The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and the all-electric SUV motor racing series Extreme E have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding setting out a framework to create the first hydrogen off-road racing world championship, Extreme H.

The signing marks the first step towards Extreme H becoming an FIA Championship in its first season in 2025, with it currently being an FIA International Series. If it meets the necessary criteria it will become an FIA World Championship from 2026 joining the seven other official FIA World Championships, including the FIA Formula E World Championship.

The project’s inception was in 2021, while the plans were announced in February 2022. Development of the series is underway, with plans to have a prototype launched later this year ahead of the inaugural 2025 season.

Alejandro Agag, founder and chief executive of Extreme E, said: “Establishing alongside the FIA a world-first hydrogen racing world championship will be a momentous milestone for Extreme E and the new Extreme H series.

“Eventual accreditation as an FIA Championship and then an FIA World Championship means we would be amongst the top tier of global motorsport categories, and Extreme H would be the first-ever world championship racing series of its kind.

“What started as a conversation many years ago about racing in extreme environments, showcasing the incredible performance and innovation of E-SUVs, has now demonstrated enormous growth and further pioneering technical advances as we move forward with the transition to hydrogen and Extreme H, a world-first.

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“This announcement is a significant first step in the development of our championship and our ground-breaking transition to hydrogen-powered racing.

“I’d like to thank the president and the FIA for their continued support and recognition of our ambition to create a world-first for motor racing. Expect to see yet more exciting racing out on course, as well as further pushing the boundaries of new technologies in the race to tackle climate issues.”

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of the FIA, added: “We are excited to continue working with Extreme E on their journey to becoming an FIA World Championship. Using sustainable power sources in motorsport is the key objective of the FIA and part of our long-term strategy, and this series is an ideal showcase for that.

“Hydrogen is an important part of that mix, and we have developed a set of safety regulations for hydrogen-powered vehicles which is part of the FIA’s International Sporting Code.

“It is encouraging that such a major motor sport entity as Extreme E with its renowned line-up of teams sees the same potential in hydrogen technology. Their approach to equality and diversity matches ours as we push to make motorsport accessible for all.

“Motor sport competition serves as an excellent research and development platform and this new series has great potential.

“Having the technology tested in the harsh environment of off-road racing in all types of conditions should benefit the whole industry, and in the longer term make mobility more environmentally friendly for everyday users of the road. We are looking forward to working with Extreme E, sharing our know-how and expertise.”

Last month, Technology giant Siemens and renewable solutions provider GeoPura were brought on board by Extreme E to consult on the development of the car for Extreme H.

In June, Extreme E hired Mark Grain in the newly created role of technical director, with his remit to include a significant focus on the development of Extreme H.

Extreme E’s Ali Russell discusses the launch, the logistics, and the purpose of the series.