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Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Motorsport


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#1 Ben1445

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Posted 23 June 2023 - 10:36

Obviously I have something of a keen interest this topic in particular (that's no secret) but that's not necessarily the point of this thread. 

 

My objective here is to have a catch-all location to discuss developments around Electric Vehicles (EVs) in motorsport which perhaps aren't big enough topics to sustain thread(s) of their own. We've had a few dedicated threads to particular initiatives but that led to very fragmented discussions which make it difficult even for someone heavily engaged in the topic to keep track of in the forum. 

 

I would also like it to support discussions about the wider topic (e.g. 'Where do EVs fit within grassroots racing?' or 'Are the FIA doing enough to support EVs in the motorsport ecosystem?' or 'Why have some of the previous attempts at launching Electric GT/Touring series failed?'). 

 

This thread isn't intended to about EVs as general road cars, other than in direct relevance to how their growing impact on the market impacts motorsport activities. It's also not supposed to be about whether ICE or hydrogen have a place in motorsport - I'm happy to just assume that all have a place and it's just a case of slotting together the puzzle pieces to fit (although the puzzle picture itself keeps changing and there's a tornado coming our way).

 

I also think that EVs can be inclusive of Hydrogen Fuels cells (FCEV), given that they produce electricity to drive electric propulsion in addition to a battery rather than using a battery by itself (BEV). There is also a really interesting thread related to Hydrogen powered ICE in motorsport which gives some distinction. 

 

Either way, I figure this is worth a shot. Hopefully there's some good conversations to be had here. 

 

 

 



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#2 Ben1445

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Posted 23 June 2023 - 10:36

Piece of news from dailysportscar.com to kick off. 
 
FIA Releases Technical Regs For Entry-Level Electric Racing
The new rulset was approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council this week
https://www.dailyspo...ric-racing.html
FIA-Electric-Sport-Vehicle-Visual-3.jpg

This new FIA ESV ruleset, which was approved by FIA World Motor Sport Council this week, is designed to allow affordable, entry-level electric racing in compliance with the FIA’s standards for high-voltage safety. The regulations cover both technology and safety, with performance management also an option depending on competition requirements.

The FIA is targeting its member clubs with this new set of regulations. It allows the same car to be used across a variety of sporting formats, including events which require cars entered with road-legal homologation.

The ability to offer modified electric vehicles ready for competition and built in conformity with recognised FIA regulations will enable the manufacturers to offer cars ready for competition “straight out of the box”. [...]


“The FIA ESV ruleset very much responds to the demands of the market,” said Lutz Leif Linden, FIA GT Commission President.

“Having this set of technical regulations will allow the manufacturers’ customer racing departments to offer competition-ready variants of their electric cars, which should be a considerable source of revenue of them, much like GT3 is. It can even open the door for them to create their own one-make series.


Edited by Ben1445, 23 June 2023 - 15:32.


#3 highdownforce

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Posted 23 June 2023 - 12:57

Electric Group-N, nice

#4 juicy sushi

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Posted 23 June 2023 - 13:44

The sports car and sports sedan they dreamed up to go with the announcement are actually pretty sharp looking.  I'd like one of each in my driveway please.



#5 juicy sushi

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Posted 23 June 2023 - 13:48

Electric Group-N, nice

Yeah, I really like that idea since it keeps the costs much more sustainable for participants and manufacturers, and keeps the entry to the sport more achievable.  The original GT cars were street cars driven on track, so this is a good starting place to ensure the sport can continue to have that entry point.  And the common performance parameters will help since it makes it much easier for manufacturers to participate on equal footing, while keeping things in a similar window to the street cars they sell.  Porsche could do an EV Supercup, which will definitely get support, and then it can also be used in a multi-brand series at the same time.  Which is much smarter than the current situation where there are multiple different 911s with only very small differences, for different classes (they really wanted GT3 and the Cup cars to be the same thing).



#6 AncientLurker

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Posted 23 June 2023 - 13:54

Thanks for the thread Ben, I will definitely follow with interest. To me EV and other alternative fuel cars represent a hope for another heyday of racing where technology is growing by leaps and bounds and the racing is matching that.

#7 F1matt

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Posted 23 June 2023 - 14:09

This should be an interesting thread. I would like to mention infrastructure for any electric series, thinking about circuits I have visited in the UK some of them don't have decent toilets never mind charging facilities. Lets suppose the FIA were to introduce an electric touring car series or GT championship which "focused" national bodies to adopt these regs for their national championships, lets stick with the UK so we would have BTCC and British GT as all electric series clearly in their current set up no circuit would be able to deal with charging needs so the obvious answer is we can't do it, but if there was a scheme from the FIA or government, and motorsport bodies to upgrade these circuits to incorporate charging facilities, wind turbines, or solar panels and on the back of this improve the track, for example upgrade armco, run off areas and spectator facilities it would retain current fans but could it open up an avenue to a whole new audience? Could something like this protect motorsport at national level around the globe which would ultimately protect top level international motorsport. 

 

It could lead to a whole avenue of classic championship and clubman championships if they could switch to electric drivetrains instead of ICE. 



#8 juicy sushi

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Posted 23 June 2023 - 15:19

This should be an interesting thread. I would like to mention infrastructure for any electric series, thinking about circuits I have visited in the UK some of them don't have decent toilets never mind charging facilities. Lets suppose the FIA were to introduce an electric touring car series or GT championship which "focused" national bodies to adopt these regs for their national championships, lets stick with the UK so we would have BTCC and British GT as all electric series clearly in their current set up no circuit would be able to deal with charging needs so the obvious answer is we can't do it, but if there was a scheme from the FIA or government, and motorsport bodies to upgrade these circuits to incorporate charging facilities, wind turbines, or solar panels and on the back of this improve the track, for example upgrade armco, run off areas and spectator facilities it would retain current fans but could it open up an avenue to a whole new audience? Could something like this protect motorsport at national level around the globe which would ultimately protect top level international motorsport. 

