partnership with the local organization to.org, Extreme E will help to collect plastic from the beach.
According to Agag, the plastic will be used to make eco-bricks to help build bathrooms for over 300 school children who currently only have two to use.
Former Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg was the last to join the championship as Founder and CEO of Rosberg Xtreme Racing (RXR); he also shared his thoughts on the series at the virtual launch.
“As an entrepreneur now, I’m totally focused on sustainability with everything I do, and this Extreme E project is the perfect crossover between my past and my future. It’s the most awesome racing crossing over with the opportunity to really help preserve the environment around the world, and that’s what really fascinates me.”
The German did not hide his enthusiasm with the project: “I’ve already formed partnerships now with local and international foundations, for example, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, and we’re already planning lots of things in ways that I will be able to support in various locations around the races as well, and this is what I’m really, really excited about together with my team to create this long-lasting local impact right around the races.”
The nine teams to contest the inaugural season are HWA, ABT Sportline, Veloce Racing, QEV Technologies, Andretti United, Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR), Team Techeetah, and Team X44, Team RXR.
COMPETING SIDE BY SIDE
Designed by Spark Racing Technology, all teams will be competing using the same spec-vehicle, the off-road, all-terrain, E-SUV ODYSSEY 21. Williams Advanced Engineering is in charge of producing the battery that powers the electric SUV. The cars also feature a niobium-reinforced steel alloy tubular frame and purpose-built tyres.
The series, following his innovative footprint, partnered with AFC Energy, becoming the first event organizer to utilize hydrogen, fuel cell power generator for charging.
Hamilton addressed the use of hydrogen fuel cell technology as amazing.
The Briton added: “It’s going to charge the race cars with a zero-emission energy source, which I think is absolutely incredible, and hopefully we’ll start that ripple effect, and other industries will start going in this direction more also.”
The countdown for the Extreme E challenge is on, and more announcements should follow in the upcoming months.
As Chip Ganassi Racing driver Sara Price reminds us: “Our races are not long they’re going to be short, they’re going to be fast, and they’re going to action-packed.”
Images courtesy of Extreme E Media and Gonzalo Ríos.