Tesla series sparks off

Electric racing's silent rise continues, as Electric GT nears

It’s been a while coming, but the new Electric GT Series appears finally to be on its way to the race track. The series, which has no support from the Tesla factory, was initially announced to the world two years ago in March 2016.

In the intervening months there has been plenty of bluster but little in the way of concrete information. Now, two pieces of good news have followed in close succession: the Tesla Model S P100D-based race car has passed the FIA crash tests and the series has been ratified by the FIA.

That it’s a private endeavour from organiser Mark Gemmell may go some way to explain the delay in Electric GT going from idea to fully-fledged series. There may be benefits of no factory involvement; it could conceivably open up to be a mixed-make series – TCR goes electric? But costs would inevitably rise and soon spiral out of control.

Its first season is supposedly this year, though there’s no calendar as of yet. But there’s long been talk of ‘electric festival’ events, featuring only electric-powered racing and plenty of fan engagement. That’s since been clarified as ekarting and esports races.

The main GT races will be 60km long, with one held during the day and another at dusk, after a ‘three-heat qualifying format’. “The longer race isn’t really what the public wants,” Gemmell said last year.

Evening racing is no problem for a silent racing series, for obvious reasons. Gemmell also claimed the circuits have been very receptive, because “it’s the right message and projects the right image”.

The top two from the weekend will contest a ‘Drift-off’ for three additional championship points, too. Different, if nothing else.

As for the cars, the series has confirmed a maximum output of 778bhp/585kW. Drivers have seemingly been impressed by the car, which has been on a long development curve. It has good torque, as is to be expected, fast with a 0-60mph of less than two seconds, and it’s grippy. But it’s heavy, the final car weighs in at 1800kg.

There’s a persistence behind Electric GT, which bodes well, and it’s got ahead of most in the electric racing stakes. Now it’s a case of fulfilling aims.