Sunday, July 21, 2024

Extreme H to become FIA World Championship, debut delayed to 2025

Extreme E‘s hydrogen-powered sister project Extreme E will make its début in 2025 with plans of becoming an FIA World Championship the following year if it meets select criteria. The series was originally supposed to run its inaugural season in 2024.

World Championship status is held by seven series: Formula E, Formula One, the Karting World Championship, the World Endurance Championship, the World Rally Championship, World Rallycross Championship, and World Rally-Raid Championship; the World Touring Car Championship was also one until its shutdown in 2017, as was its short-lived successor World Touring Car Cup. Under Article 2.4.3 of the FIA’s International Sporting Code, a series can be designated as a world championship if a given season takes place on at least three continents, each race is registered on the International Sporting Calendar, and the organiser agrees to let the FIA conduct all investigations and inspections.

On the other hand, Extreme E is classified as an FIA International Series and can only qualify for Championship status upon satisfying Article 2.4.3, which it hopes to do by 2024. If it succeeds, XE would join Formula E and World Rallycross as electric-based championships; FE and XE are both founded and overseen by Alejandro Agag.

“Establishing alongside the FIA a world-first hydrogen racing world championship will be a momentous milestone for Extreme E and the new Extreme H series,” said Agag. “Eventual accreditation as an FIA Championship and then an FIA World Championship means we would be amongst the top tier of global motorsport categories, and Extreme H would be the first-ever world championship racing series of its kind.

“What started as a conversation many years ago about racing in extreme environments, showcasing the incredible performance and innovation of E-SUVs, has now demonstrated enormous growth and further pioneering technical advances as we move forward with the transition to hydrogen and Extreme H, a world-first.

“This announcement is a significant first step in the development of our championship and our ground-breaking transition to hydrogen-powered racing. Sport is the most powerful and effective platform to drive innovation and our commitment to delivering sustainable motorsport championships full of excitement and with a reduced carbon footprint are testament to that.

“Once it achieves FIA World Championship status, Extreme H will continue what Extreme E started as a pioneering motorsport series and we look forward to delivering another spectacular sporting product. I’d like to thank the President and the FIA for their continued support and recognition of our ambition to create a world-first for motor racing. Expect to see yet more exciting racing out on course, as well as further pushing the boundaries of new technologies in the race to tackle climate issues.”

Extreme H was revealed prior to the 2022 Extreme E season, hoping to sportify the increasing use of hydrogen as an alternative power source. While electric power remains the most common style, hydrogen has been entertained in motorsport such as sports cars. XE cars are also charged with a hydrogen generator from AFC Energy.

Although a counterpart to XE, Extreme H will use a different chassis in order to fit the hydrogen fuel cell.

“We are excited to continue working with Extreme E on their journey to becoming an FIA World Championship,” commented FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem. “Using sustainable power sources in motorsport is the key objective of the FIA and part of our long-term strategy, and this series is an ideal showcase for that. Hydrogen is an important part of that mix, and we have developed a set of safety regulations for hydrogen-powered vehicles which is part of the FIA’s International Sporting Code.

“It is encouraging that such a major motorsport entity as Extreme E with its renowned line-up of teams sees the same potential in hydrogen technology. Their approach to equality and diversity matches ours as we push to make motorsport accessible for all.

“Motorsport competition serves as an excellent research and development platform and this new series has great potential. Having the technology tested in the harsh environment of off-road racing in all types of conditions should benefit the whole industry, and in the longer term make mobility more environmentally friendly for everyday users of the road. We are looking forward to working with Extreme E, sharing our know-how and expertise.”

Extreme E is currently in its third season. Its next round in Sardinia will take place on 16/17 September.