Extreme E: The electric off-road racing series & 2021 racing calendar

Extreme E is an upcoming race series that takes drivers through harsh terrains in all-electric off-roaders. Inspired by the Dakar Rally, the most well-known cross-country rallying event in the world and Formula E, an all-electric twist on Formula 1; Extreme E is set to be one of the most exciting new motorsports of the decade.

In an attempt to raise awareness of the ill-effects of global warming, Alejandro Agag, the founder and CEO of Extreme E, will take the racing series to remote locations across the globe where areas have been hit the hardest by climate change.

Here’s your TotallyEV guide to Extreme E.

Watch: Sara Price discusses Extreme E & Women in Motorsport

Extreme E: Odyssey 21 SUV

As an all-electric off-road racing series, Extreme E couldn’t use the streamlined Spark SRT05e Gen2 vehicle that’s supplied in Formula E. Instead, Spark Racing Technology, the manufacturer of the latter vehicle designed the Odyssey 21 – an all-electric, all-terrain SUV.

The vehicle operates on a four-wheel-drive (4WD) system, where its mid-mounted motor dispatches 400 kW (550 hp) of power. As a result, the 1650-kilogram, 2.3m-wide SUV can reach 0-62 mph in 4.5 seconds at gradients of up to 130%. That’s an electrifying pace.

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As is the case with Formula E, each vehicle will comprise of a common package of standardised parts. The powertrain will be manufactured by Spark Racing Technology and the battery pack by Williams Advanced Engineering, who also will be supplying the battery for the upcoming Gen3 Formula E car.

The chassis itself is a Niobium-reinforced steel alloy tubular frame, where a crash structure and roll cage protect the driver from severe accidents. Continental will be the suppliers of tyres for the entirety of the race series.

Extreme E Odyssey 21 SUV

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Extreme E: Race calendar

The inaugural season is set to take place in early 2021; there are five locations in the series, each outlining the impact of climate change:

Read next: Extreme E’s ship St. Helena gets a fresh new look

Extreme E: Climate change

The role of Extreme E is more than just providing a refreshing new motorsport to the scene; it’ll be used to highlight the effects of climate change. Here, ecological experts will be consulted to minimise the impact of the races on the environment. To help, Extreme E has elected a scientific committee, which comprises of the following individuals:

  • Head of Scientific Committee/Arctic Scientist: Professor Peter Wadhams (The University of Cambridge)
  • Ocean Scientist: Dr. Lucy Woodall (The University of Oxford/Nekton Foundation)
  • Amazon Scientist: Dr. Francisco Oliveira PhD (The University of Cambridge)
  • Desertification and Droughts Scientist: Professor Richard Washington (The University of Oxford/The University of Cape Town)

To take things to another level, the race paddock, which is often flown around the world in other motorsports, will be on a ship – more specifically the RMS St. Helena.

Here, teams and their engineers, vehicles and drivers will all be under one ‘roof’. Communication from the race paddock to the drivers will take place over-the-air; drivers will have a virtual track via a Head’s Up Display (HUD) and will be able to communicate over-the-air with their team back at base, on RMS St. Helena.

Extreme E racing

Read next: Can we use sport as a platform for climate change?

Extreme E: Race format

Extreme E’s races, which will be known as X Prix, will involve two laps over a distance of around 11 miles (18 km). Nine teams, with two drivers – one male, one female – will complete a lap apiece each day over the two-day event. Teams can choose which driver goes first.

It all starts with qualifying, which takes place on Saturday. There are two rounds of time trials, where one is conducted in the morning, and the other in the afternoon. Here, the time trials feature two laps with an incorporated driver switch. The order in which teams start the qualifying is determined by a lottery draw.

Once all the time trials have been completed, the fastest team (combining both driver results) will get the best position on the grid for the Sunday X Prix. Given there are nine teams partaking in the inaugural season of Extreme E, they will be classified from 1st to 9th place based on their qualifying performance.

