GREENLAND WILL play host to its first ever motorsport event this weekend — August 28th and 29th — as the all-electric Extreme E off-road series holds its inaugural Arctic X Grand Prix.
The five-mile circuit will run on surfaces of glacial sediment, rock and sand on the former site of the now-diminished Russell Glacier near Kangerlussuaq on Greenland’s west coast.
Kangerlussuaq was chosen, according to Extreme E’s CEO, Alejandro Agag, to highlight “the issues faced by the island including ice melt leading to global sea level rise.”
Extreme E has already attracted some big names including former F1 driver, Nico Rosberg, whose team, Rosberg X Racing, leads the championship with 71 points following victories in Saudi Arabia and Senegal.
Chasing RXR in the points are Lewis Hamilton’s team, X44, with 57 points, and Jensen Button’s JBXE on 44.
Other big names who will be competing in the nine-car event include Acciona-Sainz XE’s Carlos Sainz Snr., as well as X44’s Sébastien Loeb.
The Greenland event will follow a slightly different rules format to previous races in the series.
Qualifying will take place on Saturday with teams completing a two-lap session in the morning and another in the afternoon. Both stints will include a driver change, so each driver gets to drive a lap in each qualifying session.
The times recorded will translate to classification points, the best time being awarded nine points, the second best, eight, etc. The qualifying position will be determined by adding-up the points from both morning and afternoon sessions.
On race day, the teams qualifying first, fifth and sixth will compete in Semi-Final 1 with the two fastest going through to the final; Semi Final 2 will see second, third and fourth compete for two more places in the final.
The three losers from both semi-finals will then compete for the one remaining place in the five-car final.
The course will also feature a so-called ‘Super Sector’, a section where the fastest driver through that part of the course can earn an extra five points for their team.
It’s not just racing skill that determines grid position, however. Viewers can also vote for their favourite team, which has the potential to influence the grid line-up, as was the case in Saudi Arabia and Senegal.
The vehicles in which the racers will be competing are built by Spark Racing Technology, a French constructor of electric racing cars, including those for Formula E. The batteries are produced by Oxfordshire-based Williams Advanced Engineering.
Part of Extreme E’s mission is to shine a light on the current climate and ecological crisis by racing through areas that have already been environmentally damaged.
Recent reports of rain falling on the peak of the Greenland icecap highlight the crisis Extreme E is trying to raise awareness about.
The course for the Arctic X Grand Prix takes places on land once occupied by the severely depleted Russell Glacier, which has diminished in recent years as a result of climate change.
In an attempt the reduce the series’ environmental impact, Extreme E doesn’t allow spectators, though the event will be widely televised.
Qualifying will be available to view in the UK on ITV, Sky Sports, the BBC’s digital channels and BT Sport from 12.30 on Saturday afternoon, with the semi-finals starting from 11am on Sunday.
- After reading how Greenland is to host its first ever motorsport event, the Arctic X Grand Prix, you may be interested to read how Lotus Engineering partnered with Jenson Button’s Extreme E off-road racing team
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