Extreme E puts pedal to the metal. After the dramatic start in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, and the technically challenging course on the banks of Retba Lake in Senegal, the spectacular new off-road racing series will start on August 28 and 29 in the eternal ice of Greenland. The races will be held near Kangerlussuaq with the fully electronic ODYSSEY 21 track-only hypercars. The town is approximately 50 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, at the end of the fjord of the same name, which is approximately 163 kilometers long, and is by far the most inland settlement in Greenland. The race track, chosen with scientific input, is a long sandbank made of stone dust, transported naturally over the years by the glacier. The race will be broadcast on various European TV stations. Continental also offers an opportunity to watch the races live on its webcast: https://www.continental-tires.com/car/stories/extreme-e/broadcast. The exciting question is, which of the nine teams will make best use of the time after the season start, and finish in the lead under the difficult conditions in Greenland.
“Greenland is an extreme setting in every way for spectacular motorsport,” says Sandra Roslan, who is responsible for the project at founding partner and tire manufacturer Continental. “The hostile local conditions will be an extremely tough test for the material and everyone involved. At the same time, Greenland is at the front line of the global climate emergency. Nowhere else in the world are the unprecedented effects of global warming more obvious. Greenland lost 600 billion metric tons of ice in just the past year.”
In the competition between the motorsport giants from very different disciplines, the Rosberg X Racing team goes to the start as leaders in the overall rankings with World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson, and former Australian Rally Champion Molly Taylor. Rally World Champions Sébastien Loeb and Cristina Gutiérrez from Lewis Hamilton’s Team X44 were this year’s stage winners at Dakar and are only 14 points behind. Formula 1 champion Jenson Button and Continental test pilot Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky follow in third place, 13 points behind. All the other teams are clustered in a breathtaking neck-and-neck race. The fourth-placed team, Andretti United, is just seven points ahead of the current tail-ender Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing, which only a lot of bad luck kept from better rankings in the preceding race weekends in Saudi Arabia and Senegal.
“The Extreme E racing series is as spectacular as it is exciting,” says Sandra Roslan. “The previous races were full of surprises and showed that any team can be the final leader. This is due not least to the fact that races have never been held at these venues before. Nobody has any experience to draw on. And the routes are so extreme that there are no comparable conditions for training elsewhere. That’s why there are no clear favorites for the Arctic XPrix.”
All the teams are starting with E-SUVs which have been christened ODYSSEY 21. These extraordinary vehicles have a length of 440 cm, a width of 230 cm and a height of 186 cm, roughly the same dimensions as commercially available SUVs, and even the wheel base of 300 cm also sounds quite normal. These SUVS though are really powerful. Manufactured by racing manufacturer, Spark Racing Technology, they boast an electric equivalent of 544 hp and a weight of just 1,650 kilograms. By way of comparison, the average Dakar Rally vehicle has around 300 hp and weighs more than two metric tons. The acceleration values are equally impressive. Powered by two electric motors, the power buggies reach 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds. The E-SUVs can also easily handle a slope of around 55 degrees. To handle such blazing power safely on the course under all circumstances and in different climate zones, all the teams in the racing series have placed their trust in the 37-inch CrossContact Extreme E racing tire specially developed by Continental for these situations.
1. Rosberg X Racing (Johan Kristoffersson / Molly Taylor) 71 points
2. X44 (Sébastien Loeb / Cristina Gutiérrez) 57 points
3. JBXE (Jenson Button / Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky) 44 points
4. Andretti United (Timmy Hansen / Catie Munnings) 37 points
5. XITE ENERGY RACING (Oliver Bennett / Christine GZ) 37 points
6. ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team (Carlos Sainz / Laia Sanz) 36 points
7. ABT Cupra XE (Mattias Ekström / Claudia Hürtgen) 35 points
8. Veloce Racing (Stéphane Sarrazin / Jamie Chadwick) 31 points
9. Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing (Kyle LeDuc / Sara Price) 30 points