 

It could lead to a whole avenue of classic championship and clubman championships if they could switch to electric drivetrains instead of ICE. 

Agreed.  The infrastructure is going to be a challenge over the next few years, but it definitely will enable a lot of circuits to survive much longer once it occurs.  And the more that clubman series are able to have a future, the better, as the sport cannot survive simply as a top tier.  Motorsports will live and die by the weekend warriors and others coming out on the weekend to have a play with their toy in a safe, welcoming environment.



#9 Ben1445

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Posted 23 June 2023 - 15:20

This should be an interesting thread. I would like to mention infrastructure for any electric series, thinking about circuits I have visited in the UK some of them don't have decent toilets never mind charging facilities. Lets suppose the FIA were to introduce an electric touring car series or GT championship which "focused" national bodies to adopt these regs for their national championships, lets stick with the UK so we would have BTCC and British GT as all electric series clearly in their current set up no circuit would be able to deal with charging needs so the obvious answer is we can't do it, but if there was a scheme from the FIA or government, and motorsport bodies to upgrade these circuits to incorporate charging facilities, wind turbines, or solar panels and on the back of this improve the track, for example upgrade armco, run off areas and spectator facilities it would retain current fans but could it open up an avenue to a whole new audience? Could something like this protect motorsport at national level around the globe which would ultimately protect top level international motorsport. 

I absolutely think there's a big opportunity here to give some circuits a whole new lease of life, especially those which have been struggling with noise limits. One example is Mallory Park, which had some issues with this and has strict noise limits at 105db and quotas to allow a certain number of 'noisy weekends' in a year.

 

A quick internet search suggests that BTCC can get up to 115db, whilst Formula E is more like 80db. Typical ambient is something like 45-55db. 

 

Essentially, if a circuit can offer more track time in a year off the back of the creation of an entry-level EV platform then there's an opportunity to be more profitable, and that does bolster the case for making EV-specific investments at the circuit. If that helps keep the circuit commercially viable and up to date for ICE-racing as well and boosts club level participation across the board then the sport as a whole can only really stand to benefit.  


Edited by Ben1445, 23 June 2023 - 15:26.


#10 Ben1445

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Posted 23 June 2023 - 16:40

Porsche could do an EV Supercup, which will definitely get support

My favourite thing about this is that Porsche are very seriously developing a prototype for this exact purpose, not to replace all ICE cup cars but as an additional offering to the lineup. The prototype in question, the Cayman GT4 ePerformance, is already an absolutely stunning piece of kit, and I have say that as someone who's never really been all that big a fan of the Porsche brand... their work in the EV space is really making me warm to them massively. 

 

There's a really fantastic c.18 minute video here with Chris Harris driving the car which is definitely worth a watch. Starts with a run in the 600hp mode, then there's a talk with the project leader about the technology in the car, followed by a near-1000hp run. 

 


Edited by Ben1445, 23 June 2023 - 16:43.


#11 ARTGP

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Posted 23 June 2023 - 17:02

My favourite thing about this is that Porsche are very seriously developing a prototype for this exact purpose, not to replace all ICE cup cars but as an additional offering to the lineup. The prototype in question, the Cayman GT4 ePerformance, is already an absolutely stunning piece of kit, and I have say that as someone who's never really been all that big a fan of the Porsche brand... their work in the EV space is really making me warm to them massively.

There's a really fantastic c.18 minute video here with Chris Harris driving the car which is definitely worth a watch. Starts with a run in the 600hp mode, then there's a talk with the project leader about the technology in the car, followed by a near-1000hp run.

https://www.youtube....h?v=GiYT3ftvsYI


It almost sounds like a jet engine…

#12 Youichi

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Posted 24 June 2023 - 08:54

Electric Group-N, nice

Group-N required 5000 production units, this new FIA rule set only requires 300 so it's more like Group B.

Can you imagine how crazy someone like Porsche could go if they were only making a 300 model limited edition, I really hope they do.



#13 Ben1445

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Posted 24 June 2023 - 10:05

The 2023 FIA Sustainability Report contains some information about how the FIA sees the evolution of energy/powertrain offerings. 

 

This new Group eSV will start next year from 2024, with the FIA E-GT (based on allowing converted GT3 machinery and initially targeted for 2023) pushed back to 2026. 

 

Also looks like options for EV in WRC from 2025 (experimental sub-category) and as a parallel option for karting. 

 

Screenshot-2023-06-24-at-10-59-36.png



#14 highdownforce

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Posted 24 June 2023 - 19:07

The 2023 FIA Sustainability Report contains some information about how the FIA sees the evolution of energy/powertrain offerings.

This new Group eSV will start next year from 2024, with the FIA E-GT (based on allowing converted GT3 machinery and initially targeted for 2023) pushed back to 2026.

Also looks like options for EV in WRC from 2025 (experimental sub-category) and as a parallel option for karting.

Screenshot-2023-06-24-at-10-59-36.png


I've noted that on ESV press release, regularity rally is mentioned but speed rally no.

#15 Ben1445

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Posted 01 July 2023 - 09:25

SRO is giving their annual press conference at the Spa 24 Hours right now, expecting an update on their plans for GTX World Tour, their plans to bring EVs into their portfolio including a revival of the Targa Florio as an EV event. 



#16 Ben1445

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Posted 01 July 2023 - 10:00

Presentation pack for GTX World Tour is here 
https://www.sro-moto...03.23 copia.pdf
 
Hard to describe exactly what kind of event it would be other than a multi-disciplinary, competitive road-trip. Featuring circuit events on 'smaller, iconic tracks', rally stages, hillclimbs, and regularity rallies/efficiency events. 
 
This from Sportscar365 last summer: 
 

Ratel said he’s “changed the mindset” of the GTX World Tour from utilizing concept EVs to instead having production-based models with manufacturer support.

