This weekend — August 28-29 — some of the biggest names in international motorsport will race in Greenland during the Extreme E Arctic X Prix. It’s a radical new racing series in which electric SUVs compete in extreme environments around the world. By showcasing geographic regions that have already been damaged or affected by climate and environmental issues, the 5-race global voyage promotes the adoption of electric vehicles in the quest for a lower carbon future for the planet.
Here are the Top 10 Reasons why you should tune in.
Reason 10: The Series Racing has been Close & Competitive
The pairing of Swede Johan Kristoffersson and Australian Molly Taylor, driving for Nico Rosberg’s RXR team, are at the top of the scoring sheets with 71 points. Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team is in second spot with 57 points, and Jenson Button’s JBXE sits third on 44 points.
The nine teams and 18 drivers are as follows:
- ABT CUPRA XE – #125 – Mattias Ekström / Jutta Kleinschmidt
- ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team – #55 – Carlos Sainz Snr. / Laia Sanz
- Andretti United Extreme E – #23 – Timmy Hansen / Catie Munnings
- SEGI TV Chip Ganassi Racing – #99 – Kyle LeDuc / Sara Price
- XITE ENERGY RACING powered by myenergi – #42 – Oliver Bennett / Christine GZ
- JBXE – #22 – Kevin Hansen / Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky
- Rosberg X Racing – #6 – Johan Kristoffersson / Molly Taylor
- Veloce Racing – #5 – Stéphane Sarrazin / Emma Gilmour
- X44 – #44 – Sébastien Loeb / Cristina Gutiérrez
The Dakar, Senegal race saw RXR grab a second victory; the team also led at the finish line at the Desert X Prix in Saudi Arabia in April. With only 7 points separating the remaining 6 teams, it really is all to play for as the series enters round 3 of Season 1.
Nico Rosberg, founder of Rosberg X Racing, discussed the “incredible” momentum the team had coming into the Arctic X Prix. He noted that “we do not take anything for granted,” and the team continues to be motivated to put in the hard work necessary for another solid result. Rosberg added, “The race is in a spectacular location, and I am as excited as any fan to watch our ODYSSEY 21 race car compete in such an extraordinary setting as Greenland.”
Reason 9: Changes to the Format Make Racing Even More Exciting
Qualifying will take place on Saturday, August 28 – one session in the morning and one in the afternoon – with each team completing two laps of the course, one per driver with a driver switch. Teams are able to select which driver goes first in Qualifying 1, with choices kept secret until the driver gets behind the wheel. For each session after this, the first driver must alternate.
The times recorded across the morning session will equate to classification points so that first place receives 9, second place 8, third place 7 points, and so on. Repeat the procedure in the afternoon, with classification points awarded on the same scale.
The combined total of these classification points provides the intermediate standings, which is based on points instead of times, as happened in Saudi Arabia and Senegal. The revision allows for a fairer opportunity for all teams to progress, particularly if a poor time or DNF is recorded in one session. These points do not equate to championship points.
Racing will take place as follows:
- The teams will be listed 1st to 9th place based on the total combined points of each team’s two qualifying runs.
- Teams placed in first, fifth and sixth progress to semi-final 1, where the top two finishers claim spots in the Arctic X Prix final.
- Second, third and fourth from qualifying go through to semi-final 2, where again the top two progress to the Arctic X Prix final.
- The bottom 3 teams (7th, 8th and 9th) head to the Crazy Race, with the winner reaching the Arctic X Prix final.
Reason 8: Drivers Get a Little Help from Fans & Technology
The GridPlay vote closes at 13:00 CEST on Sunday, August 29. It offers fans the opportunity to vote for their favorite team, which can influence the starting line-up for the final. This vote has impacted the grid in both the Desert and Ocean X Prix events, as the teams that didn’t make the Final in those events were permitted to gift their votes. Andretti United Extreme E and Veloce Racing, in Saudi Arabia and Senegal, respectively, were able to select favored starting positions.
The Super Sector – a part of the course where the fastest driver in that section over the weekend will earn 5 points for their team – will continue to be a fixture for the Arctic X Prix.
In addition, teams can also benefit from a HyperDrive boost available to drivers on each lap of the race. Activated when the driver presses a button on the steering wheel, they will enjoy an extra push of continuous power for a few seconds.
Reason 7: Walking the Plant-based Talk
Often, grandiose events — no matter how well-meaning — fail to offer sustainable infrastructures. Extreme E has partnered with Neat Burger to highlight how a planet-friendly, plant-based, full-flavored main course meal item can be delicious, sustainable, healthier, and ethical.
The brand is backed by 7-time FIA Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton. Hospitality organization The Cream Group, investors, and UNICEF Ambassador and early backer of Beyond Meat, Tommaso Chiabra, are also associated with Neat Burger.
Neat Burger’s first site opened in September, 2019, just off Regent Street in London; its second and third dine-in outlets are located at Camden Market and Soho in 2020. Plans for global expansion across Europe, the US, and Middle East are in place for 2021 and beyond.
Reason 6: Even the Transportation to the Race is Sustainable
The St. Helena, a former passenger cargo ship, has undergone a multi-million Euro refit to minimize emissions and transform her into Extreme E’s operations hub. The ship will be used to transport the championship’s freight and infrastructure, including vehicles, to the nearest port, minimizing Extreme E’s footprint, as well as being used to facilitate scientific research through its on-board laboratory.
