Launch of world’s first EV racing series moves to U.S.
Billed as world's first race series exclusively for zero-emission electric cars, the EV Cup was originally scheduled to kick off its inaugural season in the U.K. at Silverstone on August 6, 2011. It has now been delayed and will start out in the U.S. with two race events in California at Laguna Seca in November and Auto Club Speedway in December, ahead of a full series launch in 2012. EV Cup organizers say they wanted to ensure that everything was ready before the series kicks off and cited safety requirements, car delivery schedules and the need for testing time as the reasons for the switch.
"The interest in the EV Cup has been fantastic, especially in the U.S. which is why we wanted to keep our two race events there this year," said Sylvain Filippi, managing director of the EV Cup. "We plan to begin the full series early in 2012 and will expect to start with races in the U.S. again before coming back to Europe for races here."
The EV Cup is a seven-race motorsport series that will include two principle classes of zero emission electric cars - the City EV class and the Sports EV class. The City EV class is limited to city focused, production vehicles and will feature THINK City vehicles that have been modified to race specification with weight reductions and the latest THINK prepared motor and battery technologies.
Meanwhile, the Sports EV class is designed for drivers experienced in open cockpit race competitions and will feature the iRACER, a bespoke race car developed by Westfield Sportscars that is designed for sprint racing with a peak power of 260 bhp and 660 Nm of maximum torque. To create a lightweight, aerodynamically efficient and low cost body, the iRACER is constructed from a range of materials, including composites, aluminum, recyclable plastics and even a stretched lycra skin over an aluminum framework.
While Westfield admits the use of fabrics has limited scope for road use, it sees advantages for such an approach for racing, with the bodywork able to be changed in minutes by simply stretching a new fabric body over the framework. In addition to allowing for rapid repairs, it also allows for the color of the car and sponsor logos to be easily changed.
The iRACER can reach 96 km/h (60 mph) in under five seconds and boasts a top speed of 185 km/h (115 mph). The iRACER is also equipped with a boost button that allows for a surge of power when executing overtaking maneuvers.
The EV Cup will also include a third Prototype EV class that, instead of races, will follow a time-trial format that will see entrants battling it out to set the most competitive lap-times on street and race courses. Designed as a showcase for the latest non-production electric vehicles, the Prototype EV class has few design limitations and no weight or power restrictions.
In September last year, the EV Cup team organized the first eco car parade on The Mall in London in an attempt to generate interest in electric vehicles and highlight them as the future of motoring. It hopes the EV Cup will help change the image of EVs as local runabouts to high performance, highly desirable cars.
"We are creating an opportunity for the EV manufacturers to promote their vehicles in a new and exciting way. We want to show that green motor sport is a reality - and an exciting one at that," said Filippi.