Electric GT World Series: new all-electric race circuit using Tesla Model S’s

p85+

Building on the relative success of the Formula E, a long-time rumoured electric GT race circuit has been confirmed this week via Transport Evolved. Electric GT World Series is said to be the world’s first all-electric GT championship and it will launch its first race season next year with 10 teams all racing with their own Tesla Model S P85+.

The new championship shared a few details about the new GT race circuit.

Technical Director for Electric GT Holdings Agustin Payá explained why the organisation chose the Model S:

“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.”

Though it’s not entirely clear why they chose the P85+ version, which has been discontinued for a while now with several higher performance versions including the P85D, P85DL, P90D and P90DL, and by the time the first season starts next year, it is likely Tesla will even offer a new P100D-P100DL, which would probably make 6 higher-end stock versions available over the one for GT racing.

Payá gave an explanation to Transport Evolved:

“It’s all down to the car’s suitability for racing, says Payá. Rear-wheel drive cars have traditionally been preferred for track racing for many reasons ranging from driver preference through to better cornering characteristics and weight distribution. In the case of the rear-wheel versus all-wheel drive, there’s a whole lot less complexity to deal with when it comes to quick repairs and maintenance.”

They plan to make only small changes to the production car:

“For this we count on one of the best world-class race preparation teams. 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. The rest — powertrain, battery, programming — everything is original.”

The car is already been tested in Spain:

“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.”

Electric GT Holdings claims to have secured the support of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) though is not yet officially recognized by the organisation. The championship is reportedly negotiating dates for races at “Barcelona-Catalunya, Donnington Park, Mugello, Nürburgring, Assen, Estoril and Madrid Jarama”, and it plans to announce the official race calendar later this year. Though they only plan to use the Model S during the first year, the organization says that more models could join in the future.

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Comments

  1. Tom - 7 years ago

    I was under the impression that the electric power systems could not cope with prolonged heavy use for some reason or other – the battery, or maybe the motors getting too hot? It’s tricky electrically isolating components and simultaneously keeping them cool.

    Either way, I suspect this will take years off their car, as well as voiding their warranties, as racing useage is a specific exclusionary clause in it.

    • Nathanael - 7 years ago

      Well, sure, but these are specifically being bought as racing cars for the racing circuit. So they don’t give a damn about the warranties or the lifetime of the car. What’s the last time you drove a 10-year-old NASCAR car down the street? Never, right?

  2. MorinMoss - 7 years ago

    Nitpick – it’s Transport Evolved, not TransportEvoled ( you’re missing a “v”)

  3. freedomev - 7 years ago

    Great idea and a lot lower cost than other race cars. And they can go back to being regular cars after their racing is done. And a good source for batteries from all the wrecks.

  4. James Rowland - 7 years ago

    I have to agree with Tom here. Model S has fantastic suspension and weight distribution, but heat build-up limits sustained power to be much lower than peak power. It typically gets throttled to about half after ~90s flat out and a quarter after less than nine minutes. That’d be a really boring and anticlimactic race.

    Heat output in the battery is prolific at maximum power, but they actually have a very effective system of liquid cooling jackets there. The inverters are very well cooled too, and the stators can dump their heat into the motor casing. It’s actually rotor heat that limits sustained power.

    Tesla’s already liquid cooled the rotor via a double wall shaft. I don’t see this racing series working out unless they can profoundly improve on Tesla’s solution somehow.

    • MorinMoss - 7 years ago

      Then electric performance sedans aren’t going to match ICE or hybrid any time soon, if the cooling is such a difficult problem.
      Tesla should be able to issue a software patch to allow drivers to completely disable regen, which causes extra heating under track conditions.

      • James Rowland - 7 years ago

        Regen on “low” is recommended on the track. It does make some difference, but not a huge one.

    • Rikaishi - 7 years ago

      I don’t quite understand why heat is such a problem for electrics, given that ICEs produce far more waste heat to achieve the same power output. Are electric motors just much less tolerant to heat buildup?

      • James Rowland - 7 years ago

        It’s hard to get heat out of the rotor of an induction motor. There are other kinds of motor though.

        Induction’s probably the best choice for road cars; variable magnetic flux from the rotor means eddy current losses while cruising can be low while still allowing for extreme bursts of power. It’s not the best trade-off for racing, though.

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