March 16, 2023
NEOM's Red Sea setting welcomes Desert X-Prix competition
- Extreme E staged its second edition of the Desert X-Prix in NEOM, featuring multiple former world champion drivers
- Organizers say that hosting Desert X-Prix will further position NEOM as an innovative hub for global sport
NEOM, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, March 16, 2023 – Extreme E, the global electric off-road racing series, has provided the perfect opportunity for NEOM to showcase its ability to host major international sporting events.
Staging its second edition of the Desert X-Prix in NEOM over the weekend, the Extreme E race saw 20 world-class drivers from ten teams - including former world champions - compete against the NEOM region’s spectacular backdrop.
Hosted next to the Red Sea coastline, the race took place close to the location of the 2022 NEOM Beach Games, which saw the participation of over 300 athletes from 25 countries. Successfully navigating the course’s challenging terrain, Kevin Hansen and Molly Taylor of Veloce Racing secured victory in the first race on Saturday, while Mattias Ekström and Laia Sanz of Sainz XE Team took top honors in Sunday’s second race.
Hosting international sports events like Extreme E supports NEOM’s ambition to become an innovative destination for global sport. Extreme E not only features world-class drivers, but it also takes a restorative approach to event management. The series typically holds its races in locations threatened by climate change and aims to raise awareness of the issues faced in each region, with the goal of leaving a positive legacy.
NEOM has an existing rewilding program to regenerate its region’s ecosystem, with the activity helping to nurture existing species and reintroduce locally extinct species. As part of the program, the NEOM Nature Region team reintroduced Arabian sand gazelles and Arabian oryx to their natural habitat in the run-up to the Desert X-Prix.
Managing Director of NEOM Sport, Jan Paterson, said: “Hosting a world-class event such as Extreme E for the second successive year is a testament to NEOM's commitment to sustainable sport. We are thrilled to have the world’s best drivers and teams compete in NEOM’s unique landscape.”
Alejandro Agag, CEO and Founder of Extreme E, said: “We couldn't have asked for a better location to open the season than NEOM. The teams and drivers had an incredible time racing in such spectacular terrain. The Desert X-Prix proved to be another great success, and while we still have plenty of racing to do this season, we’re already looking forward to returning next year.’’
NEOM’s support for the development of Extreme E is rooted in a shared belief that technology is the essential underpinning of a sustainable future. Extreme E is also a part of NEOM's vision to build a high-performance ecosystem that attracts the world’s best events and athletes, using sport to drive sustainability and diversity, all while creating a positive social impact.