Extreme E, the all-electric off-road racing series set to launch in 2021, has outlined the race format for its five-event “adventure to some of the most formidable, remote and spectacular locations across the globe.”
The innovative format for the series, which its founders liken to “Star Wars Pod Racing meets Dakar Rally,” will pit teams campaigning the purpose-built ODYSSEY 21 electric SUVs in a series of events called X Prix, will incorporate two laps over a distance of approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles). Four teams, with two drivers – one male, one female – completing a lap apiece in-car, will race head-to-head in each race over the two-day event.
Qualifying takes place on day one to determine the top four runners who will progress through into Semi-Final 1 and the bottom four competitors who will go on to take part in Semi-Final 2. In the latter, dubbed ‘Crazy Race’, only the quickest team will progress into the Final, while the top three will make it through from Semi-Final 1. The winner of the Final – the fastest combination of team, drivers, car and engineers over the two-day contest– will then be crowned the X Prix winner.
Another innovative feature will be the Hyperdrive award, which will provide additional boost of speed to the team that performs the longest jump on the first jump of each race. Hyperdrive power can be used by that team at any point in the race.
This initial format is designed to incorporate eight teams, and can be adapted to accommodate additional entries. Each driver will complete one lap behind the wheel, with a changeover incorporated into the race format.
The teams will determine which driver goes first to best suit their strategy and driver order selections will be made confidentially, with competitors kept in the dark as to other teams’ choices until the cars reach the start line.
X Prix circuits will also incorporate natural challenges to increase the dramatic impact of the action, with hazards to navigate and overcome such as extreme gradients, jumps, banks, berms, pits, dunes and water splashes.
“Extreme E is a championship like nothing else that has come before in sport. Its goal and objective is to accelerate innovation and tackle climate change head on using transportation,” said Alejandro Agag, Extreme E founder and CEO.
“Creating this innovative sporting format, which we’re likening to Star Wars Pod Racing meets Dakar Rally, is vital in order to engage the next generation of motorsport fans. We hope our fans will enjoy the short, sharp, wheel-to-wheel racing this format has been built around, and with our high performance electric vehicle, driver changeover, the Hyperdrive feature, and the Crazy Race qualification format, there is plenty to watch out for, and many chances for positions to change hands, Our races really will go right to the wire.”
Extreme E’s 550-horsepower ODYSSEY 21 incorporates a number of innovations to enable it to cope with all the rigors of racing over the toughest terrain, where no car has raced before. The battery-electric, 400kw (550hp), 1650-kg (3638-lb), 7.5-ft wide E-SUV is bespoke from the ground u and is capable of going from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, at gradients of up to 130 percent.
It is made up of a common package of standardized 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, while tires, for both extreme winter and summer requirements, are supplied by Continental.
Like its circuit racing counterpart Formula E, Extreme E is aimed at showcasing the capabilities of electric vehicle technology while also highlighting the impact that climate change is having on its remote race locations.
The championship will announce further drivers, teams and partners over the coming weeks as it builds towards its early 2021 start date.