Legendary off-road racer and YouTube star Ken Block prepares to take the wheel of Extreme Es E-SUV to participate within the Grand Prix of Qiddiya finale of the Dakar 2020, on January 17, 2020.
FRANCK FIFE | AFP | Getty Images
The first-ever season of a singular, model new motorsport, Extreme E, will get beneath approach live on Sky Sports this weekend.
Don’t know what it is all about? Then learn on — listed here are all the principle questions answered by Sky Sports presenter David Garrido.
So, precisely what is that this ‘Extreme E’?
Extreme E is an thrilling new motorsport, racing all-electric SUVs off-road in 5 completely different venues throughout various, difficult terrains. These venues are positioned in some of essentially the most distant locations on earth, and so they’ve been chosen as a result of these locations have been devastated by the consequences of local weather change.
As such, in addition to the sporting spectacle, Extreme E is intentionally set out to spotlight the destruction of the planet and encourage folks, firms and areas to take optimistic steps in local weather motion. The use of electrical autos is a component of the answer, and in addition an opportunity for groups and producers to check and showcase their newest automotive expertise.
This sport is the brainchild of Alejandro Agag, a Spanish businessman beforehand concerned in Formula 1 with drivers corresponding to Romain Grosjean and who additionally based Formula E, the all-electric single-seater city-center series.
Who is concerned?
There are 9 groups, every with one female and male driver (gender equality being one other pillar of Extreme E), together with well-known names from many alternative motorsports.
We have three Formula 1 world champions as crew house owners — Lewis Hamilton (X44), Nico Rosberg (Rosberg X Racing) and Jenson Button (JBXE) who can be a driver himself.
Also among the many driver line-up are former world rally champions Sébastien Loeb who received 9 straight titles between 2004 and 2012 and twice-winner Carlos Sainz who has three Dakar Rally crowns.
Rallycross is represented primarily by Swedish trio Johan Kristoffersson, Timmy Hansen and Mattias Ekström who between them have received the final 5 world titles.
As for different British curiosity, Jamie Chadwick is the present W Series champion and a growth driver with Williams F1, whereas Catie Munnings lifted the Ladies Trophy on the European Rally Championship in 2016. The different Briton concerned is Oli Bennett, who received seven out of 9 races within the 2017 British Rallycross Championship.
Behind the scenes, there are additional F1 hyperlinks with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown as Andretti United’s crew principal, whereas Adrian Newey, Chief Technical Officer at Red Bull Racing, and ex-driver Jean-Eric Vergne are each with Veloce Racing.
How does the racing work?
All the motion takes place over two days. On Saturday all of the groups will do two qualifying runs of the course, with the female and male driver every driving a lap and a changeover (often called ‘The Switch’) in between. Each of these runs will whole roughly 18 kilometers, and their mixed instances will produce an order.
From that order, the quickest three groups will undergo to the first semi-final race on Sunday, the center three groups battle it out in one other semi dubbed the ‘Crazy Race’ and the slowest three groups will race in ‘The Shootout’. From that first semi, the highest two finishers progress by means of to the ultimate, joined by the winner of the Crazy Race. In the ultimate, fairly merely the winner of the race is topped the XPrix winner.
Points are awarded by inserting, as you go from first (XPrix winner) to ninth place (third finisher in ‘The Shootout’).
There are different distinctive options to boost the racing but additional, corresponding to ‘Hyperdrive’: whoever performs the longest bounce on the first bounce of every race is awarded a further enhance of pace, and that crew additionally will get an additional championship level.
No followers shall be in situ on the races (to preserve the series’ carbon footprint to a minimal), however the ‘Gridplay’ characteristic lets them vote for his or her favourite driver to acquire grid benefit. The crew who receives essentially the most votes can choose its grid place for the ultimate, but when they are not in it, they will reward their votes to one other crew of their alternative. The crew with the second-most votes will get second alternative of grid spot, and so on.
As half of Extreme E’s sustainability drive, every vote additionally features a micro-payment in the direction of the grasp charity / Legacy Programme. (More on this later.)
Where are the venues for the races?
Strap yourselves in, that is going to be fairly some international expedition.
There are 5 completely different venues for the races in Extreme E’s inaugural season, all themed round completely different distant areas and associated environmental points. They begin in AlUla in Saudi Arabia for the Desert XPrix in early April, then head to Lac Rose in Senegal in late May for the Ocean XPrix.
Then there is a hole of roughly three months earlier than spherical Three in Greenland on the Russell Glacier close to Kangerlussuaq (Arctic XPrix) on the finish of August, and after that we head south — to Santa Maria, Belterra within the Pará area of Brazil for the Amazon XPrix in October and eventually Tierra del Fuego in Argentina for the Glacier XPrix in mid-December.
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What’s the automobile they’re utilizing?
