The new off-road Extreme E competition has started this weekend. The championship of the electric SUVs was created by the Spanish co-founder of Formula E, Alejandro Agag as a means to raise environmental awareness and support electric mobility.
At the same time, Extreme E is delivering a message of gender equality with each of the nine teams made up of a mixed couple. The championship has purposefully chosen five locations particularly affected by environmental pollution in order to highlight their green message. Also, and without losing their focus on the ecological emergencies that affect some areas of the planet, they are set to offer a great competitive show.
Odyssey 21, 550 hp SUV
All of the contestants will be driving the same model, the Odyssey 21, a fully electric all-wheel drive SUV, built on a tubular chassis by the French company Spark Racing Technology. The Odyssey 21 is 4.4 meters long and 2.3 meters wide and features an electric powertrain powered by a battery developed by Williams Advanced Engineering, which provides the necessary power to the engine.
The system is able to deliver a maximum power of 400 kW, equivalent to about 550 horsepower, which allows the vehicle to go from 0 to 100 km / h in 4.5 seconds. The design of the outer shell is quite homogeneous for most vehicles although teams are allowed to develop some parts of the bodywork.
Saudi Arabia, first round
The format of the Extreme E competition, which kicks off at the ‘X-Desert’ in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, will be based on a series of off-road sprint races. After yesterday’s shakedown, there will be two timed qualifying rounds.
The best three will move on to the final, while the teams classified from fourth to sixth place will come head-to-head in the so-called ‘Crazy Race‘, with the winner also given a place in the grand finale.
Another incentive for the adventurous participants is the so-called ‘hyper boost’, an extra power allowance to be awarded to the vehicle that stars in the longest jump over the first obstacle on the track.
Similar to Formula E‘s FanBoost, the ‘Gridplay‘ will allow the team with the highest number of votes to choose the starting order. To add an extra level of excitement there will be a change of pilots halfway through the race. All in all, Extreme E has been strategically designed to be as dynamic and competitive as possible, both of which could be key elements of its success.
Nine times… and racing stars as Carlos Sainz
Of the nine teams that make up the Extreme E grid two Spanish structures stand out, the Hispano-Suiza and, above all, Acciona Sainz XE, which are certain to attract a large chunk of national fans.
The latter is precisely one of the favourites thanks to its luxury line-up: Three-time Dakar champion, Carlos Sainz, and the famous Dakar motorcycle pilot, Laia Sanz. Meanwhile, Oliver Bennett and Christine Giampaoli will defend the colours of the Hispano-Suiza team.
Another attractive team for Spanish fans will be the Team X44 , owned by seven-time Formula 1 champion, Lewis Hamilton and with Cristina Gutiérrez from Burgos and nine-time WRC champion, Sebastien Loeb at the wheel. Besides Hamilton, there are other big Formula One names with a stake in the new Extreme E.
On the one hand, there is the RXR team belonging to Nico Rosberg (Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor) and on the other the JBXE of Jenson Button, who will form a racing couple with Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky.
Completing the grid are American teams Andretti United (Timmy Hansen and Catie Munnings) and Chip Ganassi (Kyle LeDuc and Sara Price), German CUPRA (Mattias Ekström and Claudia Hürtgen) and British Veloce Racing (Stéphane Sarrazin and Jamie Chadwick).
Images of Extreme E: Team X44.