Greenland to play host to the Arctic round when the new electric powered off-road series kicks off in 2021.
Extreme E is set to make history as the first-ever motorsport race in Greenland, racing on the sandbars in view of the Russell Glacier in Kangerlussuaq in the western region of the island.
The event will take place over three days within an area no larger than 10 km2, the routes will be designed to incorporate existing obstacles and features with elevation changes and jumps without the need to adapt the environment. Track designers are being tasked with selecting course options, which provide the most challenging, exciting racing action whilst crucially generating no negative impact from either environmental or social perspectives.
Speaking at the race site next to Russell Glacier, Alejandro Agag said:“I am incredibly excited to be bringing Extreme E’s unique electric racing format to the front line of the global climate emergency here in Greenland. I promised Extreme E would break the mould in motorsport and this really proves I meant it.
“As well as being a serious motor racing series, Extreme E has a strong sporting purpose to promote the adoption of electric mobility in the fight to lower global emission levels, an issue we can no longer ignore, especially here in Greenland.
“Together with Greenland’s government, backed by climate experts from Cambridge University, we will create a sensational sporting competition with the most incredible natural backdrop, which, crucially, will double as a catalyst for positive awareness, education, and scientific research, aiming to leave only positive impact behind when we depart."
Jess Svane, Greenland’s Minister for Industry, Energy and Research, said: “I am very happy that Extreme E will take place in Greenland in 2021. This shows that Greenland is not only a beautiful travel destination sought out by lovers of nature, adventure seekers and wildlife explores, it is also a place with a bright future in business development.”
He added: “We are also very pleased with Extreme E’s vision to highlight climate change. This correlates perfect with our own green agenda. Greenland is a green country and today around 70 per cent of all public energy supply is from renewable energy resources and we are firmly committed to increase this further in the years to come.”
According to experts, the island has experienced some of the worst effects of global warming, and the series is aiming to bring attention to this crisis facing our planet.
Professor Peter Wadhams, of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) at Cambridge University - a world leading authority on ice melt who has led 55 Arctic expeditions, has been joining race organisers to advise on their recce of Greenland, he explained: “As soon as I heard the idea for Extreme E, I was very excited. Transport is responsible for 30 per cent of the use of fossil fuels, which are the main cause of global warming, so Extreme E’s overall principle of encouraging electric vehicle use, is very important to our planet’s future.
“On 1 August, which was one of the days that I was in Greenland with the race team, the ice cap lost 12.5 billion tonnes of ice, a new daily record loss. If you consider what that level of daily loss does to global sea levels, it’s very scary indeed. It really is a crisis – this is happening now, today, and we need to act fast to have any chance of slowing it down.”
In addition to announcing the first race location, Extreme E revealed that the series is in the early stages of developing plans to track and monitor teams’ emission levels in each location, with sporting and financial incentives being considered for those which achieve the lowest overall outputs.
Season 1 is set to get underway in early 2021. Greenland is the first of the five race locations to be confirmed, with recces currently taking place in other regions and further announcements to be made over the coming months.