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Electric Racing Academy (ERA): New venture for 2020?


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#1 Vielleicht

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 08:02

Stumbled across this one this morning. Seemed to go public yesterday.
 
https://erachampionship.com/
 
Seems to want to be a European entry level EV single seater series for both young drivers and engineering teams starting summer 2020.
 
Plan would appear to be:
 
Technical
Formula 4 Chassis (Dome Ltd.)
130kW (175 hp)
190km/h top speed
24 kWh battery pack
 
Format
8 races over 4 double-header weekends at circuits in Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.
20 minute practice

Quali Session 1 — 15 mins
Quali Session 2 — 15 mins

Race 1 — 23 mins

Race 2 — 23 mins

 

Two classes

Sports Class - for young drivers.

     -  A ready to race vehicle forming a spec drivers championship

Innovation Class - for engineering teams

     - Supplied with a rolling chassis

     - Develop own power train, energy storage and 'man-machine interface' package
 
53349946_2245688709025567_32031150036620

 

Press Release: https://erachampions...neLjDo2jiGl8-vk

 

ERA Championship Technical& Business Director, Dieter Vanswijgenhoven said, “It is our goal with ERA Championship to launch an accessible electric racing platform, that creates opportunities for up-and-coming drivers, whilst also inspiring technical innovation on track. Alongside our partners Dome we are able to achieve our innovation and accessibility goals, and are highly anticipating the reveal of our car this Summer.”

 

Who's behind it?

ERA Championship is part of Belgium-based motorsport group The Driving Force, with headquarters in Zonhoven.Established in 1993, the group is home to a wealth of motorsport experience including the official BMW Motorrad Factory Race Team, Porsche-works backed sportscar racing team Prospeed Competition, and as organisers of the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux.The Driving Force saw a group turnover of almost €10 million in 2018.

 

So, is there a place for this? How does it fit in with Agag's supposed exclusivity contract with the FIA? Could become a feed in of young talent (driving and engineering) for Formula E or other electric series? Is it just a pipe dream? What EV racing really needs in the long run?

 

I'm intrigued.


Edited by Vielleicht, 29 March 2019 - 08:10.


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#2 Ben1445

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 10:15

Certainly sounds like it's something that should exist. Will be interesting to see how this pans out. 

 

In regards to Agag's exclusivity deal, I think it's been said a few times that it only applies to series which want to race under the FIA  and even then it basically just means that if someone does want to do that they have to get Formula E's permission first. I could see Formula E green lighting this if such a situation arose if it intends to be sit below Formula E in performance as a talent/tech feeder for driver and engineers into EV racing. 

 

Might be interesting for the fans of purist tech-driven racing too, but that's a relatively limited pool. 



#3 Ben1445

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 20:37

Screen-Shot-2019-03-29-at-20-35-23.png



#4 jonpollak

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 21:11

I guess these F-e drivers have to come from somewhere!
Jp

#5 Fatgadget

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 21:17

I guess these F-e drivers have to come from somewhere!
Jp

 F1 rejects please take note.



#6 Ben1445

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 22:28

I think the class with technical freedom is the interesting bit. Electric entries to Formula Student have been quite innovative in recent years, would be interesting to see it take a step up the ladder.

#7 Vielleicht

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 16:48

If electric motorsport really is to be the future of motorsport then it will certainly have to work its way into the junior ladder as well.



#8 BRG

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 17:39

The bit that I like is :

 

Format
8 races over 4 double-header weekends at circuits in Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.

 

At last, e-racing on proper race tracks?  Might start to make FE's street circuits look a bit Michael Mouse (which they are)



#9 Vielleicht

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 17:56

The bit that I like is :

 

Format
8 races over 4 double-header weekends at circuits in Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.

 

At last, e-racing on proper race tracks?  Might start to make FE's street circuits look a bit Michael Mouse (which they are)

I thought you would!

