Electric open-wheeler racing series, Formula E will spawn a new electric SUV race series dubbed Extreme E, indicating the kind of terrain the mooted series is expected to traverse. The new racing series is in its early stages of development and is expected to launch in 2020, according to motorsport.com, and the idea has been presented to auto manufacturers as a spec series with limited areas for development.

Parts of the programme open for development include motors and bodywork, though chassis will follow a set specification and the vehicles will resemble road-going SUV models. Recently appointed McLaren Formula 1 sporting director and winner of the 2003 Indianapolis 500 race Gil de Ferran will lead the project, with the support of Formula E CEO and founder Alejandro Agag.

“Extreme E is a project that will be operated by Formula E, which will take over the operation of that new project – the new project is still in very early stages, Agag said. “Hopefully Gil de Ferran, who is leading the project, will make an announcement soon with more details. That is all I can say,” the Formula E founder and CEO said.

“SUV is the name of the game – that’s where the big manufacturers are going and that’s where I think this will be,” said Agag on the importance of electric SUV models to road car manufacturers. Forthcoming models such as the BMW iX3, Audi e-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQ C will join the likes of the Jaguar I-Pace and the Tesla Model X.

The new electric racing series would resemble Formula E which has been in place since the second season which took place in 2015 and 2016, namely by setting strict limits on development areas and instead allowing participating teams to invest their technology in specific parts, the report said. Currently, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Audi, BMW and Nissan are confirmed for the 2019/2020 season, in a roster totalling 11 brands.

Where Extreme E will differ from the electric open-wheeler racing series is in the cars’ exterior. While Formula E continues to provide the bodywork for its 2018/2019 championship season, Extreme E will allow manufacturers to use the silhouette formula, or external bodywork resembling their road-going models.