All aboard: St. Helena departure marks the start of Extreme E adventure

Extreme E’s innovative floating paddock – the St. Helena – has finally set sail from Liverpool on 20 February 2021 heading for its first-ever race location, AlUla, Saudi Arabia (3-4 April). With all of the cars and equipment on-board, Veloce Racing is ready to begin the inaugural season of the pioneering off-road all-electric series.

Despite the many challenges the team has had to face in the past year – including Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic – they have powered through to get the job done under increasingly difficult circumstances.

London-based Veloce Racing has been working hard to prepare its car, drivers and team ahead of the Desert X Prix season-opener and now that the ship has set sail, focus shifts to the sands of AlUla and a historic day in modern motorsport.

Daniel Bailey, Veloce Racing CEO:

We’re all incredibly excited to see the car being loaded on to the St. Helena. The job Extreme E have done to get everything ready to set sail is absolutely incredible and it makes me proud to be part of an amazing and truly unique championship like this.

Then of course there’s Veloce, everyone in the team has made a phenomenal effort to be prepared for this season, especially in the challenging circumstances we are all facing right now its hugely impressive.

Having Jamie and Stéphane in the team is also building a lot of anticipation ahead of the 2021 season, they both have so much experience and in such a variety of different motorsport disciplines. I think we definitely have one of the most exciting line-ups on the Extreme E grid.

Its going to be amazing finally seeing the drivers going wheel-to-wheel in the desert. So much hard work has gone into the series and the team so when racing gets underway at the first event – over two years after the series launch – it’s going to be quite the spectacle!

We’ve put a lot of time into preparing as much as we possibly can for a totally unprecedented championship, everyone is going to be getting up to speed and I hope we’ll be in amongst the action from the word go.

Ian Davies, Veloce Racing Team Manager:

The close proximity to Brexit for the departure date from ART Grand Prix in France to the UK made things quite difficult! The goalpost was constantly moving for our paperwork deadlines and freight was delayed by 3 weeks. Once our car arrived in the UK it headed for Donington where Extreme E utilised Formula E’s logistical HQ and from there it went on to Swansea to be loaded onto the St. Helena.  

We’re really excited that its now departed, 12 months of work is now on the boat and out of our control. We’ve done all we can do and we’re looking forward to meeting up with the rest of the team at the other end in Saudi.

The main challenge of the first location will be that it’s the first ever Extreme E event. Understanding the format, rules and regulations will be vital as well as putting the cars, mechanics and drivers through their paces and hitting the ground running. This is a sport that’s been designed from a blank piece of paper so its all totally brand new to everyone and we need to get up to speed quickly.

From our point of view, another hurdle we have to face this year is obviously Covid-19. Travelling and quarantine is going to make things extra tricky as the rules and restrictions are changing almost daily.