 

Personally I do like this idea. It is a more practical, traditional way to go about it. It's not intending to make a global splash in the way FE has done - it's about developing driving and engineering know how to feed into top level EV racing (wherever that may be). That will undoubtedly at the same time interest some for whom FE is not their cup of tea.

 

In regards to Agag's exclusivity deal, I think it's been said a few times that it only applies to series which want to race under the FIA  and even then it basically just means that if someone does want to do that they have to get Formula E's permission first. I could see Formula E green lighting this if such a situation arose if it intends to be sit below Formula E in performance as a talent/tech feeder for driver and engineers into EV racing.

I do think at this stage it would be good to have and it would be wise for FE to try and build a symbiotic relationship with them if possible.



#10 Vielleicht

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 14:37

This ERA lot on twitter have asked design students to come up with how they think the ERA bodywork should look on the F4 chassis.

 

They range from pretty implausible to very possible.

 

Full thread here: https://twitter.com/...956417658331136

 

A selection

D3yjSCtXkAEE5Gd.jpg

D3yj-FDXoAAPt6P.jpg

D3ynfDNWsAAE7OP.jpg

 

D3yrCVTW4AA3GS2.jpg



#11 Clatter

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 15:04

Stumbled across this one this morning. Seemed to go public yesterday.

https://erachampionship.com/

Seems to want to be a European entry level EV single seater series for both young drivers and engineering teams starting summer 2020.

Plan would appear to be:

Technical
Formula 4 Chassis (Dome Ltd.)
130kW (175 hp)
190km/h top speed
24 kWh battery pack

Format
8 races over 4 double-header weekends at circuits in Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.
20 minute practice

Quali Session 1 — 15 mins
Quali Session 2 — 15 mins
Race 1 — 23 mins
Race 2 — 23 mins

Two classes
Sports Class - for young drivers.
- A ready to race vehicle forming a spec drivers championship
Innovation Class - for engineering teams
- Supplied with a rolling chassis
- Develop own power train, energy storage and 'man-machine interface' package

53349946_2245688709025567_32031150036620

Press Release: https://erachampions...neLjDo2jiGl8-vk


Who's behind it?

So, is there a place for this? How does it fit in with Agag's supposed exclusivity contract with the FIA? Could become a feed in of young talent (driving and engineering) for Formula E or other electric series? Is it just a pipe dream? What EV racing really needs in the long run?

I'm intrigued.

Is that going to be FIA sanctioned? Thought FE had the sole rights to single seat EV racing.

#12 Vielleicht

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 16:00

Is that going to be FIA sanctioned? Thought FE had the sole rights to single seat EV racing.

I am not entirely sure and FE, as far as I am aware, basically have more of a veto on other electric single seater FIA series than outright sole rights for 25 years.

 

I expect them to run it under a different, local local governing body like the MSA, KNAF or ADAC.... unless they make an agreement with Formula E to be an FIA series and have some sort of symbiotic relationship as a tech/talent feeder.



#13 Clatter

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 17:18

I am not entirely sure and FE, as far as I am aware, basically have more of a veto on other electric single seater FIA series than outright sole rights for 25 years.

I expect them to run it under a different, local local governing body like the MSA, KNAF or ADAC.... unless they make an agreement with Formula E to be an FIA series and have some sort of symbiotic relationship as a tech/talent feeder.

Veto is basically the same as sole rights. But I've no idea what the details are. Does it cover lower series or only prevent competition from F1? And of course it only affects FIA sanctioning.

#14 Vielleicht

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 18:17

Veto is basically the same as sole rights. But I've no idea what the details are. Does it cover lower series or only prevent competition from F1? And of course it only affects FIA sanctioning.

All we really know is that this ERA Championship doesn't appear to have announced a sanctioning body as of yet. The group behind it ran the Porsche Cup Benelux and I believe they did so through the KNAF, so it's likely they may do something similar here as well. We may just have to wait and see.

