This weekend sees the introduction of a brand new motorsport series, but what is Extreme E, how does it work and where can you tune into the action? Well we hope to answer most of your questions in this article…
Extreme E is a new all-electric off-road series that aims to highlight the impact of climate change and human activity on some of the world’s most remote locations, while promoting sustainability and the adoption of electric vehicles to help protect the planet.
It’s environmental message isn’t just some pie in the sky marketing tactic. The series has a Scientific Committee, which includes climate experts from Cambridge and Oxford Universities, advising the organisers on the series’ education and research programmes, event logistics and impact as well as the recommendation of positive legacy initiatives which support local communities in each race location.
Extreme E is a signatory of the United Nations’ Sports for Climate Action Framework. The initiative, led by the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was born out of the 2015 Paris Agreement and calls on sporting organisations to acknowledge the contribution of the sports sector to climate change and their responsibility to strive towards climate neutrality for a safer planet.
It’s attracted some top names in motorsport, including F1 champions Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button, as well as rally legends Mattias Ekstrom, Carlos Sainz and Sebastien Loeb.
The series will use it’s own all-electric Odyssey 21 SUV, developed in conjunction with Spark Racing Technology. The battery-electric, 400kw (550hp), 1650-kilogram, 2.3-metre wide E-SUV is bespoke from the ground up. Capable of firing from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, at gradients of up to 130 percent.
It’s made up of a common package of standardised parts, manufactured by Spark Racing Technology with a battery produced by Williams Advanced Engineering. This encompasses a niobium-reinforced steel alloy tubular frame, as well as crash structure and roll cage, whilst tyres, for both extreme winter and summer requirements, supplied by founding partner Continental Tyres.
The cars are pretty unique but familiar, however the pits and paddock are where traditional motorsport is thrown out of the window altogether.
Because you can’t build huge infrastructure in the middle of a desert, glacier or rainforest, Extreme E has had to think outside the (pit) box.
The series has acquired the 105m long RMS St Helena, a former cargo ship that served the British overseas territory of Saint Helena. It has since undergone a multi-million Euro refit to minimise emissions and will act as Extreme E’s floating base, sailing the cars and equipment to and from races.
The first season will see the series visit five locations across four continents. Starting this weekend in Saudi Arabia, it will then visit Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and Argentina.
As mentioned, there are some headline teams and drivers with three F1 champions involved, one of which is competing as a driver, plus legends of rallying, sportscars and more.
In order to promote diversity, teams must consist of one male driver and one female driver, who will share driving duties.
ABT Cupra XE (Germany)
Claudia Hürtgen / Mattias Ekström
Acciona Sainz XE Team (Spain)
Laia Sanz / Carlos Sainz
Andretti United Extreme E (USA)
Catie Munnings / Timmy Hansen
Hispania Suiza Xite Energy Team (Spain)
Christine Giampaoli Zonca / Oliver Bennett
Mikaela Àhlin-Kottulinsky / Jenson Button
Rosberg X Racing (Germany)
Molly Taylor / Johan Kristoffersson
SEGI TV Chip Ganassi Racing (USA)
Sara Price / Kyle Leduc
Veloce Racing (UK)
Jamie Chadwick / Stéphane Sarrazin
Cristina Gutíerrez / Sébastien Loeb
Each event will consist of two days of competition across Saturday and Sunday.
Each team takes part in two time trials on Saturday, in Qualifying Round 1 and Qualifying Round 2. Sunday sees the Shoot Out, the Crazy Race, the Semi Final and the Final taking place.
Each race/time trial is two laps – one lap driven by the female driver and one lap driven by the male driver.
X Prix Qualifying consists of two rounds of time trials, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The team starting order is decided by a lottery draw. All time trials feature two laps with the incorporated driver ‘Switch’ feature.
The top three point scorers after Saturday’s time trials qualify for the Semi-Final. The fourth, fifth and sixth place qualifiers will progress to the Crazy Race while the bottom three teams will compete in the Shoot Out.
There are four races on Sunday and it depends on Saturday’s result as to which race teams will compete in; the Shoot Out, the Crazy Race, the Semi Final and then the Final. Three cars will battle it out in each race.
First and second place teams from the Semi-Final and the winner of the Crazy Race will progress to the Final.
Starting position for the Final will be decided by fans through the GridPlay voting system.
After the Final, points for the Drivers and Teams Championship will be awarded: 1st: 25 points 2nd: 19 points 3rd: 18 points 4th: 15 points 5th: 12 points 6th: 10 points 7th: 8 points 8th: 6 points 9th: 4 points
How to Watch
Extreme E has signed up a plethora of broadcast partners covering the majority of countries, and those that don’t offer a terrestrial broadcaster, can still tune in via the Extreme E website.
In the UK the action will be available across: ITV, BT Sport 1, Sky Sports Action, Sky Sports Mix, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, XE Website & Social.
In the US and Canada, coverage will be shown on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports Racing respectively.
In Australia and New Zealand, coverage will be shown on FOX 507 and TVNZ Duke respectively.