You’re probably new to this first electric SUV racing and that’s OK because we are all too. Maybe you’re intrigued to follow the series because your friends keep tweeting about it or your favourite drivers posting on their socials, but still don’t know about the deets. Worry not, we’ve made you a mini guide on #DesertXPrix, the first round of Extreme E which officially kicks off this weekend. We promise that it’s not as complicated as you think it is.
What is Extreme E?
Extreme E (or XE for short) is a brand new electric SUV racing series, formerly initiated by Formula E founder Alejandro Agag and former driver Gil de Ferran. The series is taking place in five areas which are a symbolic representation of regions where climate change takes its effect the most: desert, ocean, Arctic region, Amazon and glacier.
When and where is the first round starting?
DesertXPrix will be held on 3-4 April 2021 and it’s going to take place in Al-Ula, around 300 km (190 mi) north of Medina, the fourth-most populous city in Saudi Arabia. Known as a vast desert area and place for any potential unpredictable phenomenon, this certainly presents a whole new challenge for drivers and teams out there.
What car is going to be used?
An all-new SUV specifically built for the series, Spark Odyssey 21.
Developed by the same chassis constructor for Formula E, Spark Racing Technology, all cars are using the one-design method to ensure the same level of competitiveness. Teams are free to develop the exterior bodywork and powertrain while the remaining core such as braking systems and tubular frame are built under Spark’s supervision.
All XE cars are fueled by hydrogen fuel cell system whose generator is developed by AFC Energy.
There are nine teams in total that will be competing in the #DesertXPrix. Each team is comprised of one male and one female driver to ensure gender equality throughout the race. Spot some familiar names there, they could be your instant favourite!
- ABT Cupra XE (DE) : Claudia Hürtgen & Mattias Ekström
- Acciona Sainz (ES) : Laia Sanz & Carlos Sainz
- Andretti United (US) : Catie Munnings & Timmy Hansen
- Hispano Suiza XITE Energy (ES) : Christine Giampaoli Zonca & Oliver Bennett
- JBXE (UK) : Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky & Jenson Button
- Rosberg X Racing (DE) : Molly Taylor & Johan Kristoffersson
- Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing (US) : Sara Price & Kyle Leduc
- Veloce Racing (UK) : Jamie Chadwick & Stéphane Sarrazin
- X44 (UK) : Cristina Gutiérrez & Sébastien Loeb
Two qualifying sessions on Saturday, while the Shoot-Out, the Crazy Race, the Semi-Final and the Final will take place on Sunday.
Day one: Qualifying session
Each team takes part in two rounds of time trials which goes by the name of Qualifying Round 1 and Qualifying Round 2. Starting order is decided by a lottery draw. The drivers will race in 2 laps approximately for 18 km (11,18 miles) in total (one driver gets to race for one lap, which consists of 9 km) with a driver changeover, the “Switch”, slotted into the race format.
To calculate Sunday starting position, each teams will receive points depending on where they finish:
The top three scorers get to qualify for the Semi-Final, the 4th until 6th will progress to the Crazy Race while the rest of the bottom will get into the Shoot-Out.
Day two: Finals
Three cars will battle it out in each race. 1st and 2nd place teams from the Semi-Final will progress to the Final as well as the winner of the Crazy Race. Three teams will defend their positions until we get the clear winner of the #DesertXPrix.
This is where it gets interesting: XE involved the role of fans in the form of choosing their favourite drivers on Gridplay so drivers can have an advantage in starting positions once they progress into Final. Voting has been started since a week ago, you can still vote for your favorite teams & drivers in the link below:
GridPlay link: http://gridplay.extreme-e.com
Points for the drivers and teams will be awarded:
Where can I watch the race?
XE has partnered with several TV providers such as Sky, DAZN, and Fox Sports to ensure maximum enjoyment for fans at home. For more information on your home country broadcasting details please go to https://www.extreme-e.com/en/broadcast-information.
Africa: ESPN, Motorsport Africa, Sports Life
South Africa: SABC Sport
APAC (Asia Pacific):
Australia: FOX 507
China: Tencent, Zhibo TV
India: Sonyliv, Sony Six
MENA: Dubai Sports Channel 3
Southeast Asia: Fox Sports 3 SEA
Canada: Fox Sports Racing
Caribbean: Fox Sports, Mancave
US: Fox Sports
Brazil: SporTV 2
Outside Brazil: ESPN Tres, Fox Sports 3
Germany: ProSiebenMaxx, ran.de
Spain: Teledeporte, rtve.es
UK: ITV, Sky Sports Action
Looks like I need to clear out my schedule. What time will it be on?
Qualifying 1 : 09.00 – 10.30
Qualifying 2 : 14.00 – 15.30
Semi-Final & Crazy Race : 09.00 – 10.30
Final : 13.00 – 15.00
*all in Saudi times (GMT+3)
Hope our guide helps! Get cozy and enjoy the race, might as well be a perfect addition to your Easter weekend.