Sport

Published: October 15, 2021 | Updated: October 15, 2021

What a coup! Extreme E choose Dorset to stage thrilling finale of electric off-road racing series

By Andrew Diprose, editor

The eyes of the world will be well and truly on Dorset later this year.

Extreme E, the electric off-road racing sport series, has confirmed that its Season 1 finale – ‘the Jurassic X Prix’ – will take place in Bovington on December 18 to 20.

The series sees electric SUVs competing in extreme environments around the world to promote the adoption of electric vehicles and clean technology solutions in the quest for a lower carbon future for the planet.

Its global voyage started in March this year and has so far included stops in Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Greenland.

The penultimate race is the Island X Prix in Sardinia on October 23-24.

Some of the biggest names in motorsport are involved with teams owned by Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg among others.

It’s also the first ever fully gender equal motorsport, featuring top British racers Catie Munnings and Jamie Chadwick amongst its female talent.

Alejandro Agag, Extreme E Founder and CEO, pictured, said: “I’m very excited by this race location – our first event on UK soil.

“This move is a poignant shift in our mission to race in remote, far-away places to highlight the effects of climate change, as more increasingly, the issues we talk about are literally happening in our backyards.

“It felt like the right time to bring the spotlight home, and help the Army reduce its own carbon footprint.

“The world needs to move forward when it comes to the combustion engine and many other practices, and what better way to symbolise that than with a Jurassic themed X Prix.

“Unless we push forward with climate and sustainability action, certain species risk becoming extinct, and that is something we simply cannot ignore any longer.”

Extreme E is working closely with the Ministry of Defence and Army which has recently revealed its climate change and sustainability strategy.

The strategy combines the mitigation of environmental impact whilst maintaining military output.

It aims to do this by reducing emissions and scaling up the transition to renewables, thus contributing to the UK’s aim to be net zero by 2050.

Efforts have started already with the Army piloting electric armoured vehicles and carbon efficient accommodation.

Major General Simon Hutchings OBE, pictured left, said: “The British Army prides itself on its ability to conduct operations in all environments, adapting and developing its skills as required.

“The opportunity to work alongside Extreme E who are world leaders in electrification of vehicles and sustainable energy production is very exciting.

“It will enable us to share innovative ideas which will allow the Army to continue to gain technology advantage globally, whilst also contributing to our climate and sustainability targets.”

Extreme E is a partner to the UN’s Race to Zero campaign as well as Count Us In, which challenges its fans to take steps which reduce their own carbon footprints.

The collaborations are focused on tackling the global climate crisis.

With road transport currently accounting for 75 per cent of the global emissions associated with transportation, accelerating the move to clean mobility by 2030, in line with government goals, is considered key to success.

Nigel Topping, pictured right, UK High Level Champion for Climate Action at COP26, who also leads Race to Zero, said: “Extreme E provides an incredible platform for accelerating  the clean mobility transition and driving awareness for the climate solutions we can, and must all adopt.

“The Jurassic X Prix follows COP26 and provides further opportunity for the UK to keep crucial momentum, which is imperative if we are to succeed in our goal to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C.

“The shift to zero emission vehicles will hugely help reach that goal and Extreme E demonstrates the capabilities of electric vehicles, but also their associated technologies.

“It also uses the powerful platform of sport to engage its fanbase to take steps to reduce their own carbon footprint.”

Extreme E will continue with its Legacy Programme format which aims to leave long-lasting positive impact in each country in which it races.

Exact details will be revealed in the weeks leading up to the end of year event.

The racing will be over a course designed to include natural obstacles putting the all-electric ODYSSEY 21 through its paces to crown the eventual winning combination of car, team and driver.

Each team fields both a male and female driver who will complete a lap each with a driver switch built into the format.

Organisers say that with points up for grabs throughout the race weekend, some of the best drivers in the world plus the instant speed of all-electric mobility, the concluding X Prix is set to be a showstopper.

Jenson Button, JBXE Team Principal, said: “It is brilliant news that Extreme E’s Season finale will be held in the UK.

“I’ve been lucky enough to race on UK soil a number of times throughout my career and those memories will always be incredibly special to me.

“Heading off-road at Bovington will be a totally different experience but equally as special as I’ll be the one watching and supporting Kevin and Mikaela and the rest of the JBXE team as we push for a strong finish to the season.

“After back-to-back podiums, if we can carry that form into Sardinia and put ourselves in the mix for the final race then we could be in store for an amazing finish!”

To minimise local impact, Extreme E races are not open to spectators.

Instead fans are invited to follow the racing through live TV broadcasts, and on social media.

Throughout the season fans can also take action against climate change via the Extreme E Count Us In Challenge by committing to take simple steps, which include walking and cycling more, eating more plant-based foods, and using less plastic, to the ultimate series goal of buying an electric vehicle.

Fans can pledge to their favourite team, and the winning team will claim the Extreme E Sustainability Award.

In addition, Extreme E uses a ship – the St. Helena, pictured – to transport the championship’s freight and infrastructure, including vehicles, to the nearest port to minimise the championship’s footprint.

The former passenger cargo ship, has undergone a multi-million Euro refit to minimise emissions and transform her into Extreme E’s operations hub.

St Helena will use Portland Port for the Jurassic X Prix.

The Season 1 calendar is:

Desert X Prix: AlUla, Saudi Arabia
3-4 April 2021
Ocean X Prix: Lac Rose, Senegal
29-30 May 2021
Arctic X Prix: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
28-29 August 2021
Island X Prix: Sardinia, Italy
23-24 October 2021
Jurassic X Prix: Dorset, UK
18-19 December 2021