After tackling desert conditions in its opening rounds, the Extreme E off-road series is tackling a polar opposite this weekend with the Arctic X Prix, which will throw a new set of challenges and terrains at the series’ nine teams and 18 drivers.
The course has been designed around a large, relatively open plain at the edge of the Russell Glacier, just outside the town of Kangerlussuaq in Greenland. The terrain has a mixture of rock sizes from large boulders down to a fine glacial sediment and sand dunes, crafted and shaped by the wind blowing down the valley and the melting water coming off the glacier.
The start of the course is at the western end of the plain on a flat area 123 meters/75 feet above sea level, beginning on a mixture of compact sediment and small rocks, before heading north towards the sand dunes. A wide-open section will offer drivers a myriad of different routes to take through the sandy mogul field that brings them out at the bottom of the first climb up the sand dunes. The course briefly heads back downhill on to the plain for a short section, before turning back up into the dunes to the farthest northerly part of the course.
At this point, the course disappears to the far side of the dunes and around a small glacial water lake before winding its way up to the highest point on the dunes measuring 180 metres, before dropping out of the sandier section and reconnecting with the open plain, which will likely bring higher speeds. While it appears flat from a distance, the wind and water flows have shaped the floor, so expect the all-electric ODYSSEY 21s to dance across this area – it is certainly not flat out.
Winding its way to the farthest westerly point, the course drops twice into the huge riverbed with steep drops down and then jumps back up onto the plain. This is also home to the Super Sector — a section of the course where the fastest driver over the weekend will earn five points for their team.
Following the back straight, the course turns back towards the Switch and Finish areas. The slowest and perhaps most technical part of the course ventures across a small “rock garden,” littered with medium to large rocks. The drivers will have to be patient as they slowly pick their way through this unique and very technical part of the course.
The route back towards the Start and Switch zones now begins across the bumpy plain, finishing off the spectacular 6.68-kilometer/4.15-mile course of the Arctic X Prix.
“The Arctic X Prix course offers a true spectacle and a brand-new challenge for teams and drivers,” Alejandro Agag, Extreme E founder and CEO said. “To be racing on an area which was once a glacier up until its suffering at the hands of the climate crisis is very special and I’m sure through the racing and our broadcast product, we will heighten fans’ awareness of what is happening to the planet.
“This course is like nothing the motorsport world has ever seen as we are the first series to ever go racing in this location, which means teams will have to get to grips with the setting pretty quickly. I can’t wait to see what prevails this weekend, and who will take the top step on the podium.”
The Arctic X Prix will air on FS1 on Sunday, with the semi-final rounds starting at 11:30 a.m. ET and the finals at 6:00 p.m. ET.