Extreme E - Everything You Need To Know
Introducing the chaotic new series, Extreme E.
What Is Extreme E?
Announced back in August 2018 by Agag, the founders of Formula E, Extreme E will be racing Electric SUV's across several locations around the world affected by climate change, in a rally championship-esque style with its goals to raise awareness of climate change whilst simultaneously promoting electric vehicle usage, sustainability and equality. There will be eight teams and two drivers to a team using one vehicle with each team being required to field one male and one female driver in a bid to promote equal opportunities for everyone.
What Cars/Chassis Will Extreme E Use?
The Beast. Photo credits: Autosport
The Odyssey 21 E-SUV and it is a beast. Debuting at Goodwood Festival 2018, weighing in at 1650kg or over 1.5 tonnes, over 2.3 metres wide and made from Niobium-reinforced steel alloy, The Odyssey is manufactured by Spark Racing Technology with a Williams Advanced Engineering battery. These beasts, which have a charming resemblance to Halo's Warthog, have a 440kw or 550hp peak output that gets it from 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds oh, and it can do this at gradients of up to 130%! Tyres will be supplied by Continental and will supply both summer and extreme winter tyres for the many different locations and environments they will face over the course of the season.
How Will An Extreme E Race Weekend Work?
"Chaos" is the only word I can use to describe what Extreme E's unique and slightly complicated race weekend format looks like. Two days of short, chaotic, sprint-style races, or "X-prix's" as they will be known as, consisting of 2 laps and roughly 16km. In Each X-Prix and in the Qualifying races, each driver must complete one lap each with the other driver acting as a Co-driver, then on the second lap they must swap roles. There is no set rule as to whether the male or Female races first and teams will not know who is starting until the race starts, so it could create some very interesting strategies and races.
Day one is an action packed day of qualifying with all eight teams racing twice, once in qualifying one and once in qualifying two, each qualifying session will consist of two races and four teams in each session, Q1 grids will be drawn randomly with the result of that session deciding the grid for Q2 and points will be awarded based on finishing position for both qualifying races with 1st giving the maximum 3 points, 2nd = 2 points, 3rd= 1 point and 4th = 0 points.
Now here's where it gets slightly more complicated and a whole lot more interesting. For day two, the top four teams scoring the most points from the two qualifying races move on to the "slightly easier" Semi-final 1, whereas the bottom four teams move on to "The Crazy Race" otherwise known as Semi-final 2. The slightly easier SF1 will see the top three teams from that race proceed to the final, with the unfortunate team finishing last being eliminated. The crazy race or SF2 will be an all out fight for victory as only the winner from that race will progress into the Final and the remaining three teams being eliminated which should set up some amazing battles as teams desperately fight to make it to the final. This then sets up the grid for the final and the race that really counts, the four fastest teams from the whole weekend battle it out to be crowned the X-Prix winner. Points will be given out based on finishing positions with 1st earning 20 points and the team finishing 8th from the weekend earning just 1 point. An extra championship point will be given for longest jump of the weekend, and speaking of longest jump...
Extreme E will be introducing an innovative new feature to their X-prix's in the form of "Hyperdrive", the concept is simple; the team that makes the longest jump on lap one in each race will earn an extra boost of power, similar to Fanboost/attack mode in Formula E, which can be deployed by the driver at any point in the race.
When/Where Will Extreme E Take Place?
Announced back in December 2019 , Extreme E's inaugural season kicks off in January 2021, with the first race weekend taking place on the 22nd-24th January in Lac Rose, Senegal and the final race taking part at the end of October in the Amazon Rainforest, Brazil. There will be five rounds in total with other X-Prix's being hosted in Saudi Arabia, Nepal and Greenland. The races will be contested in areas already damaged by climate change with the goal to raise awareness to problems that have arisen from climate change, Extreme E have had many consultations with ecological experts in order to keep their presence in these areas to a minimum therefore, there will be no fans to watch these races live.
What Teams Will Be Taking Part?
