Co-founded by Formula E founder Alejandro Agag and McLaren Sporting Director Gil de Ferran, Extreme E is an all-electric offroad racing series. Since its inaugural season in 2021, Extreme E often races in remote locations such as the Saudi Arabian desert, the glaciers of Greenland and the rocky shrublands of Sardinia.
Extreme E uses the so-called “ODYSSEY 21” SUVs. They are mainly made of standardized parts manufactured by Spark Racing Technology. Powered by batteries by Williams Advanced Engineering, the cars can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.5 seconds. The maximum power output of the batteries is 470kW. Extreme E utilizes specifically designed and manufactured all-terrain tyres by Continental.
The field is made up of 10 teams with one car each. Prestigious motorsport names such as Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button have founded teams for Extreme E: X44 Vida Carbon Racing, Rosberg X Racing (RXR), and JBXE are just three teams competing in the series. Also competing in Extreme E are: ABT CUPRA XE, ACCIONA SAINZ XE Team, Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme E, Carl Cox Motorsport, NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team, GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing and Veloce Racing.
In terms of drivers, Extreme E is a first in motorsport: in a push for equality, the teams must field one male and one female driver, with contests between male and female drivers ensured. Accomplished drivers like Nasser Al-Attiyah (5-time overall winner of the Dakar Rally; ABT CUPRA XE), Cristina Gutiérrez (second woman to win a stage in the Dakar Rally; X44), Johan Kristoffersson (most successful FIA World Rallycross driver in history; RXR) and Molly Taylor (first woman to win in the Australian Rally Championship; Veloce Racing) are joined by up-and-coming drivers to make up the field.
Each race weekend incorporates two separate events, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. After a short shakedown on Friday, each day consists of two qualifying sessions with two heats/groups each, the Redemption Race, and the Final.
In the heats, 5 teams compete against each other in a multi-lap race. The teams confidentially nominate a starting driver before their first qualifying heat. After half the race distance (e.g. after 1 or 2 laps if the race is 2 or 4 laps long), the drivers enter the so-called switch zone where the starting driver exits the car and the other driver of the team takes over. The teams in 1st place in their heat receive 1 championship point (“CP”) and 10 qualifying points (“QP”). The teams from 2nd to 5th place receive 8 QP, 6 QP, 4QP and 2QP respectively. It is not possible for the same driver to start both heats.
After the qualifying sessions, the qualifying points are added up. This scoreboard decides which teams will compete in the Final and who will go to the Redemption Race. The top 5 proceed to the final, enabling the teams to battle for the win while the remaining teams will compete in the Redemption Race. The Final and Redemption Race work the same as the qualifying heats. The win in the final is rewarded with 25 championship points, the 2nd-placed drivers and team are awarded 18 points, 3rd place gives 15 points, 4th place 12 points and 5th place 10 points. The winner of the redemption race is treated as 6th place overall and awarded 8 points, 7th place 6 points and so on, with 10th place receiving 1 point.
During each session (Q1, Q2, Final/Redemption Race) every driver has one so-called “Hyperdrive” available, an energy boost for a fixed amount of time, adding another strategic element to the sessions. It can be activated at any point of the driver’s drive time, in whichever part of the track they want.
In addition to the points awarded to the qualifying heat winners and for the Final or Redemption Race results, two points are awarded for the “Continental Traction Challenge”. The track has an allocated section, and the team that sets the overall fastest combined (consisting of the quickest time of both the male and the female driver) time in this sector wins the challenge. This means it is possible to score a total of 29 championship points in one race day.
After a first race weekend in mid-March in Saudi-Arabia, Veloce Racing (Molly Taylor, Kevin Hansen) and Acciona Sainz XE Team (Laia Sanz, Mattias Ekström) are leading and tied on points with 46 points each. Season 1 champion RXR (Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, Johan Kristoffersson) are 3rd in the championship with 31 points. Reigning champion X44 are 4th in the standings, having accumulated 23 points in the first race weekend.
Extreme E will race in five locations across 3 or 4 continents; there is still to be an announcement where exactly Round 7 and 8 (race weekend 4) will take place.
To find out where you can Extreme E, visit https://www.extreme-e.com/en/broadcast-information for broadcast information for your country.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chiara Schanno was introduced to Motorsport through their family at a young age. Getting really into F1 in late 2016, they soon started to watch more series and is now particularly interested in electric racing like Formula E and feeder series racing like Formula 2. A non-motorsport related (fun) fact about Chiara is that they have stage experience in both acting and singing. They are based in Germany.
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