Extreme E, the all-electric SUV racing series conceived of by Formula E founder Alejandro Agag, has finally announced where it will be wrapping up its inaugural season: a military base in Dorset, England for the Jurassic X Prix. And that decision stands in stark contrast to the series’ initial goals.
Extreme E’s aims are vast: It wants to help bring an end to climate change by racing in, and calling attention to areas where climate change will have a devastating impact. Once in those locations, the series aims to conduct research and forge connections with local communities to facilitate lasting and ongoing change. Hosting the final race in Dorset does seem to run contrary to many of those goals.
That said, CEO Agag isn’t trying to mask the concerns, admitting, “This move is a poignant shift in our mission to race in remote, far-away places to highlight the effects of climate change.”
He did continue, however, “Increasingly, the issues we talk about are literally happening in our backyards, so it felt like the right time to bring the spotlight home, and help the army reduce its own carbon footprint.”
The decision to host a race in England after scheduling one in Italy is also likely related to concerns surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, the final dates for Extreme E’s inaugural season took place in Pará, Brazil and Patagonia, Argentina for the Amazon and Glacier X Prix, respectively — but those events were postponed due to COVID. It was deemed unsafe to travel to South America, and changing regulations made it difficult to predict what the situation would be like days, if not months, in advance of the event.
After attending an X Prix as a journalist, I can confirm that sorting out travel to those remote locations in the middle of a pandemic was no easy task; while I had begun planning to attend the Arctic X Prix at the very start of 2021, I wasn’t sure if I’d actually make it to the final location until I landed in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. These faraway destinations usually require layovers or flight changes in different countries, many of which have very different COVID regulations. Sticking to a nearby location removes all those logistical headaches.
It also provides an opportunity for Extreme E to explore climate change closer to home. The event in Dorset will be called the Jurassic X Prix due to its location on the Jurassic coastline, and it will take place on December 18-19, 2021.
“The world needs to move forward when it comes to the combustion engine and many other practices, and what better way to symbolize that than with a Jurassic-themed X-Prix,” Agag said. “Unless we push forward with climate and sustainability action, certain species risk becoming extinct, and that is something we simply cannot ignore any longer.”
The actual race has been organized between Extreme E, the British Army, the Ministry of Defense, and Motorsport UK — a requirement because the event will take place at the Bovington military base.