 

Whatever contract Agag has with the FIA has only been seen by those to whom it directly concerns, so we only have vague insight from numerous news reports. What we know so far is:

- It is a 25 year (2014-2039) exclusivity as an electrically powered single-seater FIA series

- That it covers any vehicle where all the propulsive power delivered to the wheels is from an electric motor

- That it so follows to include hydrogen fuel cells (or presumably any on board generator of electricity)

- That Agag is open to negotiate his position regarding this contract with anyone who comes with some sort of offer as to why they should be allowed to run single seat EVs with the FIA (a large bundle of cash springs to mind - though I'd imagine a support/junior/feeder series would be more obvious grounds for such discussions).

 

That's all I know at the moment anyway.


Edited by Vielleicht, 10 April 2019 - 18:18.


#15 Vielleicht

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 15:55

Screenshot-2019-05-13-at-16-52-33.png



#16 Vielleicht

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 17:53

DevCar. Pretty standard.

D8hygpGW4AEo1qP.jpg



#17 BRG

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 18:55

DevCar. Pretty standard.

 

Very standard.  

 

In fact, they don't seem to have made any changes from a regular ICE car.  Why would it need those huge cooling intakes?  I know batteries get hot, but surely not that hot?  And what is under that engine cover?  An electric motor won't take up even a third of all that space.  Presumably batteries are low down in the sidepods?  

 

Maybe they are deliberately making it look the same as other F3/4 cars to sooth the easily upset traditionalists?   ;)



#18 PayasYouRace

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 19:04

It's what I call the Prius Effect. I'm convinced that Toyota set back the acceptance of hybrids on the roads by making the Prius look like a cheap prop from a 80s sci-fi film set in the early 2000s. So it only appealed to hipster types that wanted to advertise themselves as being different. They could have put that same drivetrain technology in a Corolla body and I'm sure the technology would have been accepted more readily because you could have it in a normal looking car. I myself have just bought a hybrid Lexus, and part of why I'm happy to drive it is because other than a little "Hybrid" label below the doors, you'd never tell it apart from any other sports saloon.

 

Same thing here. FE is doing that hipster thing, making themselves look as different as possible to ICE based racing, including having a crazy (if still good looking) car. This is normal looking, so it should be easier to accept by the traditionalists that plague the motor racing fandom.



#19 Vielleicht

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 19:13

If their aim is in fact to be pretty low level trainig ground for drivers and engineers in electric racing and not worry too much about getting  eyeballs on the the cars other than for those who may happen to be circuit, there is really zero need for flashy, marketing driven looks.

 

This is the kind of series I'd like to watch and have a wander around the open paddock for whilst at the track for a bigger regional series and natter with any engineers or drivers who would be willing. Not so much tune into a broadcast necessarily.

 

 

It's what I call the Prius Effect. [...]

In a similar-ish way, I have wondered from time to time what would have happened if hybrid tech in road cars had first been launched in performance/sports cars rather than in a weird looking saloon car.



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#20 Vielleicht

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Posted 04 October 2019 - 07:16

ERA has announced Zolder as their 'Home' (a bit like how Donnington was for FE) with testing an development taking place at the track before (if all goes to plan) some racing in the summer of 2020

Link



#21 Vielleicht

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 14:57

ERA Aiming to Fill Gap for Electric Junior Single-Seaters
https://e-racing365....single-seaters/
 

Some cost details included:

Season One entries in the standard Sports class are priced at €100,000 ($111,000), with the Innovation category, which allows teams to develop specific parts of their powertrain, will cost €70,000 ($78,000).

“In both cases, you own the car, so the second season will obviously be a lot cheaper than that,” Vanswijgenhoven explains.

“We’re on the cheaper side of Formula 4. What you hear a lot is that motorsport keeps getting more and more expensive, and less people are able to do it.

“This kind of defeats the point for us, for an entry level series. If you want to get a lot of people into electric cars, it’s obviously important to make it affordable.