Extreme E are not messing around in their first season with a star-studded line up of teams and personnel involved.
Lets start with the huge announcement made just a few days ago; Lewis Hamilton will be diving into the world of team ownership, entering "X44", named after the number he donned back in his karting days and the number he uses now in Formula One, Hamilton's entry will be sure to bring many eyes over to the new series and many people will be interested to see who his team consists of as well as how his team fares in the upcoming season.
Another brand new team entering the series is Veloce Racing, making the jump from Esports kings, to the real thing, but they are not alone in this hunt for glory, they have two-time Formula E champion, Jean Eric-Vergne named as background staff, as well as a man who needs no introduction; Adrian Newey who will be their "Lead Visionary".
Elsewhere a lot of familiar teams have made the jump to Extreme E, Team Techeetah reigning champions of Formula E have their eyes on taking another Electric Motorsport series by storm, other Formula E teams taking part include: ABT; who were the team behind Lucas Di Grassi's 2016-17 championship win in FE not to mention their seven decades of experience in motorsport in which they have won just about everything they have entered in. HWA have also thrown their hat into Extreme E, currently competing in FE, they are also very well known for their numerous titles and wins in DTM being one of the championships most successful teams, they also field teams in other series such as Formula 2. QEV, who have developed class leading powertrains and EV platforms and notably won season 1 of Formula E supporting Nelson Piquet JR and TEAM CHINA, a sign of things to come...?
We also have two massive teams joining us from "across the pond", firstly Chip Ganassi Racing who have an extensive racing pedigree spanning three decades with teams in the Nascar Cup Series and NTT Indycar with *just* the 19 championship titles and 220 wins combined. Finally we have Andretti United Extreme E, this team combines two massive teams in motorsport; Andretti Autosports and United Autosports and in turn bringing some of the biggest names to the table including McLaren F1 CEO Zak Brown and of course, Michael Andretti, this team have all the tools to be a serious contender.
What Drivers Are Taking Part?
Despite the season being just four months away, only two teams have announced drivers with Chip Ganassi Racing being the only team to announce a full line up in the shape of six-time Pro4 Champion Kyle Leduc and the first driver confirmed for the series and X-games medal winner, Sara Price. ABT have announced DTM and World Rallycross champion, Mattias Ekstrom.
With that being said, that does not mean teams are short of choices by any stretch of the imagination with many well known drivers and champions from a variety of different series registering their interest via "The Drivers Programme". Drivers from the programme will be recommended to teams, however, teams are free to choose their own drivers externally if they so wish. Some big names include: Six-time consecutive WRC champion Sebastien Orgier, W-Series champion Jamie Chadwick and reigning Formula E World Champion Antonio Felix Da Costa. Full list of drivers who have registered interest can be found here.
How Can I Watch and Get Involved?
Extreme E have a deal in place for all of their races in 2021 to be broadcast on live across the BBC with their qualifying rounds taking place on Saturday and the X-prix's taking place on Sunday. The team behind Extreme E's social media accounts are very vocal and interactive across all platforms including Youtube, Twitter and Instagram, (now they just need an official tribe am I right? Don't worry, already contacted them about this.) so drop them a like, comment on their posts or mention them and they will most likely give you a like, how kind!
Why Should I Tune Into Season 1 Of Extreme E?
Big things are predicted from the owners of Extreme E and with the buzz around the sport growing daily, this motorsport could grow into something massive, so why not say you've been there from the start?
If the unique race format, the beast of an E-SUV the teams will be using, the teams and personnel involved, the drivers interested and the message behind the X-Prix's haven't tempted you enough then let me summarise:
Extreme E is pitting some of the worlds best drivers from all different series against each other in short sprint-style races in near equal machinery with two days of pure racing, so if you are a fan of close wheel to wheel racing, World Rally Championship, Dakar, Off Road Races in unique venues and any team winning on any given day or just a fan of big wheels, big cars and big jumps, Extreme E might just be the new Motorsport to sink your teeth into, you can thank me later.