Set to debut at Le Mans in 2018

Just like all-electric cars are slowly but surely coming into dealerships in higher numbers, battery-powered vehicles are becoming more involved in the racing scene. Hybrids can be found in quite a few series nowadays and they have made up the top tier in the World Endurance Championships for a few years now. With Formula E having already established an all-electric series, it’s only a matter of time until EVs will be raced in just about any motorsport series out there. Green4U isn’t the first company to set its eyes on the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans race, but it could become the first to join the event with a full EV. Its new prototype is called the Panoz GT-EV and could race at Le Mans as early as 2018.

Founded in September 2016, Green4U, an electric vehicle company, owns George-based automaker Panoz (hence the Panoz GT-EV name), Team Panoz Racing, and DeltaWing. Panoz is already a famous name in the racing scene, having built several prototypes and GT race cars, as well as the founding of the American Le Mans Series, which later merged with the Rolex Sports Car Series to form United SportsCar Racing. The DeltaWing race car, known for its unusual design and rather unsuccessful stint at Le Mans in 2012 was also linked to Don Panoz. Later on, designer Ben Bowlby left to create the strikingly similar Nissan ZEOD RC. Neither the DeltaWing or the Nissan were electric, but the Panoz GT-EV is being designed to work on electricity alone. The car is still a long way off from hitting the race track, but Green4U is already rolling out the details. Find out more below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Green4U Panoz GT-EV.

  • 2018 Green4U Panoz GT-EV
  • Year:
    2018
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    603
  • Top Speed:
    180 mph
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • Purpose:

Exterior

2018 Green4U Panoz GT-EV Exterior High Resolution
- image 720809
2014 DeltaWing Coupe
- image 721185

Exterior comparison: Green4U Panoz GT-EV vs DeltaWing Coupe.

Much like it did with the DeltaWing, Panoz approached the design and aerodynamics differently than most makers.

The Panoz GT-EV isn’t yet ready to meet the outside world, but Green4U released a few renderings that shed light on its exterior design. And the car is unique compared to any other prototype race cars out there. Much like with the DeltaWing, Panoz approached the design and aerodynamics differently than most makers. While the overall design is as sleek as the usual Le Mans prototype racer, the cabin is offset instead of being placed at the center. Specifically, the driver sits on the left side of the chassis, while the bodywork on the right side is almost flat, save for the massive cooling vents that likely feed air into the massive battery pack.

Granted, this isn’t the first race car with an offset cabin. We’ve seen a similar design on the iconic Jaguar D-Type and quite a few other race cars from the 1950s and 1960s, but it’s a layout that hasn’t been used in decades. Green4U didn’t explain the reason behind this design, but it’s safe to assume it has something to do with finding enough room for the battery, as well as placing it so that the car has the optimum balance on the race track.

2018 Green4U Panoz GT-EV Exterior High Resolution
- image 720810
While the overall design is as sleek as the usual Le Mans prototype racer, the cabin is offset instead of being placed at the center.

Another interesting feature is that even though the cabin is very similar to current LMP1 cars, having a long thin that extends all the way to the back, there’s no rear wing. Both the Porsche 919 Hybrid and the Toyota TS050 has massive wings atop their rear ends, so the absence of such an aero device on a somewhat similar racer is rather awkward. This doesn’t mean the Panoz GT-EV can’t be fast and nimble, but I’m curious as to what wizardry Green4U is preparing for this concept to work. For the time being, there’s isn’t much information outside the claim that the GT-EV features "active aerodynamics to reduce drag on straightaways and increase range and performance."

Another thing mentioned in the press release is that the GT-EV was designed by Peter Stevens, the same man who penned the Panoz Esperante GTR-1. Not only gorgeous, the GTR-1 was also a successful race car, scoring five overall wins, five class wins, and 17 additional podiums while racing in the FIA GT Championship, IMSA GT, United States Road Racing Championship, and American Le Mans Series between 1997 and 1999. With Stevens handling the project, it’s not surprising that the GT-EV looks unique and innovative.

Interior

2018 Green4U Panoz GT-EV Interior High Resolution
- image 720812
The seating layout is borrowed from fighter jets, with the passenger seated behind the driver.

Green4U didn’t have much to say about the cockpit and we only have a couple of simplistic sketches to run by, but we’re again dealing with a unique concept. Designed as a fighter jet canopy with the cover opening toward one side, the cabin provides room not only for one, but two people. The seating arrangement is also borrowed from fighter jets, with the passenger seated behind the driver. This layout may seem strange given that the LMP1 class doesn’t require a passenger, but a second seat is mandatory at Le Mans. Other data is not available at this point, but we’ll be back as soon as we have it.

