You place the highest demands on our tyres, and that’s why Continental embraces every challenge – to pursue new milestones in performance and safety. And now that we’re a Founding Partner of Extreme E, a fresh adventure is about to begin. Join us in a race series that ventures into uncharted territory: tracks in the most inhospitable corners of the world, sustainable off-road vehicles with a powerful electric drive, and a racing series where victory is only possible through perfect coordination between vehicle and driver.
Think an electric car is only for commuting in the city? Think again. The new Extreme E race series will take you to the wildest and most untamed regions of the planet. With teams of professional drivers competing in extreme conditions for the ultimate prize, motorsports have never been so electrifying.
With the momentum of the Formula E series, where global audiences have grown to 330 million in just four seasons, the time is right for a whole new kind of racing event. Extreme E brings high-performance sports utility vehicles to the harshest road conditions imaginable, where only the most fearless drivers supported by precisely engineered technology can succeed.
As Extreme E kicks off, 12 teams split into two groups will race in 5 locations, with the top four teams progressing to the knock-out stage. And as a founding partner of the series, Continental will provide custom-built tyres to ensure perfect road grip, whether in the Himalayas, on the coast of the Indian Ocean, in the Arctic, across the desert, or in the tropics.
Extreme E promises to be the most extreme form of motorsports, and Swedish racing star Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky is Continental's official test driver of tyres developed for the event. Watch the action unfold in our Beyond the Extreme video series.
Absolutely integral to the Extreme E experience is the RMS St Helena, a former Royal Mail ship which transports our intrepid competitors to five different race locations around the world.
The ship has been transformed and upgraded with a multimillion euro retrofit, and doubles as an operating base and floating paddock for the global expedition; it has a state-of-the-art garage plus a central hub for operations, logistics, communications, and accommodation.
So where will the Extreme E adventure lead us, and what challenging conditions will the drivers face?
Extreme E is the most extreme racing series the world has ever seen. A new race, held under such unique and challenging conditions, requires a new kind of tyre. As an Extreme E Founding Partner, we’re doing our bit to ensure all contestants have the best possible equipment to deal with whatever trials they face. Continental carefully examined the requirements of the race series and built an ultra-high-performance tyre which specifically addresses the needs of the competing teams. The performance optimised tyres are not just built for extreme conditions, but also for the unique requirements of the competing pure electric SUVs.
Scorching heat or blistering cold; muddy, sandy or icy – no matter how extreme the conditions, the contestants and their vehicles need a reliable tyre that provides grip, traction and excellent performance at every stage of the race. The Continental CrossContact LX, the basis of the new tyre developed for Extreme E, is a well-balanced all-season touring tyre with a specially designed tread to enhance traction and stability on practically any surface. We further refined its strengths to create two brand new tyres especially for the needs of Extreme E. The CrossContact Xtreme Winter and the CrossContact Xtreme Summer will help contestants safely reach the finish line of the world’s most extreme racing series.
All Extreme E participants use the same set of standardised equipment. That’s where motorsport manufacturer Spark Racing Technology comes into the picture; they will create, assemble and deliver a brand-new electric SUV model for the brave pioneers of the off-road racing series.
Another critical component of the Extreme E cars will be the battery. The same company which assembled the batteries and cells for the first four seasons of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, Williams Advanced Engineering, is responsible for this essential item.
Prototype testing will begin in July 2019, with substantial tyre technology contributions from Founding Partner Continental. Each team will receive two sets of summer and winter tyres, optimised for every conceivable facet of performance and safety required by the all-electric SUVs.
Just like a traditional race series, Spark Racing Technology will design and construct a common framework with stringent specification parts, and then hand over the approved chassis to each team. Each challenger is then free to test and build a custom powertrain and bodywork on this platform.
The standardised parts made by Spark Racing Technology will consist of the following:
The areas eligible for individual team development are the motor and inverter, and select parts of the exterior bodywork, for example, the engine cover, side skirt, lights, and front and rear bumpers.
The batteries will be compatible with Formula E-specification motors and produce a maximum power output of 470 kW (equivalent to approx. 630 bhp). But this new battery is specially customised for the rigours of off-road racing, made to withstand extreme environments, road conditions and terrains.
Extreme E is a global racing championship that sees all-electric SUVs battle head-to-head in some of the world’s most extreme environments.
The format of Extreme E will be familiar to motorsports fans, where two groups of six teams compete against each other in a fast-paced round-robin tournament. The top four teams will progress to heats in a knock-out stage, where drivers square off in a one-to-one contest for a coveted spot in the final.
The off-road stages will be around 6-10 km in length, and drivers have to navigate through a series of virtual gates. Each track will be made up of five to six gates, with a combination of off-road tracks and open ground.