Ken Block recently had the exclusive opportunity to test out the Odyssey 21 off-road racer that will be used for next year’s Extreme E championship.
The vehicle, built by Spark Racing Technology, Williams Advanced Engineering, Continental Tires, and Erik Buell, was prepped and readied for its shakedown in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during the final stage of the recent Dakar Rally.
Thanks to a generous battery pack and electric motors, the Odyssey 21 delivers 550 hp and 750 lb-ft (1,016 Nm) of torque and can accelerate to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 4.5 seconds. Considering how big the vehicle is, that frightening acceleration is seriously impressive.
During his drive, Block pushed the Odyssey 21 to its absolute limits and seemed particularly fond of how the handbrake has been incorporated into a paddle on the rear of the steering wheel.
“It was nice to finally get this thing up to speed,” Block said after his first drive in the off-roader. “I love how aggressive you can be and move it under braking. I’m so used to the combustion engine where you’re trying to build up the turbo boost, where this is so instant in putting the power down, it’s a lot sooner than I’d think. For me, it’s incredibly fun, but it’s just a matter of adapting my calibrations to what this thing is capable of. It’s all a bit new to me.”
The Extreme E championship will kick off in Lac Rose, Senegal between January 22 and 24, 2021. Subsequent rounds will be held in Sharaan, Al-‘Ula, Saudi Arabia as well as the Kali Gandaki Valley of Nepal, Kangerlussuaq in Greenland, and the Amazon Rainforest in Santarem, Brazil. These locations were all selected to highlight the impacts of climate change.