“Before we wanted to do this and this and that,” he said. “We have a working group with quite a lot of manufacturers and we told them what we can do and said ‘prepare a car for us.’

“That did not work that well. They all came back and said with our current cars or what we are planning soon, we believe this and this and this is possible and we have reshuffled our project on what is possible to do with this type of format.

“In the beginning I got a bit carried away with concept cars. We have to wait for road going cars, prepared to go racing.

“Basically you take an Audi e-tron and enhance a bit in terms of performance and make it race-ready. That, I think, has worked.”

SRO is also in dialogue with the FIA on the proposed use of common N-EGT regulations, which could serve as the basis for the GTX World Tour.

Almost certain that N-EGT was the working name for what has officially been launched as Group eSV.  
 
Also as of last summer, Audi Sport were supportive of GTX/N-EGT/Group eSV and eying up a race-prepped version of the Audi e-tron GT: 
 

Audi could be prepared to roll out a race-prepped version of the e-tron GT by as early as next year according to Reinke.

“It would be very close to a road car. For me it would be similar as we define our current GT4 from the R8 which is pretty close on the drivetrain, electronics and so-forth to the road car.

“The closest to describe it — the GTX car — would be based on the e-tron GT in a similar way to the GT4 car.”

Reinke is hopeful that GTX will utilize the FIA-driven, SRO-supported N-EGT set of technical regulations that could open the door for the car’s use in other future EV racing series.

 
https://sportscar365...gtx-world-tour/



#17 Ben1445

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Posted 03 July 2023 - 16:03

This has been going for a few years now but there's these 55km EV races run by JEVRA (Japan Electric Vehicle Race Association) using minimally modified EVs. Has always seemed something more for grassroots fun rather than for commercial entertainment, but that's ok. There's Tesla Model 3s, Nissan Leafs, a Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car and at some events there's even a retrofitted sixth-generation (1995-2000) Honda Civic. 

 



#18 juicy sushi

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Posted 03 July 2023 - 16:36

The Swedish Touring Car Championship will start later this year being all-EV as well.

#19 Ben1445

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Posted 03 July 2023 - 19:33

Yeah I'm interested to see how the STCC goes. They've been working on keeping the costs down (compared to ETCR) and reportedly are about the same as BTCC. They have been hit by some supply chain issues in the construction of the cars and had to scrub the first round of the calendar - the first event should be the first weekend of August now. 



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#20 juicy sushi

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Posted 03 July 2023 - 19:38

Yup. But the STCC are weirdos. They really struggled after S2000 died, and did their own thing instead of TCR for a while. Then switched to TCR, but seem eager to jump to something else. I think this makes a lot of sense though, given the pushback ICE will get in Scandinavia soon.

#21 Risil

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Posted 03 July 2023 - 19:45

Ben I am massively onboard with Formula E at Mallory (Mallor-E) Park, where do I sign up?

#22 Ben1445

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Posted 05 July 2023 - 13:22

Some coverage of Porsche's GT4 ePerformance from their showcase visit to Watkins Glen from Sportscar365: 

https://sportscar365...he-is-preparing

 

Essentially the performance of the car is already sorted - it can match a 911 GT3 Cup car for pace over a 30 minute race. There's still an open question for them about exactly what racing formats are best for the EV platform, but simply matching the ICE offering appears to be one option very much on the table. 

 

The work now is on preparing it for for success in customer racing via considerations such as minimising the track-side personnel requirement (cost) and in developing a sustainable charging set-up for a race paddock. Part of the reasoning for their demo tours with the car (such as at the IMSA event at Watkins Glen) is to engage with paddocks to work out what is needed and desired on these fronts. 

 

There's also no set timeline for introduction, other than whenever the car and the market is ready for it. 

 

(The whole thing perhaps taking something of a different approach to the one Jaguar took with the I-Pace eTrophy...) 


Edited by Ben1445, 05 July 2023 - 13:23.


#23 juicy sushi

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Posted 05 July 2023 - 13:30

Some coverage of Porsche's GT4 ePerformance from their showcase visit to Watkins Glen from Sportscar365: 

https://sportscar365...he-is-preparing

 

Essentially the performance of the car is already sorted - it can match a 911 GT3 Cup car for pace over a 30 minute race. There's still an open question for them about exactly what racing formats are best for the EV platform, but simply matching the ICE offering appears to be one option very much on the table. 

 

The work now is on preparing it for for success in customer racing via considerations such as minimising the track-side personnel requirement (cost) and in developing a sustainable charging set-up for a race paddock. Part of the reasoning for their demo tours with the car (such as at the IMSA event at Watkins Glen) is to engage with paddocks to work out what is needed and desired on these fronts. 

 

There's also no set timeline for introduction, other than whenever the car and the market is ready for it. 

 

(The whole thing perhaps taking something of a different approach to the one Jaguar took with the I-Pace eTrophy...) 

This kind of speaks to a company who has decades of experience providing customer racing experiences at scale, vs other companies without an entire business line built around doing this.



#24 Ben1445

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Posted 05 July 2023 - 13:42

Meanwhile, I might add, it very much brightens my heart to see the Smart EQ ForTwo eCup began a sixth season of racing at Misano back in May and will be racing this weekend at Vallelunga.

 

Not quite sure what magic they have pulled off here but they're doing a good job showing that small, cheap and fun EV customer racing can draw in reasonably healthy and sustainable grids when you get the equation right. 

 

Can't seem to find much footage of the opening round beyond a 60 second highlights video on Facebook, so instead here's a sample of last years racing at Imola: 

 



#25 MagnyCours2000

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Posted 05 July 2023 - 21:16

Many year lurker here, nice to finally interact with you all. This is a topic I ambivalently care a great deal about. While uncomfortable to me, at least it keeps me somewhat objective on the pros and cons,

This will be nerdy and long but hopefully still accessible to many.
Those who prefer shorter posts, just skip this one. You're welcome and appreciated.

