Extreme E announces innovative Command Center

Extreme E command center
Extreme E

When the Extreme E Series runs its first race April 3-4 in Saudi Arabia, it will debut a unique, futuristic command center to keep viewers connected to the event.

Racing specially designed electric SUVs in an off-road, rally-style competition in five locations dotted around the globe that are most at-risk for climate change, the Extreme E Series is minimizing their carbon footprint as much as possible. One way is to race these E Prixs without fans in attendance, which heightens the need for a creative way to showcase the race.

The series has partnered with live-event production specialists ADI to create a wall of monitors that will allow the series and team managers to direct the race.

“Think F1 pit wall unpacked but turned in on itself, and we are filming from the inside,” said Westbury Gillet, Director at Aurora Media Worldwide in a release. “Each team’s principal, driver and engineer will be all together in this one room so they will be interacting.

“With the screens and lighting it will be futuristic, like a spaceship, and this will be complemented by the audio, which will be triggered at key moments. We’ve modified desks by bringing down the three monitors from the high position to a 45 degree angle along with talkback panels. There will be a LED screen wall wrapped all around, which will house different content from the race.

“We will also have LED and strip lights to light up the teams and the architecture of the structure, so for example, if a team is using HyperDrive in the race, that teams desk will light up purple. In addition, there will be multiple remote cameras and microphones capturing the teams reactions, which will be broadcast live to viewers at home.”

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ADI has been responsible for the LED and video assets at many of the UK’s sporting stadiums, including the digital wall that surrounds soccer fields. Last fall, they provided the infrastructure for a live, fully-staged drive in opera in London.

Another challenge faced by the Extreme E Series is the remoteness of the locations in which they race. After Saudi Arabia, the series heads to Senegal in May, Greenland in August, the Amazon in October and Patagonia in December.

The Command Center provides the connectivity and a futuristic look for these races, with LED screens and lighting fixtures surrounding an arc-shaped desk that hosts the five teams as they direct their drivers. Viewers will get an inside look at the strategies that go into successful completion of each team.

“We’ve been able to offer Extreme E an innovative solution to its studio brief,” said Thomas Taylor of ADI. “We’re excited to be involved in this new venture that highlights the climate change challenges we face, and provide technical production concepts for broadcast that help engage global audiences.”

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”