#22 Ben1445

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 15:36

How much does ICE F4 typically cost? Does anyone know? 



#23 BRG

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 15:38

If it is substantially cheaper than current F3 or 4, it might be a very good thing, if only to drive down costs on those series.  Nothing like a bit of competition to cut prices!



#24 balage06

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 16:10

To be honest, I feel that this is a bit premature. Who wants to drive electric racecars exclusively nowadays? I think even most FE drivers wouldn't do that, not to mention aspiring young talents...


Edited by balage06, 06 January 2020 - 16:10.


#25 Ben1445

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 16:32

I think now there's FE as a very professional, well paid career option and the youth of today and of future inevitably care more about sustainability... there might be a market in waiting. But I think it needs nurturing and coaxing into existence. I wouldn't say that there's a load of young drivers knocking at the door eager for this to happen, but how much of that is simply because nothing like it exists yet? There's also the small race teams to think about - who many of the F4/F4 level teams might want to expand out to developing skills in running EV powertrains? This is a good place to do it. 

 

The real clincher will be if it genuinely is cheaper to buy a seat/run a team than its ICE equivalents. That way you'll probably attract drivers anyway, even if they're not the créme de la créme of junior racing, and it has some hope of growth. The cheaper it is the easier time it will have, I think. 

 

To be honest, I feel that this is a bit premature. Who wants to drive electric racecars exclusively nowadays? I think even most FE drivers wouldn't do that, not to mention aspiring young talents...

 

Some of them already do. Andre Lotterer (of all people!) has stopped Super Formula and WEC and is just signed up for FE at the minute...put is name down as interested in Extreme E as well. Electric racing obviously can't be that bad... 



#26 Beri

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 17:15

I think having a dedicated electric racing career is something a (future) driver would want to consider. As long as there is bread to be earned and the calendar of races participating by said driver is lasting at least 8 months.
Lotterer is a good example, because Formula E already hosts 14 races over 12 events. Spreading about 7 months in total. Drivers, at one point, would have to dedicate themselves to Formula E if the calendar increases. Lotterer is the first one doing so.

#27 Vielleicht

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 20:36

How much does ICE F4 typically cost? Does anyone know? 

I've had a look but am alas none the wiser.

 

Given that it's a standard F4 chassis anyway and the powertrains require less maintenence and shouldn't be more expensive to begin with... it should be indeed be on the lwo end of normal F4. In theory anyway.

 

Some of them already do. Andre Lotterer (of all people!) has stopped Super Formula and WEC and is just signed up for FE at the minute...put is name down as interested in Extreme E as well. Electric racing obviously can't be that bad... 

Yeah, funny that one. Andre was one of the FE critics early on and now he looks like he's as eager to conquer it as anyone.



#28 Widefoot2

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 11:12

I really like the idea of an innovation class, the ability to explore the limits of batteries, controls, and motors should be really appealing to a lot of companies and universities.  This aspect makes it much more interesting than FE in my eyes, would love to see a USA version of the series.



#29 Vielleicht

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 13:01

Forgot to add, the 'Sport class' spec-side of the concept has EV motorcycle name Saroléa (who did Isle of Man TT Zero - which was another small company and university racing hot bed) providing the powertrain.

 

TT Zero has been put on hold for a couple of years while organisers figure out how to build a long term plan for electric bikes. That could benefit ERA's Innovation class if it can tempt some of those teams in who have enough exisiting knowledge to quite easily kit out an F4 car.

 

I think the twin class concept could be smart provided there's enough interest. That way there's both close, equal machinery racing and pure, tech-drvien engineering all in one place.



#30 BRG

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 16:52

Some of them already do. Andre Lotterer (of all people!) has stopped Super Formula and WEC and is just signed up for FE at the minute...put is name down as interested in Extreme E as well. Electric racing obviously can't be that bad... 