Drivetrain

2018 Green4U Panoz GT-EV Exterior High Resolution
- image 720805
The GT-EV will use two electric motors, one for each of the front and rear axles.

This is where Green4U provided a bit more information, starting with its goal to "achieve the speed and range of current petrol and hybrid race cars on the power contained in a single battery pack" with the GT-EV.

The company says that the race car will use two electric motors, one for each of the front and rear axles, and that it aims for a total output of 400 to 450 kW, which converts to between 536 and 603 horsepower. That’s a bit less than what current LMP1 hybrids are capable off, but Green4U is also aiming for curb weight of only 2,200 to 2,750 pounds, including the battery pack.

The top speed goal is set at 175 to 180 mph, which would be mighty impressive for an electric car.

The top speed goal is set at 175 to 180 mph, which would be mighty impressive for an electric car.

Speaking of the battery, Green4U aims for a range of 90 to 110 miles in race conditions, as well as using a battery pack design that enables the battery to be exchanged during pit stops in the same time it takes conventional cars to refill their fuel tanks. While the latter would be a great achievement for an EV, the specs won’t allow it to compete for the win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Green4U aims for a battery range of 90 to 110 miles in race conditions.

For starters, the 180-mph top speed is inferior to that of LMP1 cars, which can easily surpass the 200-mph mark. The up to 110-mile range is very exciting either, especially given that this year’s Le Mans winner covered some 3,106.8 miles. To cover a similar distance, the EV would need to pit between 28 to 34 times for battery changes, which is way more than the number of stops required, under normal circumstances, by a regular race car.

But needless to say, the goal of the GT-EV isn’t to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright. Instead, Green4U aims to make a reliable electric car that will finish the race, no matter the position. Given the current regulations it will most likely be entered as a Garage 56 entry, so it will basically compete on its own, just like the DeltaWing did in 2012 and the Nissan ZEOD RC in 2014. What we can be sure of is that the Panoz GT-EV will be quicker than the two off the line and it will complete more than just one lap on electric power alone.

Green4U Background

While the Green4U company is less than a year old as of 2017, the team behind it benefits from a tremendous amount of automotive and racing experience.

While the Green4U company is less than a year old as of 2017, the team behind it benefits from a tremendous amount of automotive and racing experience. Established in 1989, Panoz has been building road-legal sports cars since the early 1990s and race cars since 1997. The company’s race cars have won various prestigious events, as well as race at Le Mans with notable success for a small team. Panoz also founded the American Le Mans Series in 1999, bringing European-style endurance racing to North America.

In the 2010s, Panoz backed the DeltaWing project, an innovative wing-shaped race car built in cooperation by Ben Bowlby, Dan Gurney’s All American Racers, Duncan Dayton’s Highcroft Racing, and Nissan’s Nismo division. The DeltaWing was designed to dramatically reduce aerodynamic drag and to allow a marginally faster straight and corner speed than a Dallara IndyCar on both ovals and road courses with half as much weight, engine power and fuel consumption.

2014 DeltaWing Coupe
- image 721181
In the 2010s, Panoz backed the DeltaWing project, an innovative wing-shaped race car.

The race car made its track debut in 2012, while a coupe model was introduced in 2013. It was raced at Le Mans in 2012, where it was retired after 75 laps following an accident, and returned at the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, where it finished fifth, completing 388 laps to the overall winner’s 394. The DeltaWing became a regular entry in the American Le Mans Series, United SportsCar Championship, and the North American Endurance Cup from 2013 through 2016 with notable results. In 2017, the car was retired as the series’ new regulations made the DeltaWing ineligible.

If all goes according to plan, Green4U will push to turn the Panoz GT-EV from a Garage 56 experimental entry into a permanent entry in the FIA GT Championship and various series in North America.

Conclusion

2018 Green4U Panoz GT-EV Exterior High Resolution
- image 720806

I was a bit disappointed when the DeltaWing project had to be shelved in 2016, so I’m pretty excited to see that Panoz is back with a new experimental car. Granted, the GT-EV is still a long ways off from being a functional race car ready to tackle Le Mans, but considering the know-how Panoz has from two decades of racing, it should be ready on time. I’m also very aware that the GT-EV isn’t likely to have a solid debut at Le Mans, but it should become increasingly competitive over the next few years. If the people who make the regulations will help Green4U out, the GT-EV might just open the door to an all-electric class in the world’s most iconic endurance race.

Love it

  • Innovative design
  • All-electric drivetrain with fast-changing battery pack
  • Could start a new EV class at Le Mans
    Leave it
  • Development could be slow
  • Likely not competitive in its first years
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: