Tuesday 4 April 2023

Rally - Extreme E

Extreme E, the electric off-road rallying series, is coming to Scotland. Originally rumoured to be considering an event in the Outer Hebrides, the Hydro X Prix will now take place at the former Glenmuckloch opencast coal mine site in Dumfries and Galloway on 13-14 May 2023.

The restored former coal mine is about to undergo a major transformation into a Pumped Storage Hydropower (PSH) plant and wind farm. It will provide a poignant backdrop for the sport which uses its platform to raise awareness of climate change and global solutions.

As an off-road rally series which focuses on the promotion of electric vehicles and clean energy innovations, the old mine is the perfect natural amphitheatre to showcase the industry transition from fossil fuels to clean energy futures. It will also act as an example of the important role water can play in future renewables and healthy conservation.

Alongside far flung racing destinations which have so far included Greenland, the Atacama Desert, Saudi Arabia and Senegal, the Hydro X Prix in Scotland represents an exciting return home for the sport in its third season, creating the opportunity to highlight climate issues and solutions that are not just global, but also right on our doorstep.

Catie Munnings who drives for the Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E team, said: “It’s always great to have a home event, and racing is Scotland is something I am really looking forward to. There’s always something unique about every Extreme E course but racing in a location like this which is close to home will be something special for me and the team. I've heard the track will be a combination of both fast sections on grass as well as drops into a quarry which will be really interesting to see.”

Jenson Button, JBXE Team Owner, said: “We are really looking forward to the next round of the championship in Scotland. There is such a passion for motorsport in the UK, and it is great that the series is returning to its roots once again. I’ve been lucky enough to race on UK soil many times throughout my career and those memories will always be incredibly special to me. The last time the series raced in the UK JBXE were able to pick up a podium – and so we will be aiming for similar at the Hydro X Prix.

Anna Fergusson, Estate Director of Buccleuch’s Queensberry Estate, home of Glenmuckloch said: “Hosting Extreme E is a wonderful opportunity for Buccleuch and the local community. Their commitment to the environment flows through everything they do, and using the sport to highlight local and international nature-based projects enables engagement on so many levels. For me, personally, recognising gender equality sends an incredibly positive message, which is important to recognise.”

The project, which secured funding in 2022, will enhance and aid the balancing of the UK power system, enabling the integration of more renewable generated energy into the country. 

Once constructed, the Pump Storage Hydropower plant will have the capacity to deliver 210 MW per hour, providing eight hours of storage capacity. 1MW is enough to supply the average power requirement for 2,000 homes for an hour. Utilising two 105 MW reversible hydro-turbines, the site will store power during periods of excess energy supply and release stored energy at times of peak demand. 

The wind farm will comprise of eight 4.2 MW turbines and will have the ability, via a direct connection, to power the Pump Storage Hydropower plant. 

Extreme E will also embark on a community led project to mitigate climate change effects on local salmon stocks. From the impactful re-planting of over a thousand trees to monitoring water quality and temperatures, Extreme E will focus on a long-term transformation of the River Nith area that will protect the salmon stocks so important to local industries.

Extreme E’s floating centrepiece, the St. Helena ship, which was built in Aberdeen and went on to provide a vital lifeline to the island of St Helena for over 30 years, will arrive in Glasgow in mid April to start unloading its freight and vehicles ahead of the race event.

Being a sport which takes its impact seriously, many measures are in place to keep Extreme E’s event footprint to a minimum. These measures include capping the number of team personnel and staff who can attend the event, remote working, and crucially, not having spectators on site.

The racing action will be best viewed live on STV and ITV, in the UK, over both Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 May to enable the best views.

About Extreme E:

With legendary motorsport names involved in the series including Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button, NEOM McLaren, Andretti and Carl Cox, Extreme E is a radical new racing series. Electric SUVs compete in extreme environments around the world which have already been damaged or affected by climate and environmental issues. The five-race global series highlights the impact of climate change and human interference in some of the world’s most remote locations and promotes the adoption of electric vehicles in the quest for a lower carbon future for the planet.  

To minimise local impact, Extreme E races will not be open to spectators, with fans instead invited to follow the action through live TV broadcast, and on social media. 

Pictures show:

Schoolchildren from Kelloholm Primary School with Catie Munnings (Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E) and Kevin Hansen (Veloce Racing)

Anna Fergusson, Estate Director of Buccleuch’s Queensberry Estate, with Catie Munnings and Kevin Hansen

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