The governing body of global motorsport, the FIA, has announced a groundbreaking electric sports car racing category that’s designed to serve as a platform for manufacturers to develop road cars.
Racing at full-length, permanent circuits, the new racers will be based around the GT3 category, but the FIA is promising that they “will exceed their combustion engine-powered counterparts in areas such as acceleration and qualifying pace”. The 0-100km/h time is estimated at 2.4sec and top speed at 300km/h, with up to four motors allowed.
The FIA is convinced the technical regulations will deliver high-watermarks for electric motorsport in terms of range and performance.
The body is keen to encourage competition from both manufacturers with existing sports car programmes as well as EV specialists that haven’t previously competed in racing. A balance is being struck between pushing creativity and keeping costs under control.
Depending on the base car used, the minimum weight will be between 1490kg and 1530kg, with a maximum power of 430kW. The weight limit is slightly up on GT3 cars, but the FIA says this is a deliberate cost-saving ploy.
Sports car racing traditionally revolves around endurance races, so for the new series, ultra-rapid charging is promised for mid-race pitstops, with a peak rate of 700kW, giving a recharge time of a few minutes to reach 60% capacity. Currently, the fastest roadside EV chargers can hit 350kW.
Charging facilities at circuits remain vague at this stage, but the FIA is promising that “the charging network will be developed to meet the fast charging requirements and, depending on the venue, will include elements of permanent and temporary infrastructure.”
Unlike Formula E, competing manufacturers will be allowed to choose and build their own bespoke battery layouts. These will be supplied by Saft, a subsidiary of the Total oil company, which has designed lithium-ion pouch cells for the new series. Battery capacity is limited to 87kWh, while the maximum energy regeneration permitted is 700kW.
Further developmental freedoms will run to manufacturers being able to choose their own powertrain set-ups, with both two- or four-wheel drive being allowed. Torque control will also be allowed at each wheel.