The Extreme E racing series is known for being decided by the finest of margins, which means every single championship point is precious. Aside from the standard points awarded according to where each team finishes the races, the drivers will now be giving extra attention to the bonus points up for grabs in Continental’s Traction Challenge.
Before we get into the technicalities of the Traction Challenge itself, let’s go over the Extreme E basics. If you’re already an Extreme E whizz, feel free to scroll down.
On any given race weekend, there will be one predefined course, chosen carefully to push the drivers to their limits with ruthless conditions. Each of the ten racing teams consists of one male driver, one female driver, one all-electric SUV and, of course, four high-performance Continental tyres.
Each race weekend is divided into three stages: Two qualifying rounds followed by the Finals. The qualifying rounds determine which teams will compete in which of the final races, where championship points are eventually awarded.
The teams are ranked 1st to 10th and awarded points accordingly – the first-place team will receive 25 championship points, the tenth-place team just one. These points will contribute to the standings in the overall Extreme E league table. Whoever tops the table after all five of the season’s races will be crowned Extreme E champions.
In any ordinary race, whether on foot, by boat, or indeed by car, you’d get a starting point and – somewhere further away – a finish line. But as you know, Extreme E is far from your ordinary racing series. Every Extreme E course includes a predefined section known as the Continental Traction Challenge – formerly the ‘Super Sector’.
Of course, in a way, the entire Extreme E season is one big international traction challenge, just ask our CrossContact tyres! The beauty of this Continental Traction Challenge, however, is that the team who completes this section of the course in the fastest time will be awarded five extra championship points, regardless of their position.
From the qualifying rounds through to the final, the fastest Traction Challenge time for each individual driver will be recorded. The fastest times of both drivers in a team will be added together, and the team with the lowest combined time will be given those five, potentially crucial, bonus points, courtesy of Continental.
To give you an idea of just how crucial Traction Challenge points could be: At the end of season one, RXR and X44 both had exactly 155 points to their names – the Rosberg pair (RXR) clinched the title thanks to their slightly faster overall time – a tie-breaker. Imagine if X44 had picked up five more Traction Challenge points somewhere along the way… We’ll let you do the math.
What this means is that if a team is lagging behind in a race, their position already more or less determined, there is still every incentive to put the pedal to the metal and dash through the Traction Challenge section.
Aside from giving each stage of the race an extra competitive edge, the Traction Challenge will also come in handy as a tie-breaker. The third-place teams from each of the two semi-finals, for example, will be awarded 8 or 6 points at the end of the weekend, depending on which of them completed the Traction Challenge in the fastest time.
What about if two teams achieve the same result in the qualifying heats? How is it decided who goes into which final? You guessed it: Traction Challenge!