Lucas di Grassi Pours Love On Tesla Electric GT Race Car

The Electric GT development car was put through its paces last weekend by Lucas di Grassi, former Formula One driver. Di Grassi was the runner-up in Formula E last season, the racing series that features open wheel electric race cars.

Electric GT practice

Di Grassi completed 20 laps at the Vallelunga racing circuit north of Rome. He was driving the P85+ prototype, which the Electric GT series planned to use before the P100D was released by Tesla last fall. Di Grassi said after the testing that the Tesla has the potential to become the most powerful GT race car in the world.

Di Grassi has participated in the Formula E series since the beginning and is an avid supporter of the Roborace series for autonomous race cars. “As with every other new technology I want to be involved and understand what they want to achieve,” di Grassi told the press. “Formula E is very complex and exotic technology. This is a commercial product — turning a road car into a race car by adding slicks and putting the roll cage in and stripping down extra weight.”

“The car is very agile because most of the weight is at the bottom, the center of gravity is very, very low and that’s what you need on a racing car. There’s very little downforce. It’s got a rear wing and a front spoiler, but the mechanical grip is quite impressive. Pirelli has made some very soft tires.

“The problem is the car has thermal limitations. You can have a very fast car on a qualifying lap, then it goes back to nominal power for 15 or 16 laps. If you save the temperature you can peak it again. The challenge will be to drive as quickly as possible without overheating the motor.”

The P85+ development car has rear wheel drive only and a maximum power output of about 509 horsepower. For sustained racing, the P85+ would use only about half of the maximum avaiable power to avoid overheating the battery.
Di Grassi expects the P100D to have significantly more power — 784 maximum horsepower for use during qualifying laps and about 500 horsepower available during the race itself. He says he “can guarantee the new car with its properties will be as quick as a GT3 car” and thinks it will have a power to weight ratio similar to the LMP2 cars that compete in Le Mans endurance racing.

The Electric GT series will begin in August of this year and will feature 10 teams with 2 drivers each.

Source and photo credit:

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.