A location in the Brazilian state of Para has been chosen to host the Amazon rainforest round of Extreme E in 2021, the pioneering off-road electric racing series revealed on Wednesday.
Extreme E’s founder and CEO Alejandro Agag visited the site this week and finalized plans for the series to visit Santarem as the second confirmed location after Greenland.
Santarem is located on the confluence between the Amazon and Tapajos rivers, in the north of Brazil, and around 500 miles from the two largest cities in the Brazilian Amazon: Manaus and Belem.
“I am delighted that we will be heading to the Amazon in Season One,” said Agag.
“Extreme E aims to use its position as a world-class, revolutionary sport as a tool to shine a spotlight on the problems facing our planet and its unique ecosystems – and there are few more relevant locations in that regard than the Amazon.
“A number of issues affect the long-term health of the rainforest here, with deforestation and wildfires among the most topical, and pressing, at this moment in time.
“I was actually in this precise location just one month ago where we saw pristine forests, which have now been decimated by fire – which has personally brought home the shocking extent of the situation facing the Amazon.
“Our race will take place in the region of Santarem in the state of Para, which has already been deforested and severely impacted by fire damage.
“Our goal is to provide support, not only to dedicated professional firefighters but also the local residents, who lack off-road vehicles, specialist equipment and training as they strive to control the situation and protect their land.
“With the support of independent experts who know the region and its pressures inside-out, we will bring a sport for purpose to the Amazon; heightening awareness, and leaving behind a positive legacy which supports the region’s on-going environmental protection efforts.
“In the Amazon, these efforts will involve planting and protecting an area the same size as the race location, every year of the championship.
“Extreme E will also support the volunteer firefighters working in the region to ensure they have the training and equipment necessary to safely and effectively continue to perform the amazing work they are already doing.
“We also plan to open up a worldwide system, to invite motorsport fans to contribute to additional replanting efforts and support our legacy program.”
Three further events are being scouted in the Himalayas, desert and a coastal ocean location to raise awareness of issues including deforestation, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, desertification and plastic pollution.
“Tropical forest loss presents one of the greatest global challenges of our time and Brazil is at the centre of this challenge,” commented Francisco Oliveira, a leading Brazilian conservation expert.
“The issues facing the Amazon are well documented and it is now time to concentrate on the solutions that can balance forest conservation and the sustainable development of the region.
“I was intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E’s plans to use sport as a vehicle for climate action in the Amazon.
“This century needs to become the generation for ecosystem restoration, and I believe this electric race series offers an innovative way to build awareness amongst new audiences and inspire positive action for the protection and future health of the Amazon, and the planet.
“I look forward to assisting the Extreme E organizers and will provide advice to ensure the series’ conservation goals are supported in a responsible and effective manner.”