Arriving at Bovington Camp, a military base in Dorset, for the finale of the inaugural season of electric off-road series Extreme E, the lack of noise is the first indication that this is international motorsport done differently. When the nine fully electric 550bhp Odyssey 21 SUVs enter the arena, it is in large part to the sound of wet mud displaced by exclusive tyre supplier Continental’s Extreme E tyre, which is based on the German manufacturer’s CrossContact range. Primarily targeting a broadcast and internet audience, the teams, event staff, and small number of attendees on-site mingle under canvas, watching most of the action from the circuit unfold on big screens. During the races, teams complete the switch between the male and female drivers – another indicator of how Extreme E approaches motorsport differently – in front of this area.
Nico Rosberg has signed his name on the Continental dotted line and will henceforth act as a brand manager for the tyre maker. Announcing the arrangement, the former Formula One World Champion tweeted that he’s “proud to work with partners who put sustainability, technology and safety at the heart of what they do.”
In mid-March Jenson Button’s JBXE Extreme E team announced who will be racing electric SUVs alongside the former Formula 1 world champion. He will be sharing the cockpit of his Odyssey 21 with Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky. In recent years, the Swedish driver has successfully competed in the Scirocco R-Cup Germany and in the rallycross discipline. In 2015, she took part in the newly established Audi Sport TT Cup. She also started in the junior classification of the ADAC GT Masters in 2016 and in the Audi Sport Racing Academy in 2017, before switching to the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship in 2018, where she made history as the first and only woman ever to win races in that series.
In little over a month’s time, the new Extreme E race series will commence with the opening round in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia, and Continental is ready with its CrossContact Extreme E. The exclusive tyre supplier shares some details of the rubber that will be worn by each of the competing Spark ODYSSEY 21 electric SUVs.
Six-Time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton is creating his very own race team, which will make its competitive debut in the Extreme E electric off-road racing series early next year. Hamilton has named the team X44 – a nod to his F1 car number – and although he won’t drive in the new championship or be involved with X44 on a day-to-day basis, the British driver will draw upon his experience to help guide the creation of a dedicated and competitive team. Extreme E tyre supplier Continental welcomes this backing from motorsport royalty.
Continental is a founding partner and, from 2021, the premium sponsor of the Extreme E series. In this role, Conti will fit all race vehicles with tyres for the very challenging action. Indeed, according to the tyre and automotive supplier, Extreme E is the biggest challenge tyres have faced in motorsport. With this in mind, Nico Meier, product designer at Continental, talks about the challenges Extreme E tyres are exposed to in this unprecedented series, the importance of the tyre sidewall in general, and the sidewall design of the Extreme E tyre in particular.
Testing for the Extreme E off-road electric racing series began earlier this month at the Château de Lastours off-road proving grounds in the south of France. One question the tested aimed to answer during proceedings was how well the car and tyres work together. They also looked into any potential weaknesses in the electric race car’s physical and technical design, not least in its motor. The tests lasted several days and were run by Continental, tyre supplier to Extreme E, and Spark Racing Technology.
The two Continental tyre types specially developed for the Extreme E off-road racing series have made their global debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed. Designed for the world’s toughest driving conditions, the new summer and winter tyres were presented to the public along with the electric SUV on which they are to tackle some of the most extreme locations across the globe.
Swedish touring car racer Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky has been selected to test the new tyres Continental is developing for the Extreme E rally series. Åhlin-Kottulinsky, the first and to-date only woman to win a race in the TCR Scandinavia Touring Car Championship, will lend her talents towards the development of tyres for what Continental calls “the most extreme racing series the world has ever seen.”
Continental is to sponsor the Extreme E off-road electric racing series. With sustainable electric SUVs and tyre technology from Continental, the new series takes participants to the most remote corners of the world. Extreme E organisers are anticipating 12 teams taking part in the inaugural season, slated to begin in exactly two years. Prototype testing is scheduled to start in April 2019 and Continental is initially a Founding Partner of Extreme E, becoming a Premium Partner in 2021. The technology company will equip all of the cars in the races with suitable tyres for the respective terrain.