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8 July 2022

Extreme E: The Sport Tackling the Climate Crisis


Arid deserts. Rugged coastlines. Frozen icecaps. What comes to mind when you picture those places? It’s probably not motorsports. Extreme E has turned motorsports on its head, pulling it away from the urban racetracks of F1, to the world’s most remote and extreme off-road destinations.

From the arctic expanses and ice caps of Greenland, to the salt beds and sand bars of Senegal, Extreme E is racing - and raising awareness - in the world's most climate change-affected regions. 

Featuring 100% electric SUVs, compulsory male-female driver pairings, a Legacy Programme, and a floating operational hub, Extreme E is completely reinventing a sport to face today's global issues.

As our new partner, McLaren Extreme E, joins the race for the first time in 2022 - and we launch our Limited Edition McLaren Extreme E Tempests™- we’ve taken a deep dive into Extreme E to help you understand what this brand-new championship is all about.

What's the Extreme E hype all about?

Extreme E teams first went head to head in the inaugural 2021 series, in 5 races around the globe known as X-Prix, where they battle to be crowned fastest. But there's a twist. Extreme E combines a need for speed with a more important focus: tackling the climate crisis.

“Extreme E is the first sport built out of concern for the climate crisis.”

— Extreme E, 2021

Extreme E is paving the way for a lower-carbon future, through accelerating electric car technologies; promoting gender equality, through mixed-gender driver pairings; and using sport to draw attention to the impact of climate change, in highly vulnerable, climate-impacted locations. Extreme E also looks to make tangible, real-life change to the climate crisis, both through raising awareness, and through direct action on the ground. It's all about doing things differently - to make a difference. And at SunGod, that's what we're all about.

Legacy Programme: making a real-life difference to X-Prix locations.

Extreme E’s X-Prix locations are in some of the most remote, climate-change affected corners of our planet. Enormously vulnerable, these environments need more than just a ‘leave no trace’ approach to impact; they need support, so they’re better positioned to tackle the challenges of the future. That’s where the Extreme E Legacy Programmes comes in.

Take Lac Rose in Senegal, host of the Season 1 Ocean X-Prix. This is the only pink lake in Africa, and it's being profoundly impacted by rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and desertification. Through the Legacy Programme, Extreme E has partnered with local NGOs to tackle a range of local issues: from mangrove reforestation to improve marine biodiversity, to developing community hubs with a focus on sustainable development. Through these kinds of initiatives, Extreme E works with local communities in each of its race locations to help apply world-leading scientific knowledge to local-scale issues.

St. Helena: “the soul of Extreme E”. 

Extreme E isn’t just about improving host locations; it’s about setting a new bar for how we think about impact as a whole. That’s where the St. Helena comes in. The St Helena is, according to founder Alejandro Agag, “the soul of Extreme E”. 

The floating centrepiece of the series started life as a Royal Mail ship, and has since undergone a multi-million pound transformation into an ultra-efficient floating base: paddock, accommodation, freight carrier, climate change laboratory and more, all rolled into one. The St. Helena transports cars, drivers and infrastructure between Extreme E’s X-Prix locations, all with a carbon footprint 100x lower than air freight. What’s more, while motorsports usually rely on vast teams and huge in-person crowds, Extreme E limits each team to 8 people, with no in-person fans - it’s all live-streamed to viewers at home instead. Even the editing and transmission is done remotely, in London. 

Extreme E’s innovative logistics help the championship to slash its emissions and impact on local host environments. The St. Helena is a perfect example of how creative alternatives can revolutionise a sport - we can’t wait to see how other sports get inspired by Extreme E’s outside-the-box thinking.

World-leading science driving world-class sport.

Led by Cambridge Professor of Ocean Physics, Peter Wadhams, Extreme E’s Scientific Committee brings climate research to the forefront of the Extreme E agenda. It's run by world-renowned scientists from Cambridge and Oxford Universities and advises on every aspect of the Extreme E process.

From ensuring the Legacy Programme has a genuine positive socio-environmental impact, to advising on research projects in the on-board lab, to helping shape the most sustainable logistics possible - the Scientific Committee masterminds it all. If the St. Helena is the soul of Extreme E, the Scientific Committee is - without question - the brain.

Making strides towards a gender-equal sporting world.

Extreme E is driving major change as a gender-equal motorsport series, with each team fielding one male and one female driver, racing the same cars, in the same conditions, around the same courses.

“We are striving for equality, and Extreme E’s sporting format is the truest reflection of that goal… My aim is that one day, female participation and achievement throughout motorsport will be at such a level where it simply is not a story.”

— Extreme E founder and CEO, Alejandro Agag

At SunGod, gender equality in sport has always been at the heart of our work, and the Momentum campaign is our most recent development in this space; pushing for improved female opportunities, coverage and funding in sport, in the run up to the Tour de France Femmes. Right now, women's sport is making huge progress across the board, and that’s why we’re so excited to be joined on this journey by our new partners: McLaren Extreme E.

McLaren Extreme E.

McLaren Racing’s 50 years of motorsports success has been underpinned by constant innovation. The team has a history of challenging the status quo; pushing the boundaries of the sport through technology and creative development.

This year, McLaren Racing has entered the Extreme E sphere for the very first time with a brand-new team: McLaren Extreme E. By pioneering new electric technology, McLaren Extreme E will not only rival teams on race day, but will also help inform a more sustainable future for McLaren Racing, and in turn, the motorsports industry as a whole. At SunGod, we’re excited to be a part of that progress.

First up in the McLaren Extreme E driver pairing is McLaren Racing’s first-ever female racing driver, and winner of the prestigious FIA Women in Motorsport award, Emma Gilmour. Hailing from New Zealand, where she became the first woman in history to win a round of the New Zealand Rally Championship in 2016, Emma is a force to be reckoned with behind the wheel. She is a fearless and highly skilled driver who’ll play a core role in carrying the McLaren Extreme E team to success.

“Getting to race in nail-biting competition against the world’s best drivers is a dream come true. And getting to race for a greater purpose, with men and women on equal footing, and a shared commitment to a sustainable future, is even better. I’m grateful to McLaren Racing - and likeminded partners like SunGod - for giving me the opportunity to race on the world stage, for something I care about.”

— McLaren Extreme E driver Emma Gilmour

Emma is joined by 3x US rallycross champion Tanner Foust, as well-known for his hair-raising off-track stunt driving as he is for his unrivalled track record. From world records - like the Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare, where he drove a car through a 66-foot loop-the-loop - to X Games medals, Tanner’s a legend of the motorsports world.

“I can’t wait to get out there and compete for McLaren, in something completely new - and make an impact at the same time. We’re racing for our future - thank you to everyone who is supporting us along the way.”

— McLaren Extreme E driver Tanner Foust

Backed up by a streamlined team of some of the world’s best engineers and mechanics, Emma and Tanner are guaranteed to shake things up as they lead McLaren’s entry into Extreme E in 2022.

To celebrate this partnership, we have worked with McLaren Extreme E to create the Limited Edition McLaren Extreme E Tempests™. Check them out here while stocks last.

Extreme E is the perfect example of how sport can used as a platform for change. By tackling issues we face today - in particular, climate change and gender inequality - head on, it’s creating real change in the world of sport and beyond. Here at SunGod, we’re proud to be a part of that journey.

Get your hands on a pair of carbon-neutral Extreme E sunglasses and be part of our mission to help the world see better with SunGod.

Stay tuned to McLaren Extreme E's socials this weekend at @mclarenxe. Tanner, Emma and the team will face off against their rivals in Extreme E Sardinia: Island X-Prix, as teams race to secure a cleaner future for motorsports.