RIYADH: The Saudi desert of AlUla is set to host the opening race of the second season of Extreme E, the provisional list of venues for 2022 has revealed.
In April, AlUla hosted the first ever event — Desert X Prix — in the electric car series, which takes place in off-road locations as part of its mission to drive awareness of climate change issues, such as global warming, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, wildfires, extreme weather, and desertification, while promoting sustainability and the adoption of electric vehicles to help protect the planet.
Founder and chief executive officer of Extreme E, Alejandro Agag, said: “We’ve had a hugely positive response to Extreme E throughout this opening season, from governments to NGOs, who see great potential, not only for utilizing our purpose-driven sports platform to educate on climate issues, but also to showcase the solutions that they and the wider global community can all be part of.
“As we approach the tail end of our first season, we wanted to be transparent about how our second season is shaping up in order to help enable our teams, drivers, and partners to prepare.
“We’ve had lots of interest, both in retaining events in locations we’ve visited in season one, and from new locations, and we are currently at a stage where we have multiple options for some of our races.
“As an engaged championship which aims to put fans at the heart of decision making, we are also keen to hear input and opinions on where we should go in future seasons too,” he added.
Former Royal Mail ship, the St. Helena, provides the championship’s floating centerpiece, carrying the series’ vehicles, logistics equipment, and paddock infrastructure as well as playing host to scientific research with its onboard laboratory, all in a bid to lower the impact of the travel logistics compared to air travel.
Head-to-head races, known as an X Prix, take place over two days, within an area no larger than 10 square kilometers, with each team fielding a male and a female driver who each complete a lap of the racecourse, including a driver switch incorporated midway.
Course designers have been tasked with carefully selecting course options which provide the most challenging, exciting action, using existing obstacles and features with elevation changes and jumps, in order to minimize environmental impact.
Race organizers undertake thorough environmental, social, and economic assessments of each location with a local third party, overseen by EY, in order to safeguard environmental protection, social inclusivity, and fair practices. These reports have influenced the way Extreme E operates from water consumption, waste management, and on-site lighting through to land management and ensuring the series leaves without a trace after the X Prix has finished.
Additionally, in each location, Extreme E works alongside local experts, governments, and NGOs to implement positive legacy initiatives dependent on regional needs.
Examples of legacy programs in the first season included the funding of a turtle conservation project along the Red Sea coastline, the planting of 1 million mangroves with NGO TO.org and Oceanium in Senegal, cocoa agroforestry and Amazon conservation with The Nature Conservancy in the Brazilian state of Para, and the creation with UNICEF of a climate education syllabus for more than 3,500 schoolchildren in Greenland.
Prof. Carlos Duarte, Extreme E’s climate change scientist, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of Extreme E this year and very much look forward to continuing our good work into season two.
“The legacy and scientific aspects are a true cornerstone to the series and already this year I’ve been able to conduct research in Saudi Arabia and collect ice samples from the Russell Glacier (in Greenland) with Extreme E.
“This championship gives me and my peers the opportunity to reach people outside of our usual networks, it gives us a voice to reach the masses and educate on climate issues and the solutions we can all be a part of,” he added.
As well as providing a platform for climate awareness, Extreme E has had a positive economic impact on host countries. YouGov Sport, the international research and data analytics organization, calculated the series’ inaugural event in Saudi Arabia contributed more than $55 million local value. These figures included the employment of local personnel, logistics, transportation to and from the race site, as well as local food and beverage provision, and hotel nights.
The overall media exposure of the Desert X Prix was in itself a significant factor in the overall economic impact. Extreme E’s 190 global broadcast markets audience reach of 18.7 million, along with its strong media presence, resulted in an unprecedented media value of almost $38 million for the championship.
Extreme E has already surpassed its social media targets for the end of season one, hitting 100 million video views, a 400 percent increase in engagement, plus more than 1 billion impressions across its digital landscape at each of its two opening X Prix events.
Provisional Extreme E Season 2 calendar (2022):
Feb. 19-20: Saudi Arabia
May 7-8: Senegal/Egypt/Tanzania
July 9-10: Greenland/Iceland
Sept. 10-11: Brazil/Argentina/Uruguay/Italy/Costa Rica
Nov. 26-27: Chile