Extreme E has announced an unconventional race format for its inaugural 2021 season, which series CEO Alejandro Agag described as “Star Wars podracing meets Dakar Rally”.
The series, which has a five-round calendar in place for next year and will showcase climate change-damaged terrain, had previously confirmed its intention to hold head-to-head races.
It has now unveiled a complicated format that is “designed to incorporate eight teams, and can be adapted to accommodate additional entries”.
Under this format, the two-day “X Prix” will begin with a pair of qualifying races that will determine seeding for the semi-finals.
The top four teams in the qualifying rankings will head into Semi-Final 1, in which three spots in the Final will be on offer, while one additional spot for the main event will be fought over in Semi-Final 2, which the organisers have dubbed ‘Crazy Race’.
Each of the individual races is to be a two-lap affair, with a driver changeover after the opening lap – which is set to span “approximately 16 kilometres”.
Extreme E line-ups are required to include a male and female driver, and teams will have to select who starts the race and who drives the second stint in advance, without knowledge of the other teams’ strategies. This, as per the series’ statement, should “therefore ensure contests between males and females”.
In a move similar to sister series Formula E, Extreme E will incorporate a “Hyperdrive” feature, which will hand a boost to the car that performed the longest jump at the beginning of each race.
“Extreme E is a championship like nothing else that has come before in sport. Its goal and objective is to accelerate innovation and tackle climate change head on using transportation.
“Creating this innovative sporting format, which we’re likening to Star Wars Pod Racing meets Dakar Rally, is vital in order to engage the next generation of motorsport fans.
“We hope our fans will enjoy the short, sharp, wheel-to-wheel racing this format has been built around, and with our high performance electric vehicle, driver changeover, the Hyperdrive feature, and the Crazy Race qualification format, there is plenty to watch out for, and many chances for positions to change hands.
“Our races really will go right to the wire.”