For decades, World Rally Championship and Dakar Rally teams have used the easily accessible Chateau de Lastours facility in the South of France as the roughest of proving grounds to put fledgling competition creations through their paces. Think Ford Focus WRC, Hyundai i20 WRC and Peugeot 2008 DKR to name but a few. Those machines have gone on to succeed in some of the harshest terrains on the planet, after first going through this very development school.
It's therefore fitting that the major initial running of the new ODYSSEY 21 E-SUV - the spec car that will be campaigned in the nascent all-electric Extreme E off-road racing championship - has been undertaken on those same gravel roads.
The inaugural 2021 XE calendar will visit five locations: Saudi Arabia (Desert X-Prix), Senegal (Ocean X-Prix), Greenland (Arctic X-Prix), Brazil (Amazon X-Prix) and Argentina (Glacier X-Prix). Each type of terrain will pose challenges that cannot be exactly mirrored, and each round will mark some of the most remote top-flight races ever held. It's all part of XE's bid to highlight areas that have been hit hardest by the climate crisis. So, the chateau's roads have been put to use to plan for as many eventualities as possible.