I've been an intent follower of the rise of BEVs, startups and legacy brands, and the design decisions made.

Formula E season 1 almost had the right idea. They should not have changed the car, but rather the battery.
Think about it. In our everyday lives, we change batteries a lot. Nowadays even on vehicles that are vital for our life style. Electric skateboards, kick sooters, ebikes, etc. The electric rent mopeds than litter the sidewalks, have drive batteries that are swapped in seconds. Many privately owned mopeds are the same. You carry the battery up to your apartment to charge it near the front door.
Main exception: laptop and phone makers are collectively pushing us away from battery swaps. Battery dies, laptop dies, 'mkay? You want an updated model anyway, right? Only makes sense to make the battery more integral the phone/laptop, light and sleek as you like it.

Race cars being so far from a consumer product, for all it's "road relevance", might as well be designed around a hot swappable drive battery. Manually operated jacks could lift and pull them out/push in. To lock the battery in place, I can see the wheel guns used. Next to each bolt a light comes on when it's done up properly. Car won't even go into drive until all bolts are showing green.
With a clear vision, such cars need not be ultra heavy. Already "long range" BEVs on the road are similar in weight to PHEVs. The biggest Tesla saloon, real peppy on a short track session, faster than most 4-doors ever made, doesn't really weigh more than a PHEV saloon from BMW, Mercedes, Audi or Porsche. That is to say, PHEVs are made in a way that has them be porkers just like BEVs.

Some car brands are claiming that the structural integrity of the battery is adding to that of their BEV. Not unlike ICEs have been for (race)cars for several decades.
In an open formula, designers would undoubtedly explore this. Without battery, the car is strong enough to be wheeled around and be worked on, but not to take a curb stone or protect the driver. Little bit (really not a lot, with carbon monocogs) saved in total weight there. The battery being swappable in theory adds weight, but that difference would diminish over time. 
Having hot swappable batteries (and yes, for safety a drive battery could be low voltage when outside the car, only close relays to go high voltage when well installed) would remove the whole fast charging debacle that FE has worked on....and backed out of. With over a decade of successful fast charging in the consumer market....but only with one brand who took it seriously, with a passion. 
I watch Indycar, I like Indycar. Actually, their stints are quite short. The cars are rather fuel mileage limited than tyre life limited, it seems. Much like BEVs being races, then. According to my estimates, a BEV race car designed with proper commitment, at least one continent away from Paris where good racing ideas seem to die in their infancy...we could have Indycar/F2/LMP1 level racing on all-electric drive. Just takes the hot swap and a central design of aerodynamics. "Open wheel" is what FIA granted FE it's 25 year green monopoly for, as if open wheels is such a fringe way of making cars. And it is. Near zero road relevance is left, and it's exceedingly bad aerodynamically. An LMP style body needs so much less power to cruise at 300 kph, it's not even funny. The Hypercar rules are making closed wheel aero seem horrible, but it's actually been amazing in decades past.
Indycar and F2 are spec series, LMP2 effectively as well. A central designer could simply (yes, simply) try harder on aero than on "make it look open wheel", and our BEV racer would be exceedingly efficient at high speeds. Allow active aero? Well that makes it even more interesting, technically. And even slightly road relevant, as that feature is actually on sale for cars with license plates. Where Hypercars can't have better than 4:1 lift to drag, the spec racer could be 6:1 probably, with active aero to reduce drag more on straights and increase downforce more in the few seconds around the lap where that is most crucial. Brake zone, corner, and maybe exit.

In sci-fi terms, the ideal BEV racer (stuck with a super energy un-dense power source) would have memory skin that shifts between the looks of an Mercedes EQXX style streamliner and a Porsche 919 Evo (LPM1, but no rules, full F1 level lap times with much higher top speeds). It would even get narrower down straights. None of that is practical today of course, but it's to paint the kinds of things that would make batteries less terrible an idea for a race car.

Personally, I feel F1 is faster than it needs to be. We can afford to have F1 take 10 seconds longer per lap. Just please don't let any FE-ness trickly into F1 because someone at the top heard something about hybrid to fuel ratios and wanted it.
Batteries being so exceedingly heavy, potentially dangerous, and vastly different between consumer car brands, a non-normalized series would have one car slaughter the field, but perhaps it would be a different car depending on the circuit. Winning Monza and Monaco are obviously different tasks.

It's quite doable to up Formula E's battery from 40 kWh usable (really tiny in road relevance terms) to 80 kWh usable, shorten the stints, add proper slicks, add real aero with strong DRS, and get stints at the pace and length of Indycar.

Touring cars/GT: Various road BEVs have between 70 and 92 kWh usable. Redesigning those to allow for in-race battery swaps on par with reasonable refueling...can be done, but would kind of ruin the "I have that car" vibe of touringcars. Trying to get 1-hour races from that would be a great way to make BEVs look useless to the 5 or 6 people that show up to watch the race. 3x 20 minutes with not too gimmicky twists would allow for casual fast charging rather than in-race which would not be something I'd want to be connected to with sponsorship or reputation. You think Hockenheim 1994 was bad due to racers wanting a quicker fill-up?

