Extreme E is heading towards Greenland Car News

It is the 12th largest country in the world, 80% covered by an ice cap (which is shrinking), and also one of the most difficult to reach places on the planet. There are no direct flights from the UK to Nuuk, the capital of Greenland and home to about a third of the country’s sparse population of around 56,000. Instead, most people pass through Iceland, its best-known neighbor.

But it is precisely this mysterious remoteness that makes Greenland the ideal location for the third round of the Extreme E all-electric off-road championship: the Arctic X Prix. It is also the very first motorsport event held in Greenland, a country where July is the only month where the average temperature is consistently above zero.

But it’s a place that fits perfectly with the philosophy of Extreme E: a modern motorsport that captures the zeitgeist with an emphasis on green electric competition with an emphasis on community and exploration. , stimulated by some star pilots.

James Taylor, director of the championship, explains: “Greenland was actually the very first place we had initially considered winning the championship, in 2019, because it is a world-renowned center for the study of climate change. . Our whole philosophy is about education, so hosting an event in the very shadow of Russell Glacier, one of the melting ice caps, is a very powerful message. “

The inconvenient truth about climate change is that here in the UK we are, to some extent, immune to its most extreme manifestations, the effects of which are not immediately evident. In Greenland, they see it unfolding before their eyes.

The race takes place in Kangerlussuaq, a small town on the west coast about 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle, with a population of just over 500 but also its own airport. He was perhaps best known for the Sondrestrom Upper Atmospheric Research Facility, operational between 1983 and 2018, tracking weather conditions that were the inevitable result of climate change.

Like every Extreme E event, there is no existing infrastructure when the championship comes to town. The course is built from the ground up to showcase the natural landscape in a side-by-side racing format. “In that regard, it’s similar to Saudi Arabia and Senegal, where we’ve raced so far,” says Taylor. “Whatever is there, we bring it ourselves.”

But hosting a race in Greenland has its own unique challenges. Most notably, the population has extremely low levels of Covid, and the government is keen to keep it that way. So much of the groundwork has focused on liaising with the medical community to ensure that a tight bubble stays in place around the event. Only 1,000 people per week are allowed into Greenland under current rules, and Extreme E increases that total by around 500. As Taylor points out: “You have to be extremely sensitive to local sensitivities.

However, what struck Taylor the most was the extreme friendliness and interest of Greenlanders around the event. While motorsport is a whole new thing, a few people are following Formula 1 there and even more are turning to rallying. On the road, you will see a few side-by-side Polaris style buggies, so people get the concept of offroad racing as seen in Extreme E.

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This notice was published: 2021-08-26 11:01:24

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