|Category||Electric off-road racing|
|Constructors||Spark Racing Technology|
|Tyre suppliers||Continental Tyres|
Extreme E is an FIA-sanctioned international off-road racing series that uses spec electric SUVs to race in remote parts of the world, such as the Amazon rainforest or the Arctic. All racing locations are chosen to raise awareness for some aspects of climate change and Extreme E maintains a "Legacy Programme" which intends to provide social and environmental support for those locations. The first season is planned to start in April 2021.
Extreme E began in 2018 as a project led by Formula E founder Alejandro Agag and former driver Gil de Ferran. The series was presented to the public in January 2019 with an event in London. The announcement took place on board of the RMS St Helena which will serve as "floating paddock" of the series, and also introduced Continental as tyre supplier and Brazilian company CBMM as niobium supplier for the vehicle production. Ali Russell was named Chief Marketing Officer, while Red Bull sports executives Kester Wilkinson and Nina Dreier signed on as event and marketing managers.
The first team to commit to the series, Venturi Racing, was announced in May 2019 (although they withdrew again before the first season). A couple months later, German team Abt Sportsline was the second team to join the series.
In July 2019 a first prototype of the series vehicle, the Odyssey 21, was showcased at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and in December 2019 the provisional calendar for the first season in 2021 has been revealed, featuring races in Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Greenland and Brazil.
In 2020 the series started to attract attention by having Ken Block race the Extreme E car at the last stage of the Dakar Rally in January and in September Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton announced the creation of his own Extreme E team, called X44. A six-day drivers test was held near the Châteaux de Lastours in southern France in late September and early October, featuring among confirmed series drivers some well-known racing drivers like Valtteri Bottas, Sébastien Loeb and Jean-Éric Vergne.
In November 2020, the vehicles were delivered to the teams, who could then apply their liveries and acquaint themselves with the car and its operations. The teams are limited to 100km of private testing. A joint test with eight teams and a race simulation was held at MotorLand Aragón in December, before the vehicles will be loaded onto the St Helena in February 2021 to be shipped to the first race in Saudi Arabia.
An Extreme E race weekend consists of four rounds with seven races in total: Two qualifying rounds (two races each) on Saturday, then the semi-finals (two races) and the final on Sunday. Each qualifying round consist of two races (with half of the cars in each race), and points are awarded based on finishing position. The teams scoring the most points in the two qualifying rounds proceed to semi-final 1, the remaining teams proceed to semi-final 2 (called "crazy race"). Semi-final rounds are one race each. The top three cars from SF1, and the top car from SF2, proceed to the final.
In each race the car must complete two laps of the course, with each team member driving one lap and co-driving the other lap. Teams must have one male and one female driver, who will perform the same driving and co-driving duties, promoting gender equality and a level playing field amongst competitors.
The Spark Odyssey 21 electric SUV was unveiled as the series' competition vehicle at Goodwood Festival of Speed on 5 July 2019. The vehicle is manufactured by Spark Racing Technology, the constructors of the Formula E cars, with a battery produced by Williams Advanced Engineering. The car is fitted with a niobium-reinforced steel alloy tubular frame, as well as crash structure and roll cage. It weighs 1,650 kg (3,640 lb), and is capable of 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, with 400 kW (540 hp) of power.
The Odyssey 21 was showcased in action in 2020 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia in January 2020. Guerlain Chicherit drove the vehicle during shakedown one day before the race start and Ken Block competed with it on the final stage between Haradh and Al-Qiddiya, finishing with the third fastest time in the car category.
In September 2019, Extreme E released a list of drivers who had registered official interest in driving in the series. Teams can, but don't have to choose drivers from this list. In November, a second group of inductees were announced to have joined the programme. The first driver signing, Sara Price with Chip Ganassi Racing, was announced in June 2020.
The following teams and drivers are set to compete in the first Extreme E season:
|Abt Cupra XE||Mattias Ekström|
|Acciona Sainz XE Team||Carlos Sainz|
|Andretti United Extreme E||Timmy Hansen|
|Chip Ganassi Racing||Sara Price|
|Hispano-Suiza Xite Energy Team||Oliver Bennett|
|Christine Giampaoli Zonca|
|Rosberg Xtreme Racing||Johan Kristoffersson|
|Veloce Racing||Jamie Chadwick|
|Team X44||Sébastien Loeb|
Extreme E plans to race in locations already damaged by climate change in order to bring awareness to the problems posed by climate change and have consulted ecological experts to keep the impact of their presence to a minimum. A provisional race schedule for 2021 was announced on 17 December 2019. An updated schedule was released at the series' launch event in October 2020. Because of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic the start of the season was pushed back to spring 2021 and a race in Ushuaia, Argentina was presented to replace the Nepal event.
|Desert||Saudi Arabia||Sharaan, AlUla||3-4 April 2021|
|Ocean||Senegal||Lac Rose||29-30 May 2021|
|Arctic||Greenland||Kangerlussuaq, Russell Glacier||28-29 August 2021|
|Amazon||Brazil||Santarém, Pará||23-24 October 2021|
|Glacier||Argentina||Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego||11-12 December 2021|
The RMS St Helena, a former Royal Mail Ship, will serve as a "floating paddock" and headquarters for the series. It will be used to carry all equipment, including the cars, to the race locations (or nearest port) in order to reduce carbon emissions compared to air freight. The ship's environmental footprint is further reduced by converting the propulsion units and the generators to run on ultra-low-sulfur diesel. The St Helena will also serve as a research vessel, carrying scientists and potentially holding conferences at the race locations.
Extreme E will use hydrogen fuel cell technology supplied by AFC Energy. Hydrogen fuel will be generated from water and solar energy and will then be used to charge the vehicles, allowing for a sustainable off-the-grid power generation.
Host broadcasters will be Aurora Media Worldwide and North One Television, producing live race coverage and a supporting documentary series, combining sport and scientific stories.Academy Award-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens was hired as the series artistic director to produce the broadcasts. Gil de Ferran said that the "viewers can expect a completely new way of consuming sport, with each episode telling not just the story of a race, but the wider race of awareness and the need to protect these remote and challenging environments being explored by Extreme E."