With swappable batteries, whichever race series, the races can be long, even 24h long. Even Dakar long.
In GP style racing, the batteries could come in weight groups. Say, 300kg, 400kg and 500kg. If different dimension to fuel loads and tyre compounds, for instance. Nowadays we can test race such concepts long before we make the effort of actually designing it. Yes, rule could be that you start the race on the battery you used for qualifying. Let's say, on full charge to make it less stressful. Use each battery in the race? Or, use at least 2 and fast-charge mid-race at a modest nominal power level. The swapping concept opens for many design choices that can positively impact racing. 
Another option is to have a small power cell battery (like in plug-in hybrids) bolted to the chassis. This works like the traction battery in F1 and LMP1. Charge under braking, discharge out of corners of for extra top speed. At times, charge at the cost of ICE or larger drive battery. A small battery like this is very weight-efficient. Adding a no-rules ERS system to an ICE race car, will just make it faster and/or use less fuel. Depending on the actual state of the art of "range cell" battery technology, having this on board power battery could save weight and have larger swappable drive batteries be stressed less. Example: max regen into on board small battery 400 kW, output maximum 200 kW, no limits per lap. Drive battery unlimited regen, deployment 400 kW. 600 kW peak = 800 hp, good for Indycar and F1 and LMP1 style racing. Stint length will be under pressure with such output, obviously, but such drivetrains can be made. Regardless of whether I feel it actually makes sense.
As you'll get from the subtext, I'm thoroughly obsessed with BEVs for what they are. Much less so for what they're made out to be socially and politically. Batteries are barbaric quasi-tech objects in my opinion, and the better alternatives (wireless power transmission over distance for instance) described by true science legends are simply not pursued with grant money or startup billions. The only thing "better" than a car with a big battery, is a car without a big battery. And oh do I ever lust after big battery vehicles... Just one of those human obsessions, doesn't make the object of it a good thing. 

Various companies are developing battery cells with vastly better specifications than commercially used today, for instance by car brands and Formula E.
Racing ought to be right on top of those developments and acquire batches of cells to go racing with. Pushing the envelope, remember that?
Let's say Formula E used 250 Wh/kg cells, when they might well be able to acquire or produce enough cells with 400 Wh/kg to build a fleet of cars with. Just removing the old battery and sticking in the new would allow much harder racing for the same number of laps with much less or no cycling peloton driving. Or take those 45 minute races to GP spec Monza. And frankly, they could add some weight, get LMP level slicks and lap much faster still. The next step to swappable batteries would then make full distance GPs possible, at GP style speeds. Not today's F1, that's just not possible even if I stretch my imagination. But F2 pace, that is a lot more accessible.
With BEV style race cars, one lap pace isn't the issue, it's longer race pace. It just takes a lot of energy to race any amount of time, hence large tanks on race cars and where we can drive for 5-10 hours before refuelling, race cars barely last an hour on an extra large tank. Batteries are a bad idea for racing, but it can be done. I just don't seem people with any vision that would self-serve involved. The things I see appear to be there to slow down BEVs ascension to normalcy. We can't do a lot about the sound (unless we fake it with speaker), but the racing is possible to any level we reasonably want. I think 1994 F1 cars were pretty awesome. The speed I can give with on battery power, the sound not really.

In closing, I love the McMurtry Speirling concept. Its main flaw is the non-swappable battery, obviously. It's narrow, but fun. Fan ground effect, need I say more? I want to see 20+ of these duke it out around various GP tracks and perhaps more curious tracks. Less tractive power, half even, would probably be fine still.
Can touring cars be modified to have a McMurtry style ground effect system? Then surely it can be made to work with a large battery. Yes, please! 
Imagine it, sleek true silhouette touring cars with tons of fan car ground effect for spectacular cornering and Super GT like lap times..



#26 Ben1445

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Posted 06 July 2023 - 07:44

Welcome to the forum Mangy  :up:

 

The subject of battery swapping is an interesting one. The suggestion that it could alleviate challenges that EVs face both on and off the track have certainly been common over the years. 

 

Conceptually, I can't say I am against it in a racing setting. I don't think it's too different from the tyre changes we are all familiar with - tyres are something that you replace infrequently in a road car but few people comment about how quickly racing cars chew through rubber (even though it is a valid environmental concern) or push for this quick-change feature to be offered to road cars. That said, I am also sympathetic to the engineering reasons and practical concerns around why it hasn't been something seriously implemented to date. 

 

Back in 2019, ITR presented a concept for an electric DTM platform which utilised industrial robots to swap the battery pack in a future electrified version of the championship. Unclear how realistic/achievable that idea was them as an organisation but since ITR's demise, the sale of DTM to ADAC and an assumed cancellation of the DTM Electric project... we may never know. 

 

One concept I'm kind of sad we never got to see developed was a Don Panoz backed entry for Le Mans Garage 56, which was revealed in 2017. Unclear how far it may have been able to get towards hitting the track, but Panoz's passing in 2018 seemed to put an end to the best chance had. The novel design essentially had a cockpit and a battery mounted to different sides of a core chassis. Perhaps a little unclear how this would have affected weight, handling and crash safety... but interesting in any case. 

 

uppan12345.jpg

uppan1290.jpg

 

Something I did find recently was that there was a racing battery swap carried out in the 2021 Thunderhill 25 Hours, organised by the National Auto Sport Association in the US. It was carried out by Entropy Racing with an ESVR, which from what I can tell was a planned low-cost club racing EV. I can't find much information at present about this car or what has happened since. There is, however, a video of the 2-minute swap taking place in the pitlane: 

 

 

I think this perhaps speaks to why I want to see more club and customer-level EV racing. I think the approach taken by bodies such as the FIA have taken a very top-down approach to electric motorsport via the launch of Formula E and similar initiatives with other categories. The first draft of electrified World Rallycross regulations with silhouette chassis initially failed to get off the ground and caused a rethink which had led to RX1e. In touring cars, PureETCR tried to launch as a flagship electric touting car series to promote the newly developed ETCR regulations, but only lasted two seasons before cancelling ahead of this year. A similar initiative for GTs via the FIA's eGT rules was planned for 2023 launch but has now been delayed to 2026 in the FIA's roadmap. 

 

I think a bottom-up approach is now needed to maximise what EV racing can be for the sport. Without club and customer racing, the professional levels of the sport are very, very exposed. Time and time again it has been the privateers and the enthusiasts who get the sport through some of it's more challenging days. The professional EV racing we have today has so far been benefitting from ICE's ecosystem in this regard, but I think that this has perhaps also been holding things back to some degree. 


