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Five Reasons Why Extreme E Deserves Your Attention

Written by Sophie Harvey, Edited by Meghana Sree

Credit: Extreme E Media Centre

It goes without saying: all championships have their flaws. Whether the racing is too predictable or it lacks the female representation you crave, there is no perfect series. However, the introduction of a particular ‘radical off-road racing series’ could be the remedy.

If any series deserves your attention, it’s Extreme E, and here's why.

1. Extreme E Promotes Gender Diversity

Unlike other racing series, Extreme E paves the way for female representation. Teams are required to formulate their lineup from one female driver and one male driver– a world-first initiative for an FIA-sanctioned series.

Extreme E has mandated this rule since the series’ origin and it has given us some thrilling racing in return. Females duelling directly alongside their male counterparts at the forefront of a championship battle is a foreign concept to most motorsport fans. This only emphasises why representation is important– if young girls don’t see female racing drivers, it’s unlikely they’ll want to be one themselves.

Credit: Extreme E Media Centre

Roger Griffiths, team principal of Andretti’s Extreme E team, told ESPN: “We strongly believe that motorsports should reflect the diverse world we live in. This championship serves as a platform for promoting inclusivity and breaking barriers.”

2. Legacy Projects

An integral part of the series’ identity, Legacy Projects aim to provide environmental and social support in each race location. Chosen by Extreme E’s own scientific panel, projects intend to empower local communities with sustainable solutions to climate change. This includes restoring and conserving habitats, implementing renewable energy sources, and funding education programmes.

For instance, Extreme E’s inaugural season saw them race in Senegal, a region heavily affected by droughts and deforestation. The championship partnered with a local organisation, Oceanium, to plant one million mangrove trees and educate local populations about their importance. Mangroves themselves are rich ecosystems; they act as carbon stores, reduce flooding and become a habitat for fish - coastal communities rely on them for a multitude of goods and services.

Alongside this, Extreme E initiated a regenerative agriculture project, provided lessons in sustainability for schoolchildren, and encouraged eco-construction with EcoBrique, creating bricks from plastic waste. All of the above happened in Senegal alone. The intention is to have the same positive impact in every country the series visits.

Credit: Extreme E Media Centre

Even the drivers get hands-on with these activities. Whether that be collecting beach waste or planting trees, they act as important role models to future generations.

Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “It’s great to see how these projects have developed first hand from our initial visits all those months ago and show our drivers too, furthering their knowledge on the environmental plight our planet is facing.”

3. Extreme E Actually Cares About Being Environmentally Friendly

Understandably, the series takes pride in its net-zero carbon output, a status achieved in the championship's first season. St Helena, Extreme E’s revolutionary transportation vessel, played a crucial role in reaching carbon neutrality. After its multi-million transformation, the former Royal Mail cargo-passenger ship has saved an estimated 5,200 tonnes of carbon emissions per season.

A host of adaptations were made to maximise the boat’s efficiency, including a swap to low sulphur marine diesel and refurbished propellers. This enables St Helena to carry all the championship’s freight and infrastructure - including the vehicles.

Credit: Extreme E Media Centre

Back on land, Extreme E takes an unconventional approach to spectators. Although communities and organisations like Motorsport UK’s Girls on Track initiative are regular visitors to the circuits, fans themselves are prohibited. Instead, you can follow the action through live coverage, Extreme E’s YouTube channel, and a docuseries.

Essentially, the purpose of this is to limit unnecessary damage to an already fragile landscape. Even the teams are limited to eight personnel: two drivers, one engineer and five mechanics.

Extreme E have taken endless measures to be as low-impact as possible. Power required to run the event is generated from solar panels, hydrogenated vegetable oil, generators and upcycled bus batteries. Cars themselves are charged using an on-site hydrogen fuel station and use Continental’s cross contact tyre, a third of which is made from recycled rice husk silica and plastic bottles. Even the championship trophies are 3D printed using filament from consumer plastic waste - impressive, right?

Credit: Extreme E Media Centre

4. Your Favourite Famous Names Are Involved

Starting as it meant to go on, Extreme E recruited professional American racing driver Ken Block to test their early machinery. Competing in the final stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally, Block finished with a remarkable third-fastest time after just a few hours of testing. Fast-forward to 2023, his daughter Lia Block is now competing for Carl Cox Motorsport, continuing his legacy aged only 16 years old.

Three Formula 1 Champions have Extreme E teams: Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, and Jenson Button manage RXR, X44 Vida Carbon Racing, and JBXE respectively. Well-known drivers Valtteri Bottas and Jean-Éric Vergne also took the Odyssey 21 for a spin during a six-day driver test in 2021, with upcoming talents Jamie Chadwick and Sophia Floersch also taking the wheel. Commentator and former racing driver Billy Monger also had the same opportunity as an amputee, using an specially-developed hand throttle adaptation.

For the established rally enthusiasts, the appearance of Sebastien Loeb, Nasser Al-Attiyah, and Johan Kristofferson will be a selling point. Then there’s the addition of the Acciona Sainz XE team, managed (and formerly driven) by none other than two-time WRC champion and three-time Dakar winner Carlos Sainz Sr.

Credit: Extreme E Media Centre

The championship also plays host to a number of recognisable teams - Chip Ganassi Racing, Andretti, ABT, and Mclaren have all made a name for themselves in other established series, with their goal being to conquer Extreme E next.

Even Red Bull Racing’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey is in on the action, taking the role of ‘lead visionary’ in Veloce’s championship campaign.

5. Close, Unpredictable Racing

Arguably the most important point of them all, Extreme E provides some thrilling racing action. Perhaps some of our favourite motorsport series have been a little too predictable recently, but over in Extreme E, more and more teams are reaching the top step.

As it stands, the top three are within 20 points of each other. Only four points separate Acciona Sainz XE Team and RXR in their fight for the championship lead - a battle to watch out for in the coming races.

With little on-track running time, it’s a lot harder for drivers to take risks. Crashes prove to be huge deciding factors - small teams and a limited number of events make it hard to recover points in future races - but it’s all part of the close and competitive nature of the series.

Credit: Extreme E Media Centre

There you have it: Five reasons why Extreme E deserves your attention. Best of all, Extreme E is making its return on September 16th for the penultimate round of the season. Make sure you give it a watch - it’s never too late to get in on the electric action!

For more details on where, when, and how to watch Extreme E in your country, follow the link below:


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