 

Yeah, funny that one. Andre was one of the FE critics early on and now he looks like he's as eager to conquer it as anyone.

I may be overly cynical but perhaps the FE pay cheque was more attractive than the Superformula one?


Edited by BRG, 07 January 2020 - 16:52.


#31 Vielleicht

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 17:16

I may be overly cynical but perhaps the FE pay cheque was more attractive than the Superformula one?

I'd imagine it was. But higher pay-cheques means you're attracting the more skilled and more in-demand drivers, and at the end of the day drivers are generally more motivated knowing that they are competing with the some of the very best at what they do.

 

In interviews, Lotterer talks about the difficulty in FE a lot. He still says it's one of the hardest series he's raced in and driver skill still makes a huge difference (hence the higher pay-cheques). Paddock observers tend to say his first FE race was a bit of an eye opener for him and his attitude changed after it to have a stronger resolve to do well. So I'm sure that side of things really does interest him.

 

Bit of both, perhaps?


Edited by Vielleicht, 07 January 2020 - 17:16.


#32 Ben1445

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 10:02

Oh, look. It's that natural fibre composite stuff again. 

 

Screenshot-2020-01-08-at-10-01-32.png



#33 BRG

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 10:41

Gen 4 chassis to be made by Trabant...you heard it here first.



#34 Vielleicht

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 12:15

Quite a safe prediction to say we're probably only going to see more and more of this natural fibre composite stuff in racing for that kind of application. It genuinly seems like on balance it could be a good (even potentially superior) choice of material for the job rather than a purely tokenistic development. If it turns out to be so then hurrah for all I suppose.



#35 Ben1445

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 18:39

According to Craig Scarborough it is already being raced in WEC's GT classes (https://twitter.com/...457225217?s=20)

 

Screenshot-2020-01-08-at-18-37-28.png



#36 BRG

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Posted 09 January 2020 - 15:49

What are the advantages of this material over c/f?  Is it lighter, stronger, cheaper, easier to use?  Anyone know?



#37 ElectricBoogie

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Posted 09 January 2020 - 15:55

What are the advantages of this material over c/f?  Is it lighter, stronger, cheaper, easier to use?  Anyone know?

It only needs to be greener and good enough to make a safe car. Then less green or more costly options can be banned. These ultra high tech materials don't make racing better. Only reduce the weight of the F1 that got heavy due to allowing complex aero and mandating complex power units.



#38 Ben1445

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Posted 09 January 2020 - 15:59

What are the advantages of this material over c/f?  Is it lighter, stronger, cheaper, easier to use?  Anyone know?

From what I understand it is roughly the same in weight/stiffness for things like panels and wings but tends not to shatter as much in an impact. That poses a possible safety improvemet in reduced tyre cut risk and/or racing product improvement as you don't having to take so long to clear up so much accident debris. I think that was the presiding logic of using it in the GTs anyway. Not as safe as carbon fibre if used on the core/crash structure though, hence the panels and wings we're seeing it used on. Also supposed to be much less carbon intensive to produce the fibres themselves, which a series can either ignore or flaunt as desired.

 

I can't make an informed comment in cost or ease of use. 


Edited by Ben1445, 09 January 2020 - 16:04.


#39 Vielleicht

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 17:35

The Regen E Racing podcast has an episode talkng about ERA with the championship's sporting and communications director, Beth Lily, as a guest. It's an interesting listen.

 

https://castbox.fm/e...5086?country=gb

 

Among the more interesting revelations is that the 'Innovation Class' was the original idea for ERA, but the demand for an off the shelf option from some of the potential entrants was enough to create the 'Sport Class'. Lily also says that Innovation Class entrants will not have to provide the entire powertrain and could supply only a single component such as the batter or motor whilst running the rest of the powertrain from Sport Class components of they wish. Also clarifies a bit that Innovation Class is defintely aimed at small technical and engineering establishements for them to show off their products whilst Sport Class is aimed more at smaller, entry level race teams for driver development programs. For Season 1 there will be 24 chassis available between the classes and both will race simultanously, with future spearation possible.