Edited by Ben1445, 06 July 2023 - 07:49.


#27 Ben1445

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Posted 07 July 2023 - 10:20

The Swedish Touring Car Championship will start later this year being all-EV as well.

 

Yeah I'm interested to see how the STCC goes. They've been working on keeping the costs down (compared to ETCR) and reportedly are about the same as BTCC. They have been hit by some supply chain issues in the construction of the cars and had to scrub the first round of the calendar - the first event should be the first weekend of August now.


And yet another delay for STCC: https://www.stcc.se/...siv-tvlingsmnad

 
"STCC is forced to move and compress this year's season to an intense month of racing in September due to delays in the production of the new electric race cars by suppliers EPWR and STARD.

- "With the electrification of the STCC we are taking the biggest step forward ever for the championship and Scandinavian motorsport, a big step that unfortunately is not resistant to delays in the delivery of the advanced components that are being manufactured by EPWR and their subcontractors," says Micke Bern, CEO of the STCC.

- "Due to the delays, we have no choice but to compress the season into September. It is a tough decision to have to make, but we are doing this in consultation with EPWR, the teams, organizers, Swedish Motorsport and partners to ensure that the necessary preparations and tests are made for this historic shift."


They are not the first to be hit with such issues. Formula E struggled with supply chain for the Gen3 and ended up delaying the fast charging as a result. Priority was given to the construction of the race batteries over the mobile charging units (basically a second battery on wheels). Supply chain delays had also severely hampered construction of the ERA Championship's electric F4 cars. 



#28 juicy sushi

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Posted 07 July 2023 - 11:48

Yeah. I think any plan started pre-pandemic or during has essentially been hit with a 2 year penalty.

#29 highdownforce

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Posted 12 July 2023 - 22:32

Peugeot, BMW Open to Hydrogen as Future Racing Platform

[...]

“We’re very open,” Peugeot CEO Linda Jackson told Sportscar365. “Why do we do WEC right now? It’s because it’s part of our electrification strategy: it’s hybrid.

“We already have a commercial vehicle, a Peugeot Expert, which uses a hydrogen fuel cell. So we are already very open to that technology. Things will evolve. Let’s see how it goes.

“We’re very open, but it has to be linked to electrification strategy and this idea of moving towards carbon net zero.”

[...]

Peugeot, BMW, Audi and Toyota are among the manufacturers currently attending technical working group meetings on the topic of hydrogen as a racing platform.

[...]

“Hydrogen was always a big topic for BMW already in the past,” said Roos. “It’s still a topic that we’re investigating on the road car side. So for the racing side, this is something for sure something we look into.

[...]

Roos said it’s too early to determine which form of hydrogen technology would be best suited for the class.

“For sure when you purely look at the road relevance, a fuel cell, at the moment, makes more sense for us because you also have the fuel cell on the road car side,” he said.

https://sportscar365...acing-platform/

Also in the same article, VAG (Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini declared not to have interest in hydrogen for now.

Both Peugeot and BMW also declared to be more keen on a fuel cell program than a hydrogen based ICE, however a decision between each technology for WEC is not decided.

Edited by highdownforce, 12 July 2023 - 22:33.


#30 ARTGP

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Posted 13 July 2023 - 03:48

uppan12345.jpg

uppan1290.jpg

 

 

 

This thing would go like hell on a clockwise oval... 



#31 Ben1445

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Posted 13 July 2023 - 07:57

https://sportscar365...acing-platform/

Also in the same article, VAG (Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini declared not to have interest in hydrogen for now.

Both Peugeot and BMW also declared to be more keen on a fuel cell program than a hydrogen based ICE, however a decision between each technology for WEC is not decided.

 

I think one of the technically interesting points about hydrogen fuel cells is that they're not so great at power responsiveness in the way that ICEs and BEVs are, much preferring (relatively) gradual ramp-ups and ramp-downs in power output. 

 

The result is that they end up being analogous to a series-hybrid/range-extender hybrid car - much like Audi's Dakar entry. A few years ago Forze Hydrogen Racing from Delft University produced this video with lots of on-screen telemetry showing how their set up balanced the FC power, the mechanical power and the buffer battery levels throughout a race. 

 



#32 dmj

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Posted 13 July 2023 - 08:21

I have very little enthusiasm for any all-EV racing series, just like I hate strict regulations and lack of opportunities for different approaches at conventional racing categories. But on the other side, I am really excited about the mixed competitions, where electric vehicles mix with ICVs and bring additional value. Hillclimbing is obviously the first target, already conquered at the most prestigious levels like Pikes Peak and Goodwood FoS.



#33 Ben1445

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Posted 13 July 2023 - 08:58

Interestingly, Goodwood FoS has been one of the more prominent events to embrace EVs with open arms. I think they've done quite well in balancing enthusiasm for heritage with excitement for the new wave of electric cars throughout their coverage and communication, personally. 

 

Admittedly that is probably due to it being as at least much of an industry trade show/exhibition as it is a hillclimb event, but still... 

 

There's a good few EVs which will be present, and some will be going up the hill, including Audi's 1000kW tribute to the Quattro/Ken Block and an electric MG4 modified in the manner of the MG Metro 6R4.  Also two types of the McMurtry Spierling, apparently -  the record breaker from last year and the road-going variant with wider tyres and revised aero. 

 

Forum thread for the event here: https://forums.autos...-of-speed-2023/


Edited by Ben1445, 13 July 2023 - 08:59.


#34 midgrid

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Posted 13 July 2023 - 09:56

 

uppan12345.jpg

uppan1290.jpg

 

 

Reminds me of the Nardi Bisiluro, which competed in the 1955 Le Mans 24 Hours.

 

nardi_giannini_nd750_bisiluro_4.jpg

 

Mechanically unstable, it overturned and crashed in the aerodynamic wake of the fastest cars as it was lapped for the first time early in the race.



