Brian Joss – The innovative new Extreme E all-electric off-road racing series is scheduled to make its much-anticipated debut in March 2021, and Continental is a founding partner, premium sponsor and the exclusive tyre supplier to the global championship which was recently officially granted status as an FIA International Series.
Alejandro Agag, CEO of Extreme E, said: “All of us at Extreme E are delighted to have this seal of approval and be officially classified as an FIA International Series. We’ve been working hard towards this goal and the speed of recognition by the FIA gives us all a great confidence boost as we prepare to start our first season in 2021.”
The Extreme E series was founded by the same visionary team that established Formula E. From 2021, Continental will be equipping all the vehicles involved in the races with tyres for the diverse and extremely demanding conditions that they will encounter. In addition, Continental’s digital tyre monitoring platform, ContiConnect, will ensure digital connectivity, with sensors inside the tyres enabling pressures and temperatures to be constantly monitored.
The inaugural season will be staged across five diverse environments in some of the most remote regions of the world, from the desert to the Arctic and the Amazon to utilise its sporting platform to promote electrification, sustainability and equality. The first race is scheduled for March 2021.
Extreme E adopts a unique format, with each team comprising two drivers, which must include one male and one female, who both drive and share the co-driver’s navigation duties for the two race laps that make up the event. There’s a limit of up to five team members as mechanics or engineers.
All of the Extreme E freight and logistics will travel by sea, using the repurposed and completely refurbished former Royal Mail Ship, the 7 000-ton St Helena, as a floating garage to reduce freight emissions by two thirds in comparison to air travel.
The organisers are gradually lifting the covers on the teams set to take professional motorsport in electric SUVs to the furthest corners of the planet. And, none other than six-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has announced that his newly founded team X44 will be joining the fray.
“Extreme E really appealed to me because of its environmental focus,” says the motor racing icon, explaining his commitment to the series. And indeed, the hallmark of Extreme E is its choice of race venues in the immediate vicinity of endangered habitats. The series aims to put climate change on the radar of motorsport fans around the world, as well as politicians, local communities and authorities at the venues – and encourages a redoubling of efforts to restrict global warming to 1.5°C.
“Every single one of us has the power to make a difference,” says Hamilton. “It means so much to me that I can use my love of racing, together with my love for our planet, to have a positive impact.
I feel incredibly proud to announce my new race team and confirm its entry into Extreme E.”
With the arrival of X44, eight of the Extreme E teams are now in place. “As the final preparations take shape, the tension is building,” says Sandra Roslan, who is in charge of the Extreme E project at Continental. “As founding partner and exclusive tyre supplier, we are of course thrilled that the organisers have been able to sign up Lewis Hamilton for this new and unique race series. His name is sure to play a big part in drawing global attention to the Extreme E series in its very first season.”
Lewis Hamilton’s X44 operation joins seven other teams that have already announced their involvement in Extreme E, including the famous US IndyCar teams Andretti Autosport and Chip Ganassi Racing, the Spanish QEV Technologies project, two-time Formula E champions Techeetah, and British-owned Veloce Racing, co-founded by current Formula E Champion JeanEric Vergne.
Two teams from Germany – ABT Sportsline and HWA RACELAB – will also be among the contenders. ABT Sportsline is one of the most successful German motorsport teams and in recent years has won three of the most important German series: the German Supertouring Championship, the DTM and the ADAC GT Masters. With eleven driver’s championships and more than 180 race wins as a Mercedes-AMG race team, HWA is the most successful DTM outfit of all time. Both teams also have experience of racing in Formula E.
As for who will be driving the ODYSSEY 21 cars for Lewis Hamilton’s team in the opening rounds of the Extreme E series, this is still to be decided. The names of most of the drivers for the other teams that have already confirmed their participation also remain a well-guarded secret.
The official virtual launch for Extreme E will take place on Tuesday 27 October at 4pm (SA time). Visit: www.extreme-e.com to register.
CAPTION: Wearing Conti: the Odyssey 21 electric racer. Picture: Quickpic