 

They also see themsevles as a way of helping tracks such as Zolder, who have tight restrictions on how much noise they are allowed to make and when, maintain revenue streams as ERA wouldn't eat into those quotas. In an opposite move to FE, they are going to exisiting tracks to minimise costs and tap into motorpsort heritage. Season 1 will be in the UK the Netherland and Belgium and they are planning for other national/regional around the world over the next 5 or so years.

 

Oh, and broadcasts will not end up behind a paywall.

 

I have to say I am liking the sound of this more and more. I sounds a lot like what many wanted FE to be when it started.


Edited by Vielleicht, 11 January 2020 - 21:40.


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#40 Ben1445

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 23:32

Sounds pretty good tbf. 



#41 Vielleicht

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 14:13

There’s a launch event today at Zolder

#42 Vielleicht

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 10:11

Screenshot-2020-01-21-at-10-08-37.png

Screenshot-2020-01-21-at-10-08-17.png



#43 Vielleicht

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 11:10

ERA Completes Initial Rollout at Zolder; Interest High
https://e-racing365....-interest-high/

“We’ve got Formula 2 teams that are interested, Formula 3, Formula 4, LMP2, GT teams, all over the place,” Vanswijgenhoven said.

“The most interesting mindset that I’ve found is from GT teams. They look at this and go, ‘Right, I don’t have to step into something where there are 20, 30, 40, 50 different teams already doing it all over the world’, as you have in Formula 4, for example.



#44 Ben1445

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 13:23

Is that a chain drive from the motor to the axle?

#45 Vielleicht

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 13:31

Also in that article it says that season one will probably be a four race calendar in September/October 2020.

Is that a chain drive from the motor to the axle?

It is, but that’s for the development car. Production version will have direct drive.

#46 Vielleicht

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 10:43

ERA Cars to Be ‘Quicker Than Formula 4’
https://e-racing365....than-formula-4/
 

“We’re expecting it to be quicker around the track because we have got similar power, a little bit more, but obviously we’ve got the power constantly there,” he told e-racing365.

“Out of the corner, we’d be a lot quicker. It will vary on tracks how it will compare but we’re expecting it to be quicker than a standard Formula 4.”

Formula 4 cars are capped at 160 hp (119 kW), compared to the ERA car’s 130 kW output, equating to 174 hp.

Despite potentially lapping quicker than petrol-powered Formula 4 cars, the series will also be more affordable, with Season One entry costs capped at €100,000, depending on class.


Edited by Vielleicht, 24 January 2020 - 10:43.


#47 BRG

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 16:54

What are the relative weights of F4 and ERAcar, I wonder?  



#48 Vielleicht

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Posted 04 February 2020 - 16:16

Dome Attracted to ERA to Support Students, Fuse Cultures
https://e-racing365....-fuse-cultures/

 

And here we have the adoption of the FE cost control model:

It’s understood there won’t be any caps or limits on technology in the Innovation class, but a model of teams being required to offer their technology for sale to other teams at a set price will be used to ensure cost control.


Edited by Vielleicht, 04 February 2020 - 16:16.


#49 Vielleicht

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Posted 04 February 2020 - 16:19

What are the relative weights of F4 and ERAcar, I wonder?  

I don't have exact numbers but I would place an estimate on the ERA car being a fairly similar weight to a fuelled up Formula 4 car. I can't place too much certainty on that though.
 



#50 Vielleicht

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Posted 12 April 2020 - 14:06

Feature on ERA in the online Professional Motorsport World magazine.

 

https://www.ukimedia...cation/575483a8

 

Says they've had interest from everyone from F4 teams to LMP2 teams to Porsche Cup teams.

 

Who knows how current events might affect this though...