Testing for the Extreme E off-road electric racing series began earlier this month at the Château de Lastours off-road proving grounds in the south of France. How well the car and tires are working together was one of the questions looked into during the test runs, but the testers were also looking for any potential weaknesses in the electric race car’s physical and technical design, and not least in its motor. The tests lasted several days and were run by tire manufacturer Continental and Spark Racing Technology.
“The off-road conditions here are perfect and the entire team can’t wait to get out there and finally put the cars through their paces,” said Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, who had a very specific role in the initial test phase in this remote corner of southern France. The Swede comes from a family of successful racing drivers and is the only woman to have won a race in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship. At the Château de Lastours proving ground, her role was to test Continental’s new high-performance tires. “The tests will show how close we are to achieving our vision of an off-road electric racing series in some of the remotest locations in the world,” she said. “Overall, I’m pretty confident that the results will be positive.”
Continental became an Official Partner of the Extreme E off-road electric racing series in January 2019. The races will take place all over the world in locations – rainforest, desert, the freezing Arctic, high altitude and ocean islands – that have been chosen to raise awareness of the environmental issues facing humanity. Promoters Formula E Holdings Ltd. expect ten teams to take part in the first season, which is scheduled to begin in December 2020. Continental is already a Founding Partner of the series and will become a Premium Partner in 2021. The technology company will also be equipping all the vehicles involved in the races with tires for the diverse and extremely demanding conditions that they will encounter.
One of the main goals shared by Extreme E’s founders, partners and participants is to raise awareness among spectators of the challenges facing society as a whole, such as climate change, humankind’s interaction with the environment and the protection of threatened animal and plant species. According to Continental’s Extreme E project leader, Sandra Roslan, “This new racing format is an opportunity for us to show that our high-performance tires keep delivering even under extreme conditions. But Extreme E is also a radical new initiative for raising awareness of the challenges facing the modern world. It is this unconventional mix of adrenaline, entertainment and sustainability that makes this series so exciting. That is why we became Founding Partners and sponsors of the series in January and why we are really looking forward to the test phase.”
During the testing, three episodes of Beyond the Extreme were filmed. Providing fascinating behind-the-scenes insights into the world of Extreme E, these short films are presented by test driver Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and will be available on Continental’s YouTube channel.