First Electric GT Series to Kick Off In 2017 with Tesla Model S Race Cars
Tesla Model S goes racingby Ciprian Florea, on
The world’s first electric GT championship will commence in 2017, Electric GT Holdings, owner and promoter of the series, has revealed today. The new championship aims to become the first 100 percent zero emissions race series for GT cars and hopes to gather 10 teams consisting of two vehicles on the starting grid for the 2017 season.
Details are scarce as of this writing, but Electric GT Holdings announced it plans a seven-race season with events in Europe, America, and Asia. Race tracks mentioned by the promoter include Barcelona in Spain, Estoril in Portugal, Donington in England, and Mugello in Italy.
Competitors will race identical cars in the first season, with Electric GT’s choice being the Tesla Model S. Already tested on the Catalunya and Jarama circuits in Spain, the race-spec model will have improved suspension and brakes, a new cooling system, and reduced curb weight. Output will sit at 416 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, 54 horses less than the rear-wheel drive P85 model it is based on.
"We chose the Tesla model S simply because it is one of the best cars ever made, and certainly one of the best 100 per cent electric cars," said Paya. "We are convinced that sharing its impressive circuit racing potential will help to inspire many people towards sustainable transport."
While the series will begin with as one-make championship, other companies will be welcome in the future, as the plan is to "promote sustainable mobility" by watching "commercially available models you can see on the streets racing on circuits around the world."
The Electric GT Championship will join Formula E, a zero emissions series using Formula One-style single seaters. Formula E ran its first season in 2014-2015.
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Why it matters
With electrification having already been implemented in Formula One and the prototype class of the World Endurance Championship via hybrid drivetrains and Formula E already running its second, it was only a matter of time until GT racing adopted battery power. Given Electric GT Holdings can stick to the plan and launch this new series in 2017, racing will become a lot more interesting with 20 Model S sedans on the same track. We’ve seen Tesla Roadsters race before, but this series will basically introduce the Model S to the world of motorsport. The announcement comes as a bit of a surprise, but it’s far from shocking given that Tesla sells the most powerful mass-produced EVs. This new series will most definitely benefit Elon Musk’s company in the long run, but the more important thing here is that the Electric GT Championship will open to other brands as well in the future. There’s no specific timeline for that, but it could happen as soon as 2018. The pattern could be similar to Formula E, which had identical chassis and powertrains in the first year, but allowed manufacturers to develop their own from 2016. Hopefully the new Electric GT series will be as exciting as Formula E, which in many way provides more interesting races than Formula One nowadays.
Read our full review on the Tesla Model S here.