Extreme E is also pioneering hydrogen fuel cell technology which will enable its race fleet to be charged using zero emission energy. This innovative solution from AFC Energy uses water and sun to generate hydrogen power. Not only will this process emit no greenhouse emissions, its only by-product will be water, which will be utilized elsewhere on-site.
Reason 5: You Can Stream the Arctic E
To minimize local impact, Extreme E races will not be open to spectators, with fans instead invited to follow the action through live TV broadcast and on social media.
Shakedown and qualifications will be aired through Extreme E’s official website – www.extreme-e.com and social channels (@extremeelive on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch).
Lead commentators Jennie Gow and Andrew Coley will continue to talk fans through all the action from the London studio. Others will offer insights from the Extreme E paddock in Greenland, which will also host some big names in motorsport.
The finals will be shown in more than 180 countries by 75 broadcasters, including Fox Sports in the USA, ITV, Sky Sports, BBC digital channels and BT Sport in the UK, Teledeporte in Spain, Prosieben MAXX in Germany, Mediaset in Italy, Eurosport across most European Markets, and KNR in Greenland. All times are CEST.
Friday 27 August
2100 – 2130 CEST Shakedown airs on website and social channels
Saturday 29 May
1330 – 1530 CEST Qualifying Round 1
1800 – 2000 CEST Qualifying Round 2
Sunday 30 May
1200 – 1330 CEST Semi Finals
1600 – 1800 CEST Final
The Remaining Races
Island X Prix: Sardinia, Italy
23-24 October 2021
X Prix Location 5
Reason 4: Greenland is an Amazing Place to Race
Concerned about the climate crisis? Look no farther than Greenland. The Arctic island is at the heart of the warming planet, particularly its melting ice sheet. Kangerlussuaq is situated in the west of Greenland and is home to the once mighty Russell Glacier, which will provide the backdrop to the weekend of wheel-to-wheel racing. This area was chosen as it highlights the climate crisis, as part of the course itself was previously occupied by the glacier but has melted due to accelerated temperature rise.
Measuring 8 kilometers, the course will provide a very new challenge to drivers with the surface made up of glacial sediments, rocks, and sand dunes, although not like those seen in Saudi Arabia. The course is wide open in areas and allows for various racing lines as well as technical sections around various rocks.
The off-road race highlights the impact of climate change and human interference in some of the world’s most remote locations.
Reason 3: Climate Crisis Research & Non-Profit Partnerships
Extreme E has consulted with its scientific committee throughout the organization of the Arctic X Prix, and 3 of its members – Peter Wadhams, Carlos Duarte, and Richard Washington – will be in Greenland with the series. They’ll host various workshops and continue with their own Arctic research. The workshops will focus on this event in Greenland being the tipping point the world is currently facing, from climate change in the Arctic and the melting of the Greenland ice cap to emerging from a global pandemic and leading action on the many challenges.
Enel Foundation, the energy transition think tank, is conducting a joint science research project in the purpose-built science laboratory onboard the series’ floating centerpiece, the St. Helena. The project, led by 24-year-old Belgian Alexander Vanhaelen, will investigate changes to marine life due to climate change.
The scientists are investigating topics including human impact and climate change that lead to a loss of biodiversity and impact the make-up of marine environments and the species that live there. With rates of extinction and the introduction of invasive species at an all-time high, this type of research and the knowledge it will provide are critical to understanding the behavior of marine communities to inform effective ecological management and conservation biology.
Extreme E has also partnered with UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s organization, for its Greenlandic Legacy Programs to empower young changemakers – around 3,600 young people – in the country by reimagining climate education in Greenland. The goal is to help children understand and address the climate related issues which are putting them and future generations at risk. The resources will be implemented in schools during Climate Week in September, 2021.
Reason 2: “Count Us In” Platform Inspires Fans to Reduce their Carbon Footprints
Extreme E hopes to provide information and real-world solutions to enable people to live a less carbon intensive lifestyle, which is why it has teamed up with Count Us In to launch the Extreme E Count Us In Challenge.
The platform uses the power of sport and excitement of motor racing to inspire fans to take practical steps to reduce their carbon footprint and, in doing so, urge governments, cities, and businesses to accelerate progress on climate action.
Fans can take a variety of steps, which include walking more, eating more plant-based foods, and driving an electric vehicle — and each action can be attributed to their favorite team. The team with the most steps will win the Extreme E Sustainability Awards at the end of the season.
Reason 1: We Need to Fight for our Planet & Extreme E is Modeling How It Can Be Done in Racing
Sure, Extreme E drivers, teams, and sponsors are looking eagerly to capturing a trophy at the end of the series. But Extreme E is much more than an auto competition: it’s the race for our planet.
Rising global temperatures are having a huge impact on the world, including ice melt in the Arctic leading to sea level rise and wildfires currently raging in various parts of Europe. The recently published IPCC report outlines how the world is getting to a point of irreversibility, leading to drastic changes in ecosystems with devastating effects unless change happens now, and that change is reducing emissions.
Extreme E is the first sport built out of concern for the climate crisis. The series’ goal is to use electric racing to highlight remote environments under threat of climate change issues and to encourage us all to take positive action to protect our planet’s future.
With 30% of the planet’s CO2 emissions coming from transport, Extreme E exists to showcase the performance of electric vehicles, using the powerful mix of thrilling sports action, scientific education, and storytelling to accelerate their adoption in order to reduce CO2 emissions and achieve a more sustainable lifestyle.
So join in this weekend, and see what Extreme E is all about.
All images provided by Extreme E