Extreme E’s central goal is to raise environmental awareness, so all race equipment needed for their series of worldwide events will travel by sea, allowing for a far less carbon-intensive equivalent to air travel.
The first of those trips was over the last month, sailing from England to Saudi Arabia.
Packed with 63 shipping containers, St. Helena departed from Liverpool three weeks ago, navigating its way around the southern coast of Spain before venturing through the Mediterranean.
A 12-hour trip through the Suez Canal followed, before finally completing the home straight down the Red Sea and arriving in Saudi Arabia on Sunday morning.
Onboard was the series’ full fleet of electric SUVs and its purpose-built AFC Energy hydrogen fuel cell, which will provide zero-emission vehicle charging capabilities on site. The ship was also carrying Air Shelta tents which will form the team garages, the podium, the start gantry, TV and broadcast equipment, three machines from 3devo to turn plastic waste into the championship’s trophies, two custom BRIG Eagle 8 carbon black support boats and a variety of Bosch tools.
That epic cargo is now headed for AlUla – host location of Extreme E’s first-ever outing, and its inaugural desert X Prix, to be held the weekend of April 3rd and 4th.
Extreme E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag said: “We’ve made it! The maiden race weekend voyage of St. Helena was always going to be a massive moment for us and that’s exactly how it’s turned out – emotionally as much as anything.
“We have put so much work in to get to this stage and to know we’re now in Saudi Arabia and en route to AlUla fills me and all of our hard-working, passionate team with immense joy.
“The Desert X Prix is going to be a landmark occasion in so many ways: from the launch of our all-electric racing series to the groundbreaking work we plan to carry out in efforts to combat desertification in the Kingdom and around the world, so to be officially ‘on the ground’ is hugely exciting.”
The repurposing of St. Helena has been a huge project for Extreme E. Purchased in 2018, the former mail delivery vessel has had a complete internal refit, and now sets sail complete with its own science laboratory, manned by on-board scientists, who will conduct oceanic research projects while at sea.
In addition, there are 62 cabins onboard which can sleep up to 175 people, two lounges, an 80-seater restaurant, a 100-seater exterior deck, an 80-seater presentation area plus the capacity to carry 90 20-foot shipping containers. The ship uses low-energy LED lights, has low-water consumption bathroom fittings and chairs made from recycled plastic bottles, collected from the Mediterranean. There is also a hydroponic system onboard in the kitchens which will enable the Chef to grow the vessel’s own herbs and garnishes.
Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) who is organizing the race with Extreme E, said: “Extreme E has arrived in Saudi Arabia! This date has been a long time coming and we are thrilled to herald the safe arrival of St. Helena here in the Kingdom.
“With less than three weeks until race weekend, we will now be working tirelessly alongside Extreme E to ensure April’s Desert X Prix in AlUla is as epic as we have all imagined.
“Extreme E marks another landmark moment for motorsports in Saudi Arabia and will be one that we believe will inspire Saudis, both on the track as drivers, but off the track too.”
The Desert X Prix, AlUla, gets underway on Saturday, April 3rd with the qualification rounds, and the final plays out 24 hours later. Extreme E X Prix races are not open to fans to attend in person, but qualifications will be shown live on the Extreme E website, with the Finals broadcast live on KSA Sports in Saudi Arabia and MBC in the Middle East.
For more information, visit www.extreme-e.com