Legendary off-road racer and YouTube star Ken Block prepares to take the wheel of Excessive Es E-SUV to participate within the Grand Prix of Qiddiya finale of the Dakar 2020, on January 17, 2020.
FRANCK FIFE | AFP | Getty Photographs
The primary-ever season of a singular, model new motorsport, Excessive E, will get underneath approach dwell on Sky Sports activities this weekend.
Do not know what it is all about? Then learn on — listed below are all the principle questions answered by Sky Sports activities presenter David Garrido.
So, precisely what is that this ‘Excessive E’?
Excessive E is an thrilling new motorsport, racing all-electric SUVs off-road in 5 totally different venues throughout numerous, difficult terrains. These venues are positioned in among the most distant locations on earth, and so they’ve been chosen as a result of these locations have been devastated by the results of local weather change.
As such, in addition to the sporting spectacle, Excessive E is intentionally got down to spotlight the destruction of the planet and encourage individuals, corporations and areas to take optimistic steps in local weather motion. The usage of electrical autos is a part of the answer, and likewise an opportunity for groups and producers to check and showcase their newest automotive expertise.
This sport is the brainchild of Alejandro Agag, a Spanish businessman beforehand concerned in Method 1 with drivers comparable to Romain Grosjean and who additionally based Method E, the all-electric single-seater city-center sequence.
There are 9 groups, every with one female and male driver (gender equality being one other pillar of Excessive E), together with well-known names from many various motorsports.
We’ve got three Method 1 world champions as group house owners — Lewis Hamilton (X44), Nico Rosberg (Rosberg X Racing) and Jenson Button (JBXE) who can also be a driver himself.
Additionally among the many driver line-up are former world rally champions Sébastien Loeb who gained 9 straight titles between 2004 and 2012 and twice-winner Carlos Sainz who has three Dakar Rally crowns.
Rallycross is represented primarily by Swedish trio Johan Kristoffersson, Timmy Hansen and Mattias Ekström who between them have gained the final 5 world titles.
As for different British curiosity, Jamie Chadwick is the present W Collection champion and a improvement driver with Williams F1, whereas Catie Munnings lifted the Women Trophy on the European Rally Championship in 2016. The opposite Briton concerned is Oli Bennett, who gained seven out of 9 races within the 2017 British Rallycross Championship.
Behind the scenes, there are additional F1 hyperlinks with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown as Andretti United’s group principal, whereas Adrian Newey, Chief Technical Officer at Purple Bull Racing, and ex-driver Jean-Eric Vergne are each with Veloce Racing.
How does the racing work?
All of the motion takes place over two days. On Saturday all of the groups will do two qualifying runs of the course, with the female and male driver every driving a lap and a changeover (generally known as ‘The Swap’) in between. Every of those runs will whole roughly 18 kilometers, and their mixed instances will produce an order.
From that order, the quickest three groups will undergo to the primary semi-final race on Sunday, the center three groups battle it out in one other semi dubbed the ‘Loopy Race’ and the slowest three groups will race in ‘The Shootout’. From that first semi, the highest two finishers progress by way of to the ultimate, joined by the winner of the Loopy Race. Within the ultimate, fairly merely the winner of the race is topped the XPrix winner.
Factors are awarded by inserting, as you go from first (XPrix winner) to ninth place (third finisher in ‘The Shootout’).
There are different distinctive options to boost the racing but additional, comparable to ‘Hyperdrive’: whoever performs the longest leap on the primary leap of every race is awarded an extra enhance of pace, and that group additionally will get an additional championship level.
No followers will probably be in situ on the races (to maintain the sequence’ carbon footprint to a minimal), however the ‘Gridplay’ characteristic lets them vote for his or her favourite driver to achieve grid benefit. The group who receives essentially the most votes can choose its grid place for the ultimate, but when they are not in it, they’ll reward their votes to a different group of their alternative. The group with the second-most votes will get second alternative of grid spot, and so forth.
As a part of Excessive E’s sustainability drive, every vote additionally features a micro-payment in direction of the grasp charity / Legacy Programme. (Extra on this later.)
The place are the venues for the races?
Strap yourselves in, that is going to be fairly some world expedition.
There are 5 totally different venues for the races in Excessive E’s inaugural season, all themed round totally different distant areas and associated environmental points. They begin in AlUla in Saudi Arabia for the Desert XPrix in early April, then head to Lac Rose in Senegal in late Could for the Ocean XPrix.
Then there is a hole of roughly three months earlier than spherical 3 in Greenland on the Russell Glacier close to Kangerlussuaq (Arctic XPrix) on the finish of August, and after that we head south — to Santa Maria, Belterra within the Pará area of Brazil for the Amazon XPrix in October and at last Tierra del Fuego in Argentina for the Glacier XPrix in mid-December.
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What is the automobile they’re utilizing?