#35 engineblock1

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Posted 13 July 2023 - 12:21

That shape shows how long way have we come up in aerodynamics. This design defies the very basic principles of both balanced structure and aerodynamics.



#36 Ben1445

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Posted 14 July 2023 - 13:43

Yeah. I think any plan started pre-pandemic or during has essentially been hit with a 2 year penalty.

 

One exception to this rule of thumb might be Travis Pastrana's Nitrocross series, sanctioned by USAC (which I don't think we've heard a huge amount about this on this forum?). 

 

It was spun off from the Nitro World Games of 2018 and 2019, with plans laid down in late 2020 to become a standalone series in 2021 and introduce an EV top class in 2022. This seemed to happen fairly smoothy.

 



#37 Ben1445

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Posted 14 July 2023 - 13:50

In fact, on the topic of electrified rallycross, still think it is slightly mad that GCK Performance/Special ONE  Racing have built a Lancia Delta Evo-E based on the original 80s/90s shape and got Sebastien Loeb to drive it. 

 

They've even stuck it in a retro martini-styled livery this season. 

 


Edited by Ben1445, 14 July 2023 - 13:51.


#38 Ben1445

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Posted 14 July 2023 - 18:56

This should be an interesting thread. I would like to mention infrastructure for any electric series, thinking about circuits I have visited in the UK some of them don't have decent toilets never mind charging facilities. Lets suppose the FIA were to introduce an electric touring car series or GT championship which "focused" national bodies to adopt these regs for their national championships, lets stick with the UK so we would have BTCC and British GT as all electric series clearly in their current set up no circuit would be able to deal with charging needs so the obvious answer is we can't do it, but if there was a scheme from the FIA or government, and motorsport bodies to upgrade these circuits to incorporate charging facilities, wind turbines, or solar panels and on the back of this improve the track, for example upgrade armco, run off areas and spectator facilities it would retain current fans but could it open up an avenue to a whole new audience? Could something like this protect motorsport at national level around the globe which would ultimately protect top level international motorsport. 
 
It could lead to a whole avenue of classic championship and clubman championships if they could switch to electric drivetrains instead of ICE.

So, somewhat related to this line of thinking...
 
Autosport are currently running a feature on sustainability in the UK's domestic racing scene with an interview about what Motorsport UK is doing.  

The steps needed to help save motorsport's future
With the threat of climate change growing, the UK motorsport scene is at last starting to embrace vital sustainable initiatives. Here's how its governing body and racing clubs are leading the charge
https://www.autospor...uture/10495500/
 

"While the UK’s governing body itself intends to reach a net-zero carbon footprint by the end of 2025, it also hopes to reduce 50% of the carbon emissions of all UK motorsport by 2030, primarily by using sustainable fuels, which it intends to make available at all venues by 2026. It also wants to make greater use of electric vehicles in disciplines such as StreetCar and seeks to inspire the next generation of enginers and participants through its involvement with F1 in Schools, Greenpower and Formula Student."

Turns out 'StreetCar' was launched last year and is basically Autocross and similar events - allows one compete with unmodified road cars and minimal racing license arrangements. 
 
Aside form that, there's not a lot more to on the EV front. In fact they seem actively resistant if these passages are at all representative: 
 

“We ran an open day in Parliament last July, and the theme was ‘the future is eclectic, not just electric’. We wanted to play our role in lobbying politicians and, without being patronising, educating politicians,” says Chambers. “By all means, legislate for the outcome, net-zero by a given date, but leave it to the clever engineers and to the scientists and the petro-chemical companies to come up with the most effective solutions.

“I think the role of motorsport isn’t just to reduce its environmental impact, but also to become a leader in technology which it’s done so successfully over many decades. We’ve got to recognise that with the 60,000 competitors we’ve got in the UK, all of them bar a handful are using hydrocarbon-fuelled internal combustion engines, and that’s not going to change any time soon. You marry that together with the fact that there are 1.3 billion internal combustion engines worldwide and you realise the scale of transition.”

 

:well:



#39 highdownforce

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Posted 19 July 2023 - 17:28

Ratel Wants Joint Regulations With FIA for GTX World Tour
While not initially listing SRO Motorsports Group as being involved in the project, Ratel told reporters at the recent CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa that he’s been in discussions with the FIA to have a common set of regulations.

“We’re talking to them,” Ratel said. “We have set up our own regulations and we have sent it to all of the manufacturers around the table.

“The manufacturers that want it, then they will say, ‘We like this one, or we like that one or would like to mix’ and then we go back to FIA.

“The idea is to have a joint regulation with FIA.”

https://sportscar365...gtx-world-tour/

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#40 Ben1445

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Posted 19 July 2023 - 22:11

Interesting. Does sound as if a lack of consensus and coordination among governing bodies is not helping things.

I don’t believe for a second that manufacturers aren’t interested in starting up EV customer racing programs in the near future, so it’s kind of frustrating that there hasn’t been more work to get this straightened out.

The framing from Audi’s Chris Reinke makes it sound like the FIA have been acting almost erratically and without full consultation with manufacturers.

Ratel/SRO are making sensible requests for common regulations. It is encouraging that SRO see this move to launch an EV category is a very important step for their business. Their GTX World Tour idea is something of an unusual way to go about it, so interested to see what happens there.

#41 Ben1445

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Posted 21 July 2023 - 10:52

Theres been a fire at Special One racing’s pit area at Lydden Hill ahead of the FIA WRX round, with the Lancia Delta Evo-e cars seemingly destroyed. No reported injuries but a big loss nonetheless.

https://twitter.com/...LAZ50Btq_iWBfgQ

#42 Ben1445

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Posted 15 August 2023 - 09:44

An article here on the Top Gear website about electric motorsport, collecting some opinions from people involved in it what might need to come next: 
 
How does electric motorsport attract a bigger audience?
https://www.topgear....bigger-audience
 
I personally found this quote from Travis Pastrana quite interesting:

“It’s a difficult time as a manufacturer, because the biggest competitor for motorsport budgets is straight content on YouTube. You spend $5m to go race with other people and potentially lose, or $5m telling your story through video that probably has more eyeballs watching, and you don’t have a chance of losing.

