Get the best of Monitor journalism in your inbox.

Tesla Model S electric-car racing series to launch next year

The Electric GT World Series will feature Tesla cars during its inaugural run in 2017.

Denis Balibouse/Reuters/File
A Tesla logo is pictured on the hub of a car during the second media day of the 86th International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland (March 2, 2016).

Some car fans don't connect with racing series because their purpose-built, open-wheel race cars bear no resemblance to anything they see on the street.

And perhaps the same could be said of today's Formula E circuit of electric-car races across the globe.

But how about a race series exclusively for the fastest electric road car in production--one that's likely crossed 100,000 units by now?

That's the premise of the Electric GT World Series of races, revealed yesterday in an exclusive article on Transport Evolved.

"What the world needs," the site suggests, "is an old-fashioned race series based around high-power, long range electric race cars."

And the sole plausible contender at the moment would be the Tesla Model S, with rated ranges of 240 miles and up. (Other cars could be added as they come to market, the organizers suggest.)

The Electric GT World Series announced yesterday morning will see a total of 10 teams competing in its inaugural season in 2017.

All 10 teams will use the Model S P85+, one of two highest-performance versions until the recent production start of the P90D, with its "Ludicrous" mode.

Organizers say they prefer the rear-wheel-drive version, rather than the P85D with all-wheel drive, because RWD is both more traditional for track racing and mechanically simpler and easier to repair.

The standard production version of the Model S P85+ will see only minor modifications for racing purposes, including improvements to its brakes and some aerodynamic tweaks to increase downforce at high speeds.

There will be some weight reductions, likely by removing much of the interior, and teams will be allowed to modify the suspension, braking, cooling, and steering.

The battery pack, electric motor, power electronics, and all the associated programming, however, will remain stock, in the same form as when they left the Tesla Motors assembly plant in Fremont, California.

The new series has already received support from the Fédération Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA), organizers of the Formula 1 Grand Prix series, although it's not presently an official FIA series.

Series organizer Augustin Payá is both an engineer and a racing driver himself. Last year he earned the title of 2015 Spanish FIA ECO Rally Champion for electric cars, after multiple wins in his race-prepared Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive.

Payá's partner in the new race series is Scottish software engineer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Mark Gemmell, whose title is co-founder and CEO of Electric GT Holdings.

Both men have nothing but praise for the Formula E circuit, now in its second season, which they note has brought the idea of electric cars as viable racers to millions of people all over the world.

And their first season will follow the Formula E model of 10 teams with a total of 20 drivers competing around the world, including North America and Asia.

Rather than racing on temporary circuits made out of city streets, however, the Electric GT series will race on standard racing circuits.

Thus far, organizers say, they are negotiating to use the following racing circuits: Barcelona-Catalunya (Spain), Donnington Park (England), Mugello, Nürburgring (Germany), Assen (The Netherlands), Estoril (Portugal), and Madrid Jarama (Spain).

The official 2017 race calendar will be announced later this year.

This article first appeared at GreenCarReports.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.