When the spectacular new Extreme E off-road racing series kicks off its second race of the season in Senegal on May 29 and 30, motorsport fans around the world will discover an extraordinary venue and completely redesigned vehicles, but also a unique and innovative set of rules. “Extreme E is an all-electric off-road racing series,” explains Sandra Roslan, who is responsible for the project at founding partner and main sponsor Continental, “in which the route is determined by the conditions at the respective venues. In order to meet their own ecological standards, the organisers will not make any changes to the natural environment. As a result, no two venues will be the same. This will ensure maximum variety in the race series.”
In fact, the race distance is the only constant in Extreme E, with the courses spanning around 16 kilometres. Each team consists of one male and one female driver, both of whom have to tackle the course one after the other. “The equal representation of the teams is unique in motorsport and is part of the concept of the Extreme E racing series,” says Roslan. “The times of both drivers are added together.” The teams themselves can decide which of their drivers will go first, and the names are not announced until immediately before the start, thereby ensuring mixed duels during the race.
Each race weekend is spread over two days: the qualifying sessions take place on Saturday, and the semi-finals and final are held on Sunday. “There are two semi-final races,” explains Roslan. “Each featuring the three best teams from the qualifying rounds. The remaining three teams go through to the Shootout, and will fight for championship points. The top two cars in each semi-final earn a place in the final to race for the all-important top step of the podium.”
A HyperDrive boost will provide additional excitement. “This speed bonus is available to each driver on each lap of the race,” says Roslan. “HyperDrive can be used at any point during the weekend to gain an advantage in the race and is activated when the driver presses a button on their steering wheel. Once pressed they will enjoy an increase in power for a fixed period making the timing of this a crucial decision.”
What is more, the teams can earn championship points not only through their overall finishes each weekend, but also along the way during qualifying sessions. “The top qualifier receives 12 points,” says Roslan. “With the second qualifier granted 11 points and so on, making each session important.” For the winning team in the final, 25 points will be awarded on each race weekend, for the runners-up 19 points, for third place 18 points and for fourth place 15 points. For the overall positions from five to nine, 12, 10, eight, six and four points will be awarded respectively.
In the races, which will be broadcast live all over Europe, all the teams will start with identical technical equipment: an SUV dubbed the ODYSSEY 21 fitted with 37-inch CrossContact Extreme E racing tyres, which have been specially developed for the series by technology company Continental and reliably bring the vehicle’s 550 HP to the track in all conditions.
Overview of all race dates for 2021
Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia April 3/4
Dakar, Senegal May 29/30
Kangerlussuaq, Greenland August 28/29
Santarém, Brazil October 23/24
Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego December 11/12