The inaugural season of the innovative new Extreme E championship will take place this weekend – although not as organisers had originally planned.
The series for electric off-road SUVs was designed to promote sustainability by staging races in remote locations that had been impacted by climate change. After events in Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Greenland and Sardinia, the season was supposed to conclude in Ushuaia, the world’s most southernmost city, in Argentina. But due to the ongoing pandemic, it will instead conclude in Dorset on the south coast of England.
But while an event on the muddy tank-testing tracks of Bovington Camp near Poole might not seem that extreme, the unique nature of the event (grandly titled the Jurassic X Prix after the nearby Jurassic Coast) does create some interesting challenges for both teams and drivers.
While Extreme E events aren't open to spectators, this weekend’s action will be shown on ITV, Sky and the BBC’s digital channels. So here’s what to watch for.
An ‘unbalanced’ event format
All Extreme E teams are required to field a male and female driver for each car. The races are usually run over two laps, with a driver switch at the end of the first lap. But racers in the Jurassic X Prix will cover a tight 2.36-mile loop around Bovington Camp that's much shorter than the usual races.
As a result, each race will now be run over three laps, meaning that one driver will do two laps, before handing over to their team-mate for the final lap. To keep things balanced, championship bosses will require the female drivers to run first in free practice, with the male drivers going first in the next heat. That mean the female drivers will run first and complete the first two laps of the final.