Extreme E – 3 things we learnt from the inaugural weekend

This weekend just gone saw the first ever weekend of a brand new motorsport, with Extreme E making it’s mark on racing fans. For those who don’t know about it, Extreme E sees nine teams of two drivers (one male and one female) take part in off-road electric car racing in some really difficult terrains, from deserts to rainforests to even the Arctic, so it is a really interesting thing to watch. With the first event taking place in the desert of Saudi Arabia, we weren’t really sure what to expect. However, this article will now detail three key points we learnt from the event, giving us things to look for going into the rest of the season.

Teamwork is crucial

Teams have always existed in motorsport, with constructors competing against each other for crucial Championship points. However, whilst in Formula 1 and Formula E, for example, this goes out of the window a lot during races, with drivers focusing on their own races on the whole, in Extreme E, the drivers have to work together, because there is only one car per team. The sport works by both drivers doing one lap in it, and then switching over, allowing the second driver to post their lap. Therefore, there really is no option of going off on their own; they have to work together to win the races. This weekend showed how this works, with the two drivers clearly getting on well and now knowing each other well, which was really good to see. This definitely makes the sport interesting, because the team really is at the centre of everything.

Tactics and strategies need to be good

With only a few cars on the track at any one time, the tactics and team strategies need to be good. There are no track limits, so, whilst the teams have to go through certain “gates” around the lap, they can go through them with any line or angle they want to. That makes the car positioning around the lap really interesting, especially as it could be crucial to winning or losing a race. The start, too, has to be good, with Andretti United’s Timmy Hansen proving to be a master at it in the desert. The differing conditions of the five events (such as the dust and sand kicking up in the desert event) mean that deciding who starts and ends the race is important, and, again, could win or lose the race. Therefore, as we go through the rest of the events, it will be intriguing to see how each team approaches each type of environment.

The courses have everything we normally expect on a circuit

There were probably those who saw this new sport called Extreme E, racing on sand, snow, rainforest floors and other natural areas, and wondered where the chicane would be, where the tight corners would, and other things that would normally be present in abundance on a normal circuit. However, the desert course had ups and downs, a chicane, and, because it was on sand, a lot of slipping and sliding around, making the whole thing really enjoyable to watch. Therefore, we had all of the things we would expect to see on a Formula 1 track, but on a much bigger scale. The one thing missing is the individual wheel-to-wheel combat, but there will be some interesting strategic battles between teams as the series goes on and points become even more important, there is no doubt about that.

Extreme E might be a brand new thing for us to experience, but there is no doubting that it gives us plenty of action to enjoy. There will be things to get used to, such as only having three cars on track at the most, and the fact that they often end up twenty seconds apart by the end of the first lap, but differing racing conditions will help, as the next event, on the coast of Senegal in West Africa, may allow for the teams to be closer together – we just don’t know until they get there and start driving around it. The underlying point of this series, though, is to help clean up our planet, both in terms of it being an electric series, but also because of the people involved leaving no trace of where they have been, and helping to generally clean up each area they have identified to race in as well. That is the main and perhaps the most important thing to take from this series, if nothing else thrills you about it.

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