Car racing in a Scottish coal mine: Preview of the Extreme E Hydro X Prix
Eight weeks after the season opener in Neom (Saudi Arabia), Extreme E is back in Europe and will hold its first Scottish race this weekend. In the midst of a former coal mine, the focus is to be on water as an environmental theme. In sporting terms, Acciona Sainz and Veloce can count on the best chances after victories at the Desert X Prix. There has also been a change in the drivers field: Andreas Bakkerud replaces Heikki Kovalainen at JBXE. All other important information about the Hydro X Prix such as schedule and track we have compiled for you.
Where will the Extreme E race take place?
In 2023, Extreme E will hold its first race in Scotland. This had actually been scheduled for the second season. Although the British government invested in the race, it was simply dropped from the final version of the Extreme E race calendar. So now the London-based Extreme E is contesting its second "home race" after the Jurassic X Prix.
The race track will be built in the former Glenmuckloch coal mine, near the town of Sanquhar in southern Scotland. At first glance, that doesn't seem to fit with the message of the race, because the so-called Hydro X Prix focuses on the role of water in renewable energy. But the disused mine is currently being rebuilt to include a wind farm and pumped storage plant in the future. "The old mine is the perfect example of the necessary shift from fossil fuels to green energy," the off-road championship explains on its website.
What has happened since the last race in Neom?
The season opener in Neom is now two months ago. Since then, it has been quiet around Extreme E. During the break, the electric series released its sustainability report for the second season: the series emitted a total of 9,000 metric tons of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases last year. That equates to 1,808 tons of CO2e emissions per race, which is slightly less than in Formula E (about 2,100 tons per race). The sustainability report also looks at the performance gap between men and women, which it says narrowed by 26 percent between seasons 1 and 2. The calculation is based on the medians of the lap times.
As in the inaugural season, there was a driver change at JBXE in 2023 immediately after the first race. Once again, a former Formula 1 driver is affected, throwing in the towel after one race. This time it's Heikki Kovalainen instead of Jenson Button back then. Rallycross driver Andreas Bakkerud who was already on hand in Neom as the series' official male reserve driver has taken over for Kovalainen. Together with Hedda Hosas, JBXE is now relying on a Norwegian double. Tommi Hallmann and Tamara Molinaro will be the official Championship Drivers at the Hydro X Prix, should anyone drop out.
|Team||Female Driver||Male Driver|
|ABT Cupra||Klara Andersson||Nasser Al-Attiyah|
|Acciona | Sainz XE Team||Laia Sanz||Mattias Ekström|
|Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E||Catie Munnings||Timmy Hansen|
|Carl Cox Motorsports||Christine Giampaoli Zonca||Timo Scheider|
|JBXE||Hedda Hosas||Andreas Bakkerud|
|Neom McLaren Extreme E||Emma Gilmour||Tanner Foust|
|No. 99 GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing||Amanda Sorensen||RJ Anderson|
|Rosberg X Racing||Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky||Johan Kristoffersson|
|Veloce Racing||Molly Taylor||Kevin Hansen|
|X44 Vida Carbon Racing||Christina Gutierrez||Fraser McConnell|
When are the sessions, and who will broadcast them on TV & livestream?
The schedule for the two Extreme E races at Glenmuckloch - the X Prix takes place as a "double-header" like every race weekend this season - is as follows.
|Saturday||May 13, 2023||Qualifying||8:00 am - 9:30 am (CEST)||YouTube, extreme-e.com, Facebook, Twitter|
|Saturday||May 13, 2023||Final||2:00 pm - 4:00 pm (CEST)||YouTube, extreme-e.com, Facebook, Twitter|
|Sunday||May 14, 2023||Qualifying||8:00 am - 9:30 am (CEST)||YouTube, extreme-e.com, Facebook, Twitter|
|Sunday||May 14, 2023||Final||2:00 pm - 4:00 pm (CEST)||YouTube, extreme-e.com, Facebook, Twitter|
While the first qualifying session will be broadcast live, the second qualifying session will be incorporated into the coverage of the finale. There will be free streams on the Extreme E website, YouTube and social media in English language.
What makes the race track in Sanquhar special?
On Thursday afternoon, the official track configuration for the Hydro X Prix was unveiled. The surface consists mainly of grass and gravel, but also includes a rocky passage and a water crossing. The layout is characterized by several hairpin bends where it could get tight in the race. From the track map it can be concluded that there will be several steep climbs and steep descents that the drivers will have to overcome with the Odyssey 21. Jumps with the vehicle are also planned. The track length is 2.67 kilometers.
What is the Extreme E Legacy Program in Sanquhar?
Rising temperatures and dry summers are a cause of declining biodiversity even in Scotland, which is known for rain. In the specific example of the river Nith, which is just a few meters from the race course, the number of salmon that are native to the area has declined. That's why Extreme E has located its Legacy Project there.
Native trees are to be planted on the embankment to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion, on the one hand. On the other hand, the series hopes to maintain or reduce the water temperature through the shade of the trees. With the help of sensors, the water quality and especially temperature will be monitored.
What will the weather be like?
In Sanquhar, drivers and teams can expect a mix of sun and cloud with temperatures between 5 and 15 degrees Celsius. On Saturday, rain is unlikely, while on Sunday the probability of rain increases. Strong winds are expected in places, with gusts of up to 50 km/h.
Who are the favorites?
Veloce Racing and Acciona Sainz have made an excellent start to the third season of Extreme E, each with a win and a second place in Neom. They travel to Scotland as co-favorites. However, with two podium results, Rosberg X Racing - with Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Johan Kristoffersson - has also scored some points, even if the Swedish duo was unable to confirm its dominance of the first two seasons.
Andretti, JBXE and Carl Cox Motorsports had the most homework to do after the Saudi Arabia races. It remains to be seen if they can make a step forward. In between, X44, ABT Cupra, Chip Ganassi Racing and McLaren form a group of teams in the midfield, between which it could also be close in Glenmuckloch. They are also likely to be aiming for the podium.