“Extreme E” has announced the fifth and final venue for the spectacular new offroad racing series with electric SUVs. Following on from events in the Arctic, the Brazilian rainforest, the Saudi Arabian desert and the Himalayas, the Ocean Stage will next year take the teams to the banks of Lac Rose, also known as Lake Retba, not far from Dakar, the capital of Senegal. The salt content of the lake is similar to that of the Dead Sea. The lake owes its remarkable pink color to the presence of specific bacteria that produce red iron oxide.
“This is an area of outstanding natural beauty,” says Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, “but sadly, like many of the world’s coastal areas, it is under severe threat from a variety of climate issues.” The lake, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is located less than one kilometer from the Atlantic, separated from the ocean by just a strip of dunes. And that strip of land is getting thinner all the time. “This coastline is currently losing three to four meters each year,” laments Agag, “with a key contributor to this being Greenland’s melting ice cap.”
By selecting a venue in the direct vicinity of threatened biotopes, the Extreme E racing series aims to draw the attention of motor sports fans around the world, politicians, local people and the local authorities at the race location to climate change, and encourage them to redouble their efforts to restrict global warming to 1.5°C.
In the run-up to the Extreme E event in Senegal, the organizers of the series will be joining with the local authorities to initiate an environmental protection project to clean up this stretch of coast. The aim is to use the plastic waste collected to make ecobricks and to use these at a later stage to build washrooms for more than 300 schoolchildren. This is an initial step in establishing positive, long-term relations with people in the region ahead of next year’s race.
“We are very happy to host Extreme E,” says Abdou Thiam, President of the Senegalese Motorsport Federation. “The sport has a huge responsibility in helping people understand the issue of climate change and we’re proud to be a part of this adventure.”
In identifying Lac Rose as a race location, Extreme E was assisted by to.Org, an accelerator for the earth’s most vital ventures with a unique understanding of Senegal. Nachson Mimran is to.Org’s co-founder and CEO: “Extreme E is an ecologically focused and modern race series with a mission to leave behind a positive legacy that will help tackle the problems we face in Senegal.”
In Senegal, over three days a succession of sand bars, salt beds, gravel, rocks and undulations will provide the drivers, teams and their cutting-edge ODYSSEY 21 e-SUVs with a real challenge as they navigate the narrow off-road sand tracks between Lac Rose and the Atlantic Ocean. The routes will be designed to incorporate existing obstacles and features so that there is no need to adapt the natural setting. Damage to the environment is avoided as a matter of principle.
Continental became a Founding Partner of Extreme E in January 2019 and will become a Premium Partner of the series in 2021. The technology company will be equipping all the vehicles involved in the races with tires for the diverse and extremely demanding conditions that they will encounter. Promoters Formula E Holdings Ltd. expect ten teams to take part in the first season. Initial tests are currently being conducted. The series is due to launch in February 2021.