We’re six months out from Extreme E’s first ever event, which means it’s time to start digging into what, exactly, this series is all about. And while we’ve talked about it before on Jalopnik, this is your comprehensive guide to getting too know this electric off-road racing series.
Now, as a quick disclaimer, we’re still missing a little bit of information. Not every team has announced its driver lineup at this point in time, but we do know the liveries and the nine teams that will be contesting the first season. This guide will be updated as that information becomes available.
Extreme E is an electric off-road racing series founded by Alejandro Agag, who also founded Formula E. As such, the two series have close ties, but the mission of Extreme E is a little different. Instead of racing in city centers like Formula E to bring the possibilities of electric cars to a large audience, Extreme E is going to be racing in areas of the world facing the most dire impacts of climate change.
While it is a racing series, Extreme E is also a way to highlight those impacts of climate change. Documentaries will be made throughout the duration of the season that cover not only the racing but also the scientific and cultural importance that these specific areas have on our planet.
Extreme E drivers will compete behind the wheel of the Spark ODYSSEY 21, an electric SUV. It has a niobium-reinforced steel alloy tubular frame, crash structure, roll cage, and tires for variable conditions. It’s very much a spec car, with really limited opportunities for development.
The series will also be drawing on Formula E for information regarding car development, including using data from the base chassis, battery, suspension, ECU, software, and the FE powertrain motor (the last of which is entirely optional). Manufacturers will have the opportunity to alter the engine cover, side skirt, lights, and front and rear bumpers. Manufacturers are also allowed to sell their powertrains to other teams, much in the style of Formula E.
Extreme E’s format is an interesting one. Folks familiar with rallying will likely pick up on the format much quicker than those who watch circuit racing.
Only eight cars can compete in each race weekend. Each team must consist of a driver and a co-driver, with one male and one female racer at the helm for at least one lap of the course. Each racer within the car will equally perform both racing and co-driving duties.
Each weekend will consist of five round of competition. On Saturday, there will be two qualifying rounds that consist of two races of four cars each. Points are awarded based on finishing position, and the four cars with the most points will move onto semi-final 1, with the bottom four proceeding to semi-final 2, the latter of which is called the “crazy race.”
Both semi-final races and the final race will take place on Sunday. Semi-final rounds are each one race, with the top three cars from the first semi-final and the top one car from the second semi-final proceeding to the final round.
Fans will have a say in setting the grid for the final event. You can read more about how that works here.
Race weekends will be called “X-Prix.”
It’s a little bit rally and a little bit drag racing, but the goal is to make for interesting entertainment all across the board.
Aurora Media Worldwide and North One Television are serving as guest broadcasters, but there is currently very limited information about how to watch events live.
Update Nov. 16, 2020 12:15 PM ET: We have received broadcasting information for the following countries:
- Europe and North America: Discovery
- United States, Canada, the Caribbean: FOX Sports
- Canada: RDS
- United Kingdom: BBC
- Ireland: Virgin Media
The Extreme E website will include updates for other countries around the world, which we will link when available.
Right now, there are nine teams signed up to compete in the inaugural Extreme E season in 2021. We’re going to run through each team, its livery, its drivers, and why you might have heard of the people behind this team before.
Why You Know Them: X44 is seven-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton’s team. Hamilton has grown more and more environmentally conscious as his career has progressed, and his founding of an Extreme E team is designed to raise awareness about climate change. He has also established something called the Legacy Program, “which involves working alongside the communities in its locations to leave positive impact dependent on local needs.”
Why You Know Them: Yes, the Nico Rosberg-Lewis Hamilton rivalry is back, this time with the two drivers as team owners. Rosberg has stated that, “The series represents an amazing opportunity to inspire action in the fight against climate change—the single biggest threat to our planet today,” which is largely his reason for jumping onboard. The rivalry revival is just an added bonus.
Drivers: Sara Price, Kyle LeDuc
Why You Know Them: Former race driver Chip Ganassi has had successful race teams in just about every race series you can imagine, from NASCAR to IndyCar to Global Rallycross to endurance racing. Ganassi is the only team owner whose cars have won the Rolex 24, the Indy 500, the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400, the Sebring 12 Hour, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This is the team’s first foray into electric racing in its 30-year history.
Drivers: Timmy Hansen, Catie Munnings
Why You Know Them: Andretti is another one of those names that has existed in racing for decades, with the team finding special success in the IndyCar series. Andretti made its first foray into electric racing with Formula E, and it’s great to see the team making an appearance in the newest iteration of EV competition.
Drivers: Mattias Ekström, TBA
Why You Know Them: ABT has made a name for itself in both Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters and Formula E, securing five DTM titles and Lucas di Grassi’s Formula E championship in 2016-17. The team has been committed to electric racing since the start of FE.
Drivers: Jamie Chadwick, TBA
Why You Know Them: TECHEETAH is the Chinese racing team that has scored the last two Formula E championship titles with Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa. The team is a relatively recent inductee into the racing world, but its success right out of the gate bodes well for Extreme E.
Why You Know Them: Veloce Racing is owned by Veloce Esports, an industry leader in the sim racing world. Despite TECHEETAH’s appearance on the grid, Jean-Eric Vergne is actually one of the key figures behind the Veloce Racing team. Red Bull Racing’s legendary chief technical officer Adrian Newey has also joined the team with the title of “Lead Visionary.”
Why You Know Them: German company HWA has competed in both DTM and Formula E, along with various other GT and open-wheel racing series. This is the second big rivalry on the Extreme E grid, with HWA frequently doing battle with ABT in DTM.
Why You Know Them: QEV Technologies has supported teams in Formula E since the series’ inception. It makes sense that a company devoted to electric mobility would be interested in fielding a team in Extreme E.
March 20-21: Desert X Prix: Al Ula, Saudi Arabia
May 29-30: Ocean X Prix: Lac Rose, Senegal
August 28-29: Arctic X Prix: Kangerlussusaq, Greenland
October 23-24: Amazon X Prix: Para, Brazil
December 11-12: Glacier X Prix: Patagonia, Argentina