Extreme E will use a fan voting system to partially decide grid positions for round finals, with the most voted-for team given free choice for their grid position.
In XE’s new GridPlay concept, the crew with most votes is given free choice of grid position for the final race of the weekend should they progress successfully through one of the two semi-finals.
Should the most voted-for crew fail to make the final, said team will be allowed to give the free grid slot to a rival of their choosing.
The remaining grid slots in the final will be decided by points earned in the qualifying rounds and semi-final races.
The concept has parallels to the FanBoost system in Formula E, a series also created by XE founder Alejandro Agag, which gives the five most ‘popular’ drivers a temporary power boost of 100kJ of energy in the second half of a race.
Mattias Ekström, the 2016 World Rallycross champion and an early XE signing with the Abt team, is used to partially randomized grids from the top-level RX series, where a draw is used to determine the grid order in first qualifying.
That often has knock-on effects for the rest of a driver’s weekend, something that several drivers in World RX have voiced their displeasure about previously.
“I already love GridPlay. Unlike in World RX, where your starting position is decided by pure luck, in Extreme E the fans can make the decision,” said Ekström.
“They can get more engaged with our sport and we as drivers have to make sure to get them on our side.
“This is one of many details that makes this series so different to anything we have seen so far.”
XE’s CEO Agag explained GridPlay’s introduction was partially driven by a need to introduce more methods of fan interaction, as spectators will be banned from watching the races on-site.
“As a series, we are looking for innovative ways to engage fans, making them feel part of Extreme E, and have a voice when it comes to racing, particularly as we won’t have spectators on-site as part of our sustainability endeavors,” explained Agag.
“This makes the way we broadcast our championship even more important and people can watch the action on a variety of global channels and through our digital platforms.”
Extreme E’s five-round season is currently set to begin on January 23-24 next year, visiting Lake Retba on the outskirts of Dakar in Senegal.