Drivers of Chip Ganassi Racing Sara Price and Kyle LeDuc have recently received their new racecar to race in the upcoming all-electric off-road racing series – Extreme E. They will be competing in extreme environments worldwide, from the arctic glacier of Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, to the tropical rainforests of Pará Brazil. They recently went to Nevada for an initial shakedown to get familiar with the new and very yellow racecar: Odyssey 21.
Their all-electric race car is the Odyssey 21 developed by French racecar manufacturer Spark Racing Technology, which created the all-electric open-wheeled race cars in Formula E. They have designed the first all-wheel-drive all-electric off-road race car with 400 KW (550 HP) weighing 3637 lb with an estimated peak output that gets it from 0-62 MPH in just 4.5 seconds. It has a battery that was developed by Williams Advanced Engineering with a total of 860 volts.
Since Extreme E is a spec series, each team will have the same car allowing each team to start on a level playing field. The series notes that “teams will be able to test and develop their own powertrain and select areas of bodywork, such as engine cover, front and rear bumpers, side skirt, and lights in a bid to replicate everyday car models.” At the moment, CGR has not announced any partnerships with an OEM. Only 12 cars have been built thus far, and the CGR racecar is chassis #5 uses a niobium-reinforced steel alloy tubular frame and crash structure.
This racing series is racing wheel to wheel, so there is bound to be some door bashing, and since they will be racing in delicate environments, the body is a material similar to Carbon Fiber but made with Flax Seed, making it 100% biodegradable. This unique feature is small but impressive and supports the organization’s race without a trace principal.
The drivetrain utilizes two motors, one in the front and one in the back, with power going through a set of reduction gears to a mechanical diff. The giant yellow tubes in the rear allow for cooling of the battery when it is at the pit by being hooked up to a cooling fan. But during the race, the battery has enough thermal mass that at the end of the race, the battery will not have overheated.
No one is certain how rough the courses will be but what we do know is that there will be a jump, and it will be in harsh extreme environments. Whoever gets the longest jump gets an extra power boost during the race, similar to the power boost in Formula E, minus the jump. The Odyssey 21 has been outfitted with rally suspension, allowing for 13″ of wheel travel with BOS adjustable coil-overs.
Each car has to been equipped with 37″ tall Continental tires explicitly designed for Extreme E. These tires are mounted on OZ racing graphite wheels to help save weight.
The cockpit includes room for a passenger even though the driver will be racing alone. A Cosworth dash display reads many different diagnostics and data to help improve tuning. During this shakedown, the Extreme E organization limited the length they could drive but also limited the power output to 50%. Buttons on the dash are jam-packed with technology, which include torque distribution and even power steering assist adjustment.
Alejandro Agag, founder, and CEO of Formula E, said:
The Extreme E-SUV Odyssey 21 is unlike anything else in motorsport. The cutting-edge technology our industry-leading partners have employed in its design and construction has resulted in a stunning car, capable of the highest performance in the toughest and most varied environments on the planet. Extreme E’s combination of top-level sporting competition and ultra-demanding environments will also prove to be a significant research and development platform for manufacturers, driving further advancements in sustainable mobility.
Fully electric racing is inevitable with our adaption to EV, as we see in our daily lives. Just last year, over 245,000 EVs were sold in 2019, and that number is only going to increase. While off-road electric racing logistics are still being developed, we aren’t too certain what will be in store for 2021. But there is one thing that is certain that technology and engineering Chip Ganassi Racing’s Odyssey 21 is impressive. It may be their first electric race car, but they are doing everything they car to learn and fully understand its technology. Race day, they will be ready to race, and we are excited to see this car a full race mode door to door on TV.
Chassis: 2021 Spark Racing Technology Odyssey 21
Motor: 2 Electric Motors
Batteries: Williams Advanced Engineering
Tires: 37″ Continental
Wheels: 17″ OZ Rally Magnesium
Body Work: Spark Racing Technology
Suspension: 13” Suspension Travel front and rear developed by Spark Racing Technology
Shocks: BOS Adjustable Coil-over
Electronics: Spark Racing Technology