(Motorsport) The final race of Extreme E’s inaugural season, which also marks the Championship’s return to the UK since St. Helena departed over nine months ago, will take place at the British Ministry of Defence Base at Bovington in Dorset.
As the electric off-road series closes out Season 1, the Jurassic X Prix finds itself running on a 3.8 kilometre course that once again provides a completely new set of challenges for the nine teams and 18 world-class drivers.
The final event of the 2021 Championship will take on a different racing format, with the teams battling it out over three laps instead of the usual two. The first in the driving seat will complete two laps before pulling into the switch zone and handing over to their team-mate who will cross the finish line.
For this X Prix, Extreme E has decided which drivers will start each round. Free practice will see all teams starting with their female driver, with their male counterpart taking on the start of the next round. The drivers will continue to alternate in this way, resulting in an exciting all-female starting grid for Sunday’s Jurassic X Prix Final.
A mixed surface of clay, sand, gravel, and mud dominates the course in Dorset, making grip, or the lack of it, a key feature for the first time this season. With rain always likely in the UK in December, the course in Dorset should be a formidable test of the driver’s throttle control as they search for that all important grip.
A fast downhill start will allow for multiple cars running side by side with some tight fought battles as drivers consider their Hyperdrive strategy here. Decisions will have to be made quickly as the wide-open space soon narrows into two tight left and right 90-degree turns. A second expanse offers another opportunity for Hyperdrive before once again becoming a bottleneck, narrowing down to single car width along the tree-lined course.
A long, uphill right-hand turn follows, with the expectation that the ODYSSEY 21 will be drifting sideways throughout before greeting a short jump that marks the start of two long, fast straights. As the cars venture towards the farthest point of the course, looming into view will be the most striking feature of the X Prix.
The 5.4-metre-high ‘Knife Edge’ demands respect as the drivers approach it head on. With a 23-degree slope, go too slow and it will mean losing precious time, but go too fast and it could end up being a bumpy ride.
With only a quarter of the course remaining, there are still crucial strategic choices to be made as the cars head across the last open area. This could be the final opportunity to use Hyperdrive and steal track position on the fast downhill.
The undulating course then splits and offers two parallel uphill chutes. Left or right, drivers will make their choice and hope it proves the right one as the finish line of the final X Prix of Season 1 looms just over the top of the hill.
Championship Driver and course advisor Timo Scheider, alongside fellow Championship Driver Tamara Molinaro worked with the team on the course design and have also been testing the course ahead of the racing getting underway.
Timo Scheider said: “This is the first time of the season that we’ve had super deep and muddy track conditions. Already right at the start we have very deep mud from left to right, so I think it’ll be quite important to have a good starting spot. Extreme E has prepared the start line a bit, but sooner or later this will be destroyed, especially with the drivers doing three laps instead of two.
"The highlight will definitely be the knife edge, which is the big jump. It looks like a wall when you’re going up there and the ODYSSEY just shoots through the sky. If you are too quick you will take a long time to land, so there you have to figure out that if you take a lower speed then you can land sooner and get the traction again."