Now we’ve seen it all: a group called the EV Cup is launching a racing series devoted exclusively to electric vehicles. The organizers say the “green” series will lay the foundations for sustainable motorsports of the future, as well as providing a test bed for electric-car research and development.
The season kicks off at England’s Silverstone circuit on August 6, and a total of seven races are scheduled for 2011 — four in the U.K., one in Belgium, and two in the U.S. at Laguna Seca and California Speedway. The EV Cup has been endorsed by former Formula 1 champion Damon Hill and former Top Gear driver Ben Collins, which lends it some enthusiast street cred. Unfortunately, the limitations of electric vehicles mean each race will only last 20 to 30 minutes.
Three classes have been announced so far, starting with the City EV class. The one-make category will see drivers piloting race-prepped (the preparation consists of “tuned” software and a gutted interior) versions of the Think City electric car. The teensy, 2090-pound car’s electric motor produces about 50 hp and 66 lb-ft of torque. In regular road driving, it can reach a thrilling top speed of 85 mph and cover up to 100 miles before being recharged.
Next up is the Sports EV class, again a one-make racing group featuring the Westfield iRacer. The U.K.-based company builds a variety of sporty kit cars, but the iRacer is their first all-electric effort. Twin electric motors (one for each rear wheel) allow for torque vectoring and peak at 260 hp. The feather light 1694-pound body can reach 60 mph in less than five seconds and is electronically limited to 115 mph. Westfield says the iRacer can travel 30 “race miles” before needing a recharge, which takes about three hours.
The most exciting grouping is likely to be the Prototype EV class, which is open to any non-production electric vehicle. There are no restrictions on weight or power outputs, and the cars will run in a time trial format. It sounds like a good race debut for Nissan’s Leaf-based Nismo RC electric race car.
While we’re all for automotive racing, the fact that races will be so short — and punctuated by multiple-hour recharging sessions — makes us think the EV Cup will be a little less exciting than a traditional race series.
Source: EV Cup