It’s referred to as the Odyssey 21, and it is primarily an outsized electrical buggy. The car is manufactured by Spark Racing Technology, and there’s Formula 1 involvement right here too with McLaren offering the drivetrain and Williams the electrical battery, whereas Continental provide the tires. It was unveiled to the general public on the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June 2019 after which had an honest run-out on the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia in January 2020, with Ken Block ending third on the ultimate stage within the automobile class. Not a nasty debut.
The truth it is electrical is not simply vital in phrases of the way in which it is pushed, but in addition primarily its weight. It’s a 1,650-kilogramme, 2.3-metre vast beast, and but it races up to 60 miles per hour in simply 4.5 seconds. With 550 brake horsepower, the Odyssey 21 can attain a high pace of 120 miles per hour and tackles gradients of up to 130 per cent.
Very minimal tweaking to the automobiles may be carried out by groups, principally restricted to bodywork, however of course every crew could have their very own particular livery. As an electrical SUV, it’s far quieter than its inner combustion engine petrol or diesel equal, nevertheless it additionally options immediate torque and really fast acceleration. The drivers I’ve spoken to have additionally praised its driveability, however one instructed me that one of the challenges is solely making an attempt to get the factor to cease…due to its weight.
How will the automobiles’ batteries be charged? They’ve obtained a super-low-carbon answer for that as effectively: hydrogen gasoline cells. This revolutionary thought from British firm AFC Energy makes use of water and solar to generate hydrogen energy. Not solely will this course of emit no greenhouse emissions, its solely by-product shall be water, which shall be utilized elsewhere on-site.
Want a enjoyable truth in regards to the automobile? Of course you do. Here you go: the saved vitality within the battery contained in the Odyssey 21 might preserve 2,600 cell phones charged for per week.
How do the automobiles get to the venues?
A-ha! This is one other twist, and maybe one of essentially the most vital distinctive promoting factors of the series.
They’ll be transported from venue to venue aboard the RMS St. Helena, a former Royal Mail passenger-cargo vessel which has undergone an in depth refit to remodel her into Extreme E’s operations hub.
But shifting the automobiles round is not her solely use. As effectively as serving as a ‘floating paddock’, the St. Helena will carry all different gear required to the race areas, a 50-person crew and he or she may also home laboratories for scientists to perform invaluable analysis on local weather change and ocean air pollution and contribute to the championship’s legacy program (extra on that later), and its sustainability trigger.
By selecting the seas over the skies, Extreme E’s carbon footprint in phrases of logistics shall be lowered by two thirds, in contrast to travelling by air freight. And there are different examples too. The ship’s propulsion models and turbines run on ultra-low-sulphur diesel, the St. Helena makes use of low-energy LED lights, low-consumption rest room fittings and even chairs made out of recycled plastic bottles collected from the Mediterranean Sea. Every little helps.
FALMOUTH, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 25: The St Helena cargo ship docked on February 25, 2021 in Falmouth, England.
Hugh R Hastings | Getty Images News | Getty Images
So, what are these legacy applications you talked about?
Along with environmental consciousness and gender equality, Extreme E additionally desires to make a tangible impression, leaving the venues it should go to in a greater state than the way it discovered them. To that finish, will probably be concerned in native actions in order that it could meaningfully contribute to the rehabilitation of these areas which have been ravaged by local weather change in several methods.
In Saudi Arabia, for the Desert XPrix, they’re going to assist the Great Green Wall initiative which goals to create a barrier of timber and protecting landscapes throughout the Sahel-Sahara border and the drivers may also go to an area turtle conservation venture. In Senegal, the legacy program will assist Marine Protected Areas to strive to safeguard and revive aquatic range, in addition to operating plastic clearing initiatives on the seashore in Dakar, and the drivers shall be serving to to plant mangroves — a million timber are to be planted throughout 60 hectares.
The similar goes for Greenland the place Extreme E will assist the territory’s plans to absolutely transition to 100% clear vitality sources and be a part of forces with UNICEF Greenland to educate youngsters in regards to the impacts of local weather change; the Amazon the place they’re going to work with current conservation organizations to defend and replant an space with agroforest, offering crops that may be harvested by locals; and eventually the southern tip of Argentina the place the ice is receding at an alarming price. If that continues, most if not all of the cirque glaciers in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego will disappear throughout the subsequent 20 years, and each valley glaciers and the Patagonian ice sheets shall be severely lowered as effectively.
Okay, I’m in. Where can I watch Extreme E?
All periods of all race weekends shall be broadcast live on Sky Sports Action and/or Sky Sports Mix, kicking off with the first qualifying session from Saudi Arabia at 7am BST on Saturday, April 3.
On high of that, Sky will broadcast ‘Electric Odyssey’, a 20-part epic transglobal journal present series focusing on an environmentally-aware viewers with a ardour for journey, which can assist fill the gaps between the 5 rounds of racing.
This distinctive Extreme E journey is simply beginning, and it is set to be a unprecedented, thrilling and impactful eight months ahead, each on and off “track”.