Extreme E - Electric Offroad Racing

Extreme E is a racing series for fully electric SUVs. Since the first event in April 2021, its races take place on off-road tracks in the "most extreme" regions of the world. The goal of the Extreme E is to raise awareness for the visible effects of climate change through motorsport in spectacular settings. To illustrate the problems, the series chooses race locations with specific examples. Extreme E is based on three pillars: electrification, environment, and equality - each team is required to hire a male and female driver.

The two initiators of the project - Alejandro Agag and McLaren Sporting Director Gil de Ferran - revealed the first details of the Extreme E during a launch event in London on January 31, 2019. After the vehicle prototype was first presented to the public in the summer of 2019, Extreme E released a first race calendar for the debut season shortly before Christmas 2019, but announced adjustments for the debut season in October 2020 and January 2021 (see Extreme E race calendar). The CEO of the Extreme E is Alejandro Agag, the founder of Formula E, who used many proven mechanisms from the single-seater category for his new project.

Race Format of Extreme E

All races in Extreme E, called X Prix, consist of several laps with an average total distance of 15 kilometers. Each of the teams competes with one male and one female driver. After one or two laps, depending on the length of the track, they switch places behind the wheel. The strategic decision of a team, which of the two drivers will take the wheel first, remains a secret until the start of the race, so that mixed duels on the track are possible.

For the start of Season 3 (2023), the series switched from a classic two-day race weekend to a double-header format. Thus, two races are now held per X Prix, consisting only of the qualifying and final rounds. The qualification round consists of two heats. Five teams each compete simultaneously for the best positions.

Points are awarded for each qualifying heat, but they do not affect the overall ranking. It is rather about achieving an intermediate qualifying result. Ten points are awarded per heat win, followed by two-point increments down to fifth place (see table). The result of the first qualification round is decisive for the starting positions of the second qualification round. The fastest, third-fastest, and fifth-fastest teams from Heat 1 move to positions 2 and 4 of the second heat, and vice versa. After this second qualification round, qualifying points are awarded again, and an overall result is calculated.

If two teams have the same number of points after both qualifying rounds, the faster time in the Continental Traction Challenge determines the better ranking. In addition, one championship point is awarded for each heat win.

Qualifying Points in Extreme E

Pos. Q-Points
1 10
2 8
3 6
4 4
5 2

The five teams with the most points after qualifying compete in the final and determine the victory and podium positions among themselves. The remaining five teams compete against each other in the Redemption Race for positions 6 to 10.

Points System in Extreme E

Pos. Points
1 25 (1st in Final)
2 18 (2nd in Final)
3 15 (3rd in Final)
4 12 (4th in Final)
5 10 (5th in Final)
6 8 (1st in Redemption Race)
7 6 (2nd in Redemption Race)
8 4 (3rd in Redemption Race)
9 2 (4th in Redemption Race)
10 1 (5th in Redemption Race)


Bonus Points for "Continental Traction Challenge" & Heat Wins

Two bonus points are awarded to the racing team that sets the fastest time in the "Continental Traction Challenge" over the weekend. The short section of the track is also used as a tie-breaker: in case of a tie in the qualifying ranking (for example, if two teams both finish in fourth place in their respective heats), the team that achieved the better time in the "Traction Challenge" will be ranked higher.

In addition, each victory in one of the four qualifying heats is rewarded with one extra point. Therefore, a team can receive a maximum of 29 points per weekend - 25 for winning the race, two for the "Continental Traction Challenge", and two for winning the heats in the qualifying round.

Both drivers of a team receive points in the driver standings. However, the points that a duo collects in the overall standings are only counted once for the team standings.

"Hyperdrive" increases maximum power once per lap

To add even more action on the track, Extreme E has introduced a feature called "Hyperdrive". This additional boost, similar to the Attack Mode in Formula E, offers all drivers the opportunity to unlock additional power once per lap. However, the Hyperdrive is not activated by driving through an Attack Zone, but rather by a button on the steering wheel. The amount of additional power that the Hyperdrive provides may vary depending on the track - up to a maximum of 400 kW.

TV Broadcast & Live Streams for Extreme E

The media conglomerate Discovery Communications secured the broadcasting rights for the Extreme E throughout Europe. Globally, there are many different right holders.

All races and sessions are streamed for free on the series' YouTube channel. In some markets, this can vary though depending on respective TV rights deals with broadcasters.

Travelling by Boat

To reach the remote race locations with cars, equipment, and personnel, the creators of Extreme E have come up with a remarkable solution: the former Royal Mail Ship St. Helena will serve as a floating paddock. On board the nearly 7,000-ton British postal ship, which used to supply the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic, there are laboratories, bedrooms for team staff, and guest areas. Extreme E arranged a comprehensive renovation and modernization of the ship with "green emission" technologies.

All equipment will be transported by sea. Extreme E has committed to carbon neutrality. The series originally planned to save around 50 percent of fuel by using a massive wind sail on the St. Helena. However, the idea was put on hold to focus on the ship's renovation while keeping the project financially viable.

GPS Tracking: Live Position of the Extreme E Ship St. Helena

Testing in Extreme E

The first serious test drive for the full-electric SUV "Odyssey 21" was scheduled for January 2020 in the Pyrenees. The brothers Timmy and Kevin Hansen competed against each other - both later received a regular cockpit. Guerlain Chicherit then drove Extreme E's standardized vehicle in the shakedown of the 2020 Dakar Rally, before opening the last race of the Dakar Rally on January 17, 2020. Finally, during the Qiddiya Grand Prix, the last stage, Ken Block set the overall third-fastest time of all participants in the Extreme E SUV.

In the fall of 2020, several well-known racing drivers took the opportunity to test the Extreme E vehicle during a test week in southern France. In addition to Andretti pilots Timmy Hansen and Catie Munnings, Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas, Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne, Jerome d'Ambrosio, Andreas Bakkerud, and German racing driver Sophia Flörsch piloted the electric race car.

In November and December 2020, all teams received their vehicles for the first season and then met for joint pre-season test drives in Aragon, Spain from December 17-19.

Scientific Committee of Extreme E

Extreme E wants to make a contribution to the restoration and recovery of damaged ecosystems affected by climate change in all of its race locations, together with local environmental initiatives. In April 2020, the series announced its "Scientific Committee," a group of distinguished scientists from various disciplines who will help implement the race events as sustainably as possible. The committee consists of:

  • Carlos Duarte (Professor of Marine Science at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and Chair of the Scientific Committee in Season 3)
  • Richard Washington (Professor of Climate Science at the University of Oxford, desert expert)
  • Lucy Woodall (The University of Exeter/Nekton Foundation, ocean expert)
  • Peter Wadhams (Professor of Ocean Physics, University of Cambridge's Emeritus, Arctic expert)
  • Francisco Oliveira (Doctorate earned in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge, Amazon expert)

Partners of Extreme E

Extreme E receives support from numerous sponsors and partners, including founding member Continental, which also acts as the official tire supplier. CBMM also supports Extreme E as a "niobium supplier," allowing for the integration of advanced niobium products into the chassis of the fully electric SUVs.

Video: What is Extreme E?

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