As FIA’s Extreme E wraps up 2022 and prepares for Season 3 in 2023, the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme‘s version will kick off its maiden season that same year.
The FIM E-Xplorer World Cup will début in 2023 with a six-race calendar in various parts of the world beginning in Barcelona on 13 May. The series uses electric all-terrain motorbikes that are capable of competing in off-road and urban environments.
“I am so pleased to share the inaugural calendar of the FIM E-Xplorer World Cup,” stated series co-founder Carina Munte. “The fact that we will be able to bring the thrill of electric bikes to fans across the world and showcase the skills of these incredible female and male riders makes me very proud. We are excited to work with the FIM, the teams, the riders and our local partners to deliver exceptional events and take this new discipline to huge heights.”
Besides the electric aspect, the E-Xplorer World Cup will take a page from Extreme E by fielding twelve teams with a male and female rider each. This equal-gender approach, an effort to close the gap between men and women in a male-dominated sport, has also been employed by CE Dealer Team in the fellow electric series FIA World Rallycross Championship.
“E-Xplorer is part of the electric motorsport revolution and will lead the electric two-wheel industry development, the same way we did with the four-wheel industry with Formula E,” said Extreme E founder Alejandro Agag. “The fact that the inaugural season will feature six races on three continents proves that it is a global sport that will bring the excitement of electric motorcycling to fans all over the world. I am very proud to be involved with E-Xplorer, a championship that stands for gender equality, innovation, exciting racing and sustainability.”
Weekends will be conducted in a best-of-three elimination bracket format, with qualifying to set the seeding. Each race is head-to-head with riders racing in opposite lanes, and a rider switch takes place at the halfway point. The winning team in two out of three races advances to the next round. If a bike is damaged, teams can switch to a backup between races.
The bracket has five rounds. Round #1 contains six heats, followed by the three-heat Round #2 and the two-heat semi-final Round #3. Teams that are eliminated after the second round can still make the semi-final via the Last Chance Qualifier, which consists of setting the best time within three minutes. While the top two teams compete in the Final, a “Small Final” is run concurrently to determine third place.
At the end of each meeting, the winning team earns 25 points while runner-up receives 20. The Small Final winner and loser get 16 and 13, respectively. The second- and third-best teams in the LCQ earn 11 and 10, while everyone else is given one fewer point in descending order based on their fastest time in Round #1. In the event of a tie, the team with the best finish in the most recent race has the edge, while tiebreakers in the final standings go to whoever has the most wins, second-place finishes, and so on.
The tracks are no more than one kilometre in length and feature elements such as jumps, rocks, and even stairs if located in an urban area. Certain spots might require traversing on foot while pushing the bike.
Two teams have already confirmed their entries for the inaugural season as James Stewart and Robbie Maddison respectively lead Seven Racing and Maddwill Racing. Stewart is a two-time FIM Supercross World Champion while Maddison is an X Games medalist and stunt performer.
The E-Xplorer World Cup is the second championship established by the FIM for 2023 alongside the Sand Races World Cup. While Sand Races is to be overseen by the FIM Cross Country Commission, who has jurisdiction over the World Rally-Raid Championship and Bajas World Cup, E-Xplorer will have its own commission.
2023 E-Xplorer World Cup schedule
|4||TBA||United States||9 September|
|5||Busan||South Korea||28 October|