Cars

Extreme E: The black gold of Extreme E

She is the queen of the desert, but this terrain is extreme even for Dakar winner Jutta Kleinschmidt (49 / Abt-Cupra)!

At the Extreme E Island XPrix in Sardinia, the German is racing this weekend on a military site in Sardinia together with her teammate Mattias Ekström (43) against climate change and for victory.

But this time it does not go through the desert of Saudi Arabia or Senegal and also not past the largest glacier in Greenland, this time it is driven on rock-hard ground. The NATO military training area in the southwest of the Mediterranean island consists of a rocky subsoil, a loose layer of sand above it, various bushes and two moats. The almost eight-kilometer circuit is considered the most technically demanding route of the year.

“The biggest problem is the hidden bumps in the road,” says Kleinschmidt. “And if it rains, the sand quickly turns to mud and we drive on black ice.”

The XPrix therefore also poses a special challenge for the tires. Continental has increased the air pressure accordingly from 1.5 to 1.8 bar. Nevertheless, the 37 incher has to endure a lot.

Continental develops and produces the standard rollers for the Extreme E.

An extreme race needs extreme tires! And they come from Germany. The rollers are developed at Continental in Hanover and produced in the USA (Michigan).

The black gold of the Extreme E is based on the CrossContact off-road tire. “Due to the sustainability concept of Extreme E, we had to build a tire for five different locations – with very different surfaces: deep sand, rocks, water,” explains Catarina Silva, Continental project manager for Extreme E. Conditions: Sometimes it’s scorching heat, sometimes freezing cold. ”With a small team from Lower Saxony, she is on site at every race.

The challenge of developing racing tires for up to 544 hp electric all-wheel drive vehicles in the shortest possible time was great. Silva: “The car is so special that we couldn’t test it with normal SUVs. The torque is extreme (920 Nm, d.Red.). This is one of the reasons why we use special aluminum rims that are attached to the tire bead. “
Background: In the pre-season test, there was a rotation of 40 centimeters on the rim because of the torque. Ergo, the tires had to be clamped so tightly that they could no longer move on the rim.

The next challenge: There are six tires available per car and race. All rubbers were produced before the season started and stored on the Extreme-E-ship St. Helena. “That means that we had our first major test in Saudi Arabia when all the tires were already loaded,” explains Catarina Silva. “Fortunately, we did everything right and didn’t need any subsequent changes.”

The sheer size of the black rollers alone is impressive.

The fact is: the sheer size of the black rollers alone is impressive. The data: 34 kilos each, 37 inches in diameter, 31.75 inches in width, 13.9 millimeters in tread depth. Catarina Silva: “It’s a mixture of truck and SUV tires because the vehicle weighs 1650 kilos. We have also developed a special compound and profile so that we have enough grip, traction and durability for every temperature and every surface. “

A car covers an average of 70-100 kilometers per race weekend. The tires still look like new afterwards. “At the Dakar, a team needs more tires for a race than we do for a whole championship,” calculates Catarina Silva.

On Sunday, the rubber cocktail at the XPrix in Sardinia can also be admired on TV. ProSieben Maxx will broadcast from 4 p.m. Today (Saturday) the qualifying will be broadcast on ran.de.

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