If you need any confirmation that electric vehicles are becoming more and more mainstream by the day, look at the sports page. Every few weeks, it seems, electric vehicles (EVs) are making inroads into the world of motor sports, placing EVs in front of large, new, receptive audiences.
We’ve documented the chase for an electric land speed record, a number of electric drag racing records, new options for electric racing and, as the year closed, news that the International Hot Rod Association had decided to recognize EV drag racers. Now, electric racing is edging closer to the mainstream with the news that another avenue is opening up for the growing sport.
According to a recent report, the International Motor Sport Association (IMSA) and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) will team with Spanish-based strategic sustainability project specialist Quimera to “develop the next generation of sustainable motor sport.”
Quimera, whose business is organizing huge municipal projects, will work with both organizations for a race series that they hope will have a global scope. The new partnership hopes to be ready to launch its new series by 2013. Currently, they are focusing on lining up investors, sponsors and teams for the events. It would appear that with the combined weight and experience of both the IMSA and AMLS, the group will at least have a shot at attracting teams, sponsors and media attention. Currently, a large number of AMLS races are broadcast on ESPN/ABC or Speed Channel and the entire series is presented by Patron Tequila. The IMSA, which started the AMLS series and is its sanctioning body, counts Porsche and Chevy trucks among its corporate sponsors.
Initially, a version of the Quimera AEGT All-Electric GT car (pictured) is expected to debut in demonstration runs at selected American Le Mans Series race events in 2012. While the championship is expected to begin in the U.S. at races run in conjunction with the ALMS, the group clearly hopes to go international and hopes to attract “any national governing body, promoter or country from around the world to join this ground-breaking motor sport project.”
The group is currently finalizing exactly what sort of cars will be whizzing around its tracks. Currently they are considering a number of options, but it looks like two classes of GT type cars are certain to be included. GT racers are the most common form of sports car racing and are found all over the world. Even though a GT racer may have a replica body laying over its chassis, it’s built for one thing — racing. From the tires to the motors these cars generally feature the most exclusive performance gear money can buy and as such are often proving grounds for the automobile industry.
The GT division will feature the world’s most powerful electric cars capable of generating 525 kilowatts (kW) and up to 700 horsepower. The Touring GT class will feature cars capable of generating 300 kW and up to 390 horsepower. Series organizers are also currently negotiating a series to be based on slightly modified road legal cars with a powertrain up to 150 kW. This is intended as a showcase for current EV consumer technology, so there’s a real possibility of seeing a Tesla Roadster trading paint with a Fisker Karma at 100 mph at a track soon. There are also plans for an open wheel and motorcycle division.