The upcoming all-electric off-road racing series, Extreme E, has completed its most intensive test yet, ahead of its 2021 launch.
Several drivers took part in the six-day test behind the wheel of the Odyssey 21 E-SUV, which was held at the Château de Lastours off-road track in the South of France.
Spark Racing Technology, which manufactures the vehicle, used the test to acquire valuable feedback from the drivers as it continues to develop the off-roader, which will tackle some of the most hospitable environments on planet Earth.
“This week has been crucial for Extreme E,” commented series founder and CEO, Alejandro Agag. “Every mile on the test track provides critical learning opportunities and in this case we decided to go all out and invite some of the biggest and most respected names in the sport to come and put the ODYSSEY 21 through its paces and give us their honest feedback.
“The fact they have all had such positive reactions has provided a huge confidence boost to the series. My congratulations and gratitude to the Spark Racing Technology team for their hard work in the face of our most intensive testing yet. I can safely say it’s been a huge success.”
Theophile Gouzin, Technical Director at Spark Racing Technology, added: “It’s been a really strong week here at Château de Lastours, with lots of track time and lots of different styles of drivers taking it out. We’ve seen a world of progress since we were here a year ago testing the car for the first time. Of course, there are still learnings and adaptions to be made and that’s what the testing is all about so this week has been especially useful as we near the end of our development.
“The feedback from the drivers has been really useful. A great detail about this car is that it is adaptable and we’ve been able to make little tweaks here and there to suit different driver styles, which proves teams can tune this vehicle and see immediate results. A great sign for the competitive ability in this one design championship.”
Drivers taking part in the test included former Junior World Rally Champion and multiple rallycross race-winner Patrik Sandell, FIA European Rally Championship Ladies Trophy winner Catie Munnings, and reigning FIA World Rallycross Champion Timmy Hansen.
Stars from Formula E also got the chance to try the Odyssey 21, including two-time champion Jean-Eric Vergne and fellow competitor Jérôme d’Ambrosio. Sophia Floersch and Billy Monger were also present.
The biggest star was Formula 1’s Valtteri Bottas, who is known to dabble in rallying. The Finn summed up the test on social media along with several photos with the caption: “Yesterday was fun.”
Several teams have already been confirmed including ‘X44’ – led by six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton – Team Techeetah, Veloce, HWA, Chip Ganassi, Abt and Andretti Extreme E.