“It’s a tough sell sometimes,” he added, “and I really worry.


This, however, isn't something which just affects EVs - as evidenced by the endless track day special hyper cars which will never turn a wheel of competition in their lives. 

 

In that sense I still think an often overlooked piece of the puzzle is the grassroots/club/enthusiast level, which gives the sport a structure and popularity onto which professional levels are founded. I still think there's a major role that EVs can play here.

 

If you went back in time to one of those so-called 'golden ages' of the sport, alongside manufacturer activities we'd expect to find garage-owners entering cars and showing off their maintenance and tuning prowess to their prospective customers, or perhaps hobbyists who are enthused by the accessibility and excitement of this new technology tinkering with the mechanical parts to squeeze out the highest performance on their budget. Both might scrape around for budgets from various parts suppliers for free components in exchange for their usage being made clear to everyone else. All in all it would be a time in which the new technology becomes widespread and affordable, but at the same time people were learning about it and the business ecosystem that could support it through the medium of exciting competition. 

 

The modern day parallels should be fairly clear. Service garages might want to let customers know that they are still open for business in the age of the EV and display their expertise, hobbyists might finally get their new EV cars and fancy tinkering around with the software to get the best out of the machine. 

 

I think the difficulty it is facing is that it's not a new and emerging market per se, but a technological transition of a very mature one. There's simply a lot of resistance to change which wasn't faced int he same way for ICEs over the last century. 



#43 highdownforce

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Posted 15 August 2023 - 16:44

As soon as local tracks sort out EV infrastructure needs, club level EV motorsport will be there.

#44 flatlandsman

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Posted 15 August 2023 - 16:50

For a track to do this, is an immense investment with very few benefits right now. No club level or even semi international venue will do this within 15 or 20 years, it will only be done at very well funded places, and even then there has to be a passage of thousands of EV's per year to even start to make it profitable.

 

Or it will simply be a loss, and very few circuits can afford to invest without a likely gain very soon. 

 

there will be charge points at tracks for punters maybe and employees but for competitors I doubt it Quite a few do not even have fuel vendors!



#45 highdownforce

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Posted 15 August 2023 - 18:46

For a Grade A circuit, it is peanuts.

#46 juicy sushi

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Posted 15 August 2023 - 19:16

I have a feeling that any track that makes a substantial amount of money hosting official Porsche club events will be doing this in the very near future.  An EV Cayman is arriving very shortly.  And Porsche will definitely be offering a club racing version.  No doubt they will be eager to assist tracks in improving their infrastructure with official Porsche-licensed equipment, and probably some advice about how to take advantage of local tax credits and other related incentives to do so.



#47 ARTGP

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Posted 16 August 2023 - 02:34

I have a feeling that any track that makes a substantial amount of money hosting official Porsche club events will be doing this in the very near future.  An EV Cayman is arriving very shortly.  And Porsche will definitely be offering a club racing version.  No doubt they will be eager to assist tracks in improving their infrastructure with official Porsche-licensed equipment, and probably some advice about how to take advantage of local tax credits and other related incentives to do so.

 

 I was going to suggest the same thing. Some tracks could probably take advantage of government incentives to install EV charging equipment. There could also be partnerships with specific manufacturers. 


Edited by ARTGP, 16 August 2023 - 02:45.


#48 flatlandsman

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Posted 16 August 2023 - 08:21

I would think incentives are the ONLY way a track could do this. they will not get enough business from racing to warrant the installation unless it is paid for by someone else or heavily subsidised by the installer to try and get business. .  OK, track days can help, as could also being near a busy road perhaps and opening up the chargers for the public to use on their vehicles.

 

but for simply race and track use I am doubtful it will be cost effective for all but the very richest venues



#49 Ben1445

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Posted 16 August 2023 - 08:52

There's an interesting Autocar article here from October 2021 about what was supposedly the first EV-only track day event at Llandow in Wales, UK. 
 
Electric circuit: the UK's first EV-only track day
https://www.autocar....-only-track-day
 
From the sounds of it you could call it a bit of a pilot event/showcase rather than a serious attempt to launch a regular EV track-day service. The issue of charging infrastructure for this experimental event (especially for such a small private/club-level circuit such as Llandow) is mentioned head on: 
 
"Without doubt, charge is one of the biggest challenges in using an EV as a track car. The Teslas can do more laps than you might imagine: 50 laps of Llandow is not unrealistic. However, at lunchtime, you could be forgiven for thinking the event has ended, because most drivers disappear in search of some charge. The closest Superchargers are at Sarn services, about 25 minutes away. Non-Teslas have to travel even further to find a proper rapid charger. On-site charging was considered but is not viable because of the cost and logistics of bringing in battery packs. Meanwhile, installinga diesel generator would be rather questionable."

 

​I'd still argue that it might make sound business sense for a circuit to install EV-charging infrastructure for track days because it means you can expand your market reach into a growing segment, and potentially also be able to offer more track hours if noise levels are an important local concern. At some point there should be a break even between the cost of installing that infrastructure and the net-gain from bringing money from EV owners to the track. Gains wouldn't necessarily be all from track time either, perhaps you can also sell more food and hot drinks between charge-breaks... 

 

Organised racing categories from club to professional levels are perhaps a little more challenging to achieve, but I think track days are a great place to start. 



#50 RedRabbit

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Posted 16 August 2023 - 09:10

The cost of buying an EV in the first place is a major hurdle to club level motorsports.

The first steps are usually taken by mechanics or tuning enthusiasts who buy something fairly cheap and used to strip down for track use.

A used EV at a good price with plenty of life in the battery still doesn't seem like it's an easy find.