A new electric car racing series was announced this week. The brainchild of Spanish racing driver Agustin Payá, the Electric GT World Series will be patterned after Formula E, the racing series for electric open wheel race cars. The new series has already won support from the FIA, the international motorsports sanctioning body based in Paris.
Like Formula E, the series will run at venues in Asia, North America, and Europe. Unlike Formula E, however, it will use real race tracks, not temporary street circuits. It has already started talking to such historic racing venues as Catalunya, Donnington Park, Mugello, Nürburgring, Assen, Estoril and Jarama. These are names long time Formula One fans have fond memories of. In fact, just recently, former Formula One driver Mark Webber said, “I would rather do 10 laps at Mugello than 1000 in Abu Dhabi.”
Formula E has some serious limitations for real race fans. It uses 28 kWh batteries that can only maintain race speeds for about 25 minutes. Then the racers have to come in and change into another car with a full battery to complete the race. That won’t be a problem in Electric GT competition. The series has named the Tesla Model S P85+ as the only electric car eligible for competition, at least in the beginning. With its 85 kWh battery, it should be able to complete an entire race without recharging.
Augustin Payá tells Transport Evolved, “It is the best zero emissions car on the road capable of racing on world class circuits in the GT category. In its production version, it accelerates faster and provides better lap times than many combustion GT cars. We chose the Tesla Model S simply because it is one of the best cars ever made, and certainly one of the best 100% electric cars. We are convinced that sharing its impressive circuit racing potential will help to inspire many people about sustainable transport.”
He goes on to say, “We have been testing the car already on the Barcelona Catalunya F1 Circuit as well as the legendary Madrid Jarama circuit, both of which are being used as test and operations centers. The car’s handling is sensational. No one could imagine that the production version of this 100% electric car would be capable of handling the circuit so well and go so fast and so far.”
How will the race cars be different than the production cars? “We are making only small changes to the production Model S P85+ such as improved braking and aerodynamics to increase high speed grip. We will strengthen suspension, braking cooling and steering as well as reducing overall weight,” Payá explains. “The rest — powertrain, battery, programming — everything is original.” Presumably, the teams will have access to Tesla’s closely guarded repair manuals to keep the cars running.
Like Formula E, the series hopes to have 10 two car teams. It is scheduled to begin in 2017. While the Model S will be the only car to start with, the promoters envision other manufacturers will want to get involved. Ultimately, they say the Electric GT World Series will be a celebration of all the high powered electric production supercars of the world.
What is it like to drive a Model S on a real race track instead of just in a straight line? Check out this video of Teslarati’s #48 racer at Laguna Seca.