It is referred to as the Odyssey 21, and it is primarily an outsized electrical buggy. The car is manufactured by Spark Racing Know-how, and there may be Method 1 involvement right here too with McLaren offering the drivetrain and Williams the electrical battery, whereas Continental provide the tires. It was unveiled to the general public on the Goodwood Pageant of Velocity in June 2019 after which had a good run-out on the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia in January 2020, with Ken Block ending third on the ultimate stage within the automobile class. Not a nasty debut.
The very fact it is electrical is not simply vital when it comes to the best way it is pushed, but in addition primarily its weight. It is a 1,650-kilogramme, 2.3-metre large beast, and but it races as much as 60 miles per hour in simply 4.5 seconds. With 550 brake horsepower, the Odyssey 21 can attain a high pace of 120 miles per hour and tackles gradients of as much as 130 per cent.
Very minimal tweaking to the automobiles could be executed by groups, principally restricted to bodywork, however after all every group could have their very own particular livery. As an electrical SUV, it’s far quieter than its inner combustion engine petrol or diesel equal, but it surely additionally options prompt torque and really fast acceleration. The drivers I’ve spoken to have additionally praised its driveability, however one instructed me that one of many challenges is just making an attempt to get the factor to cease…because of its weight.
How will the automobiles’ batteries be charged? They have a super-low-carbon resolution for that as properly: hydrogen gas cells. This progressive thought from British firm AFC Power makes use of water and solar to generate hydrogen energy. Not solely will this course of emit no greenhouse emissions, its solely by-product will probably be water, which will probably be utilized elsewhere on-site.
Need a enjoyable reality in regards to the automobile? In fact you do. Right here you go: the saved vitality within the battery contained in the Odyssey 21 might hold 2,600 cell phones charged for every week.
How do the automobiles get to the venues?
A-ha! That is one other twist, and maybe one of the vital distinctive promoting factors of the sequence.
They will be transported from venue to venue aboard the RMS St. Helena, a former Royal Mail passenger-cargo vessel which has undergone an in depth refit to rework her into Excessive E’s operations hub.
However shifting the automobiles round is not her solely use. In addition to serving as a ‘floating paddock’, the St. Helena will carry all different gear required to the race areas, a 50-person crew and he or she may also home laboratories for scientists to hold out invaluable analysis on local weather change and ocean air pollution and contribute to the championship’s legacy program (extra on that later), and its sustainability trigger.
By selecting the seas over the skies, Excessive E’s carbon footprint when it comes to logistics will probably be decreased by two thirds, in comparison with travelling by air freight. And there are different examples too. The ship’s propulsion models and mills run on ultra-low-sulphur diesel, the St. Helena makes use of low-energy LED lights, low-consumption rest room fittings and even chairs made out of recycled plastic bottles collected from the Mediterranean Sea. Each little helps.
FALMOUTH, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 25: The St Helena cargo ship docked on February 25, 2021 in Falmouth, England.
Hugh R Hastings | Getty Photographs Information | Getty Photographs
So, what are these legacy applications you talked about?
Together with environmental consciousness and gender equality, Excessive E additionally desires to make a tangible impression, leaving the venues it would go to in a greater state than the way it discovered them. To that finish, it is going to be concerned in native actions in order that it will possibly meaningfully contribute to the rehabilitation of those areas which have been ravaged by local weather change in several methods.
In Saudi Arabia, for the Desert XPrix, they’re going to help the Nice Inexperienced Wall initiative which goals to create a barrier of timber and protecting landscapes throughout the Sahel-Sahara border and the drivers may also go to a neighborhood turtle conservation undertaking. In Senegal, the legacy program will help Marine Protected Areas to attempt to safeguard and revive aquatic range, in addition to working plastic clearing initiatives on the seashore in Dakar, and the drivers will probably be serving to to plant mangroves — a million timber are to be planted throughout 60 hectares.
The identical goes for Greenland the place Excessive E will help the territory’s plans to completely transition to 100% clear vitality sources and be a part of forces with UNICEF Greenland to coach kids in regards to the impacts of local weather change; the Amazon the place they’re going to work with current conservation organizations to guard and replant an space with agroforest, offering crops that may be harvested by locals; and at last the southern tip of Argentina the place the ice is receding at an alarming fee. If that continues, most if not the entire cirque glaciers in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego will disappear through the subsequent 20 years, and each valley glaciers and the Patagonian ice sheets will probably be severely decreased as properly.
Okay, I am in. The place can I watch Excessive E?
All classes of all race weekends will probably be broadcast dwell on Sky Sports activities Motion and/or Sky Sports activities Combine, kicking off with the primary qualifying session from Saudi Arabia at 7am BST on Saturday, April 3.
On high of that, Sky will broadcast ‘Electrical Odyssey’, a 20-part epic transglobal journal present sequence focusing on an environmentally-aware viewers with a ardour for journey, which can assist fill the gaps between the 5 rounds of racing.
This distinctive Excessive E journey is simply beginning, and it is set to be a rare, thrilling and impactful eight months forward, each on and off “observe”.