Motorsports: Extreme E: How do the races in series work? Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg
In April 2021, a new motorsport racing series will be launched: Extreme E. At its core, it is a radical new off-road racing series, with roots in Formula E, which will showcase electric SUVs and futuristic technologies in some of the world’s most remote and challenging environments. Eurosport will be bringing you the action live.
Extreme E: A big challenge and a race around the globe
Want to find out more about the exciting new motorsport racing series Extreme E? We've got you covered with some of the key questions and answers.
What is Extreme E?
Extreme E is a radical new off-road racing series, founded by the same visionary behind Formula E, which will showcase electric SUVs and futuristic technologies in some of the world’s most remote and challenging environments.
This five-event global voyage will utilise its sporting platform for the purpose of promoting electrification, environment and equality.
Although he won't be driving in the series, F1 superstar Lewis Hamilton has been involved (watch the video at the top of the page to find out more), while former British F1 star Jenson Button has his own team.
Rally legends Carlos Sainz and Sebastien Loeb will be racing; meanwhile, like Hamilton, former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg has also been involved.
Extreme E: Hamilton, Loeb and Rosberg committed to new series
What is the competition format?
The series has devised an innovative format which has been designed to display short, sharp action. Each race, which will be known as an X Prix, will involve two laps over a total distance of approximately 16 kilometres.
Teams - with two drivers, one male, one female – race against each other over the two-day event. Each driver will complete one lap behind the wheel of the ODYSSEY 21 electric SUV, with a driver changeover, the ‘Switch’, slotted into 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.
Qualifying takes place on day one, to determine the top four runners who will progress through into semi-final one and the remaining competitors who will go on to take part in semi-final two: the unique ‘Crazy Race’. The ‘Crazy Race’ will be an all-or-nothing fight, with the quickest two teams progressing into the final, while the top three will make it through from semi-final one. The winner of the final – the fastest combination of team, drivers, car and engineers over the two-day battle – will then be crowned the X Prix winner.
X Prix courses will incorporate natural challenges, and drivers and teams will be pushed right to the limits of their abilities, with hazards to navigate and defeat such as extreme gradients, jumps, banks, berms, pits, dunes and water splashes.
Championship points will be awarded after the Final as follows:
1st - 25 points
2nd - 15 points
3rd - 10 points
4th - 7 points
5th - 6 points
6th - 5 points
7th - 4 points
8th - 3 points
9th - 2 points
10th - 1 point
Why is it different?
In a motorsport world-first, teams will field one male and one female driver, promoting gender equality and a level playing field amongst competitors. The teams will determine which driver goes first to best suit their strategy and driver order selections are made confidentially, with competitors kept in the dark as to other teams’ choices until the cars reach the start-line. Contests between males and females will therefore be ensured.
The championship is enlisting fan voting, through GridPlay, where fans can vote for their favourite driver. When voting has finished, the driver’s votes are added together to give each team a final percentage of the votes.
The teams that don’t make the final race must ‘gift’ their votes to their preferred team in the final. The grid places for the final are based upon the voting results once all teams not in the final have gifted their votes to the other teams.
Extreme E: Button launches his car and team ahead of new series
In addition, qualifying will be shown live on the Eurosport international Facebook page.
What are the races?
Desert X Prix - Al-'Ula, Saudi Arabia - 3–4 April
Ocean X Prix - Lac Rose, Senegal - 29–30 May
Arctic X Prix - Kangerlussuaq, Greenland - 28–29 August
Amazon X Prix - Para, Brazil - 23–24 October
Glacier X Prix - Tierra del Fuego, Argentina - 11–12 December
What is the objective?
The series’ goal is to highlight the impact of climate change in some of the world’s most endangered environments, promote the adoption of electric vehicles to pave the way for a lower carbon future, and provide a world-first gender-equal motorsport platform.
The first sport to ever be built out of a social purpose, Extreme E aims to minimise environmental impact while maximising awareness, racing in places that have already been damaged or affected by climate change or human interference and taking fans deep into the heart of the most pressing issues facing our planet’s future.
Not only that, but Extreme E is also helping the car industry to develop future-facing technology using racing as a platform for road innovation, which accelerates change 10-fold.
What about the cars?
The championship cars are a one-design fleet, a fully electric SUV, named ODYSSEY 21. In order to withstand the harsh conditions it will face, the car’s peak 400kw (550bhp) output is capable of firing the 1780-kilogram, 2.3-metre wide e-SUV from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, at gradients of up to 130 per cent.
Each vehicle comprises a common package of standardised 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, whilst its tyres, the vehicle’s crucial connection to these terrains, are designed for the extreme conditions by Continental.
Extreme E: Rally legend Sainz reveals involvement and passion for new series
How do the batteries work?
The batteries have been specially-designed and developed by Williams Advanced Engineering, plugging into the expertise and experience of the same minds who will be supplying the batteries for Gen3 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, starting in 2023.
Designed to withstand the extreme temperatures, conditions and terrains, the batteries will produce a maximum power output of 400 kWh (equivalent to 550bhp). Teams have been provided with identical 54kWh battery packs, to be used in the first two seasons of Extreme E.
View from the founder
Alejandro Agag: "We have been planning this series for over two years, and it has already been a major journey, but now we are finally ready to go racing and start this adventure for real.
"This first Season of Extreme E is going to be like nothing seen before. We have incredible teams backed by some of the biggest names in motorsport,– multiple world champions from rally, road and endurance – and five formidable locations, all either suffering or at risk of the effects of the climate crisis.
"Of course, Extreme E is a motorsport, but it is also more than that. It symbolises the race for our planet, that we all need to play our part in. My vision is that we will use the power of sport to raise awareness of crucial issues, whilst showcasing the solutions we can all be part of as we promote a less carbon-intensive world."