EXTREME E, the forthcoming, more off-the-rails sister to Formula E, will be available live on BBC and BBC iPlayer from its launch in January 2021.
The multiyear deal sees the new electric SUV off-road racing series airing across the BBC’s digital platforms. It is the latest in a series of broadcast deals Extreme E has struck — agreements have already been made with Fox Sports in the US and Canada, Fox Sports Asia, Mediaset in Italy, Sony India, and with broadcasters in New Zealand, Malaysia, the Middle East and Belarus.
Ali Russell, Chief Marketing Officer at Extreme E, said: “Our goal with Extreme E is to open this innovative new series up to as wide an audience as possible. Securing this deal with the BBC is a massive coup in what is a key market for us.
“The UK has an insatiable appetite for world-class motor racing and a groundswell of backing for sustainable technologies.”
Russell pointed out that the agreement would enable British motor sport fans to watch homegrown competitors Jamie Chadwick, who won the inaugural female-only W Series in 2019, and Billy Monger, who won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award in 2018, which is given for “outstanding achievement in the face of adversity.” Monger returned to racing less than a year after a crash that forced him to undergo a double amputation.
It was also announced today that British Sam Bird, who currently competes as a Formula E driver, will be competing in Extreme E’s debut season. To date he has racked up nine wins and 18 podium places out of 63 Formula E races.
The concept for Extreme E was dreamt up by Alejandro Agag, who is the founder of unexpected success story Formula E. Against predictions, Formula E is inhabited by big names like Porsche, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Nissan, DS and Audi. In 2019 the series turned a profit for the first time.
All Extreme E drivers will race in the Odyssey 21, a pure-electric SUV that was revealed at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The 1,650kg, 2.3m-wide car can do 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds and can tackle 130% gradients.
The first Extreme E race, pencilled in for January 23, 2021 at Lac Rose, Senegal. Each of the rounds will focus on a different environmental concern, and as Extreme E’s Ocean race the Senegal event will aim to draw attention to the marine crisis — rising sea levels, depleting coral reefs, dwindling fish populations and more. Sand bars, salt beds and various other features for the drivers to contend with mean that the entertainment factor will also be firmly present.
Four more races in similarly peripheral locations and in similarly testing conditions will follow in March, May, August and October, with the finale located in Santarém, Pará, Brazil — in the Amazon Rainforest.
The final race location is a damaged region, and the team behind Extreme E want to draw attention to how such damage occurs — land being cleared for agriculture and cattle grazing leaves areas such as this more vulnerable to droughts and forest fires.