The long-awaited Electric GT championship looks set to kick off in November in Jerez.
The new championship, which will feature a field of race-prepared Tesla Model S P100Ds, was expected to begin in 2017 but delays pushed its start date to 2018. It has since gained FIA certification and announced a provisional calendar for season one (see bottom).
Iconic circuits on the calendar include Silverstone and the Nürburgring DTM layout.
Electric GT confirmed the full specifications of Tesla's electric racing model, 20 of which will be built for the opening season. The battery-powered saloon has been renamed Model S P100DL and produces 778bhp and 734lb ft of torque. It can accelerate from zero to 62mph in 2.1sec – 0.3sec quicker than the road car – and hit a top speed of 155mph.
Despite running an unmodified drivetrain, the car's 100kWh battery pack is the largest in motorsport. Autocar spoke to Electric GT CEO Mark Gemmell last year and he said he expects the factory specification hardware to be extremely reliable.
"The standard drivetrain is in a 25% lighter car, so the stresses are actually less than it has been designed for in the production vehicle," Gemmell said. "This also makes the championship more valuable for Tesla road customers, as our racing cars are closer to what they drive, so you're essentially seeing a production vehicle on circiuit."
Pirelli is supplying the tyres, which are 18in in diameter, 265mm wide at the front and 305mm wide at the rear. Both slicks and treaded wet tyres are available. A dual-circuit single-pedal hydraulic race brake set-up has also been installed.
The car sits on double-wishbone pushrod-operated front suspension, with twin dampers and springs at the back. The stripped-out cabin features an FIA roll cage and fire extinguisher. No weight figure has been released, but Gemmell's comments suggest around 525kg has been removed from the car, meaning it'll weigh close to 1600kg.
At top speed, the P100DL's racing bodywork produces 51kg of downforce over the nose and 92kg over the rear. The bodywork itself is made from high-modulus carbonfibre – a particularly fibre-dense version of the material.
Races will feature standing starts – something Gemmell thinks will help make the event a unique spectacle.
"Seeing 20 of these cars launch off – they’re about as fast or maybe even a bit faster than a Formula 1 car off the line," he said. "I think people will be surprised by the noise. When you get 20 cars together, you do get an interesting sense of power."
Supporting the Electric GT will be the eKarting Series, which uses electric go-karts, and virtual racing platform eSports Series.
3-4 November 2018 Jerez
February/March 2019 (date TBC) Paul Ricard
May (date TBC) Circuit TBC
29 June Nürburgring
20-21 July Assen
September (date TBC) Silverstone
September (date TBC) Circuit TBC
12-13 October Algarve