Continental Tyres Extreme E races

To complicate matters even further, Extreme E has decided on adding another layer of complexity to the racing format. From the nine teams that partake, the top three teams from the qualifying session on the Saturday, go into a ‘Semi-Final’ bracket. Here, within the ‘Semi-Final’ bracket there will be two out of three teams that progress to the X Prix Final.

The middle three teams (4th, 5th, 6th) from qualifying go through to the ‘Crazy Race’, where they’ll battle it out for a spot to make it into the X Prix Final.

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The bottom three teams (7th, 8th and 9th) from qualifying head to the ‘Shoot Out’, to determine their place in the Championship – these teams won’t take part in the X Prix final.

As a result, in the X Prix Final, there will be three teams taking part to get maximum points from the racing event; again, that’s the two winners from the Semi-Final and the winner of the ‘Crazy Race’. The starting position for X Prix Final will be decided by fans through the GridPlay voting system.

If a team is disqualified from a Semi-Final or Final they will receive no points for that race.

Extreme E format 2021

As for ‘GridPlay’, this feature, much like Formula E is a means of fans interacting with their favourite drivers. The team that gets the most votes combined gets to hand-pick its spot in the starting line for the X Prix Final. Fans can vote up to twice a day and closes after the Semi-Final 2 (Crazy Race) has finished. One can vote via Extreme E’s website or on Twitter using hashtags #GridPlay #DriverName.

The teams that have qualified for the final take their percentage of votes. The teams that don’t make the final race can ‘gift’ their votes to their preferred team. The team with the least votes goes first in gifting its votes, so the final team to gift votes is most likely to have the deciding vote.

Aside from the race format, a ‘Hyperdrive’ boost will also be available to each driver on each lap of the race. Activated when the driver presses a button on their steering wheel, they will enjoy an increase in power for a fixed amount of time.

Extreme E: Championship points

When it comes to working out the overall winner, Extreme has opted to give points for both qualifying and the race itself, plus awarding a singular point for the race driver and team that achieve the longer overall jump.

The points format is as follows for qualifying:

  • 1st: 12 points
  • 2nd: 11 points
  • 3rd: 10 point
  • 4th: 9 points
  • 5th: 8 points
  • 6th: 7 points
  • 7th: 6 points
  • 8th: 5 points
  • 9th: 4 points

As for the race itself:

  1. 1st: 25 points
  2. 2nd: 19 points
  3. 3rd: 18 points
  4. 4th: 15 points
  5. 5th: 12 points
  6. 6th: 10 points
  7. 7th: 8 points
  8. 8th: 6 points
  9. 9th: 4 points

Extreme E: The teams

Extreme E will see nine teams in the first season:

Better still, it’s the first time where teams will have to field one male and one female driver in their roster. This is to promote gender equality and further set a level playing field amongst competitors. Each driver per team completes one full lap before handing it over to the next.

Extreme E teams

Teams will be in charge to determine which driver goes first to best suit their strategy; driver order selections are made confidentially, with competitors kept in the dark as to other teams’ choices until the cars reach the start line.

Watch: Jamie Chadwick discusses Women in Motorsport & Extreme E

Extreme E: How to watch

Numerous broadcasters from across the world are set to have the race series available via their chosen platforms; from the BBC in the UK to RTM in Malaysia. A full list of broadcast information can be found on Extreme E’s website.

The organisation is also working with Velocity Experience to develop ways of presenting key events and virtual immersive experiences – as there won’t be any space for a live audience, Extreme E will be looking to engage with its fans virtually.

Extreme E drive

Watch: Catie Munnings discusses Extreme E & Women in Motorsport

David Coulthard, a former Formula 1 driver and the CEO of Velocity Experience, said: “It is important to focus on the future of event solutions and really drive a new way of watching and engaging around motorsport, making the championship as accessible as possible for all of our fans.”

That’s about everything you need to know about Extreme E; if you found this guide useful or would like to ask us a question, let us know in the comments section below. Alternatively, you can reach out to us via social media: we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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