The news that the world’s motorsport governing body is planning a “revolutionary” electric GT championship raises some questions this week. First, why has it taken so long? Second, what will this mean for Formula E?
On the former, the FIA announcement is certainly not early – but the series has apparently been in the works for many months and a lot of work has been done to get this far. The German DTM series, which is transitioning to GT3 regulation this year, has already announced a plan for its own electric GT variant that it hopes to run as a support series in 2023. But at this point it appears to be mostly one-design, developed around a Schaeffler car. The FIA’s plan is much more ambitious and far-reaching.
The key is a promise to promote manufacturer innovation and technical freedom, especially around battery development. This is a major step beyond any electric motorsport series that already exists or has been announced. Although details of race dates and formats are non-existent at this point, there is already a settlement in the hands of potential manufacturers, and FIA GT Commission President Leena Gade reports “keen interest” . No surprise on this front.
Range is not a problem. While GT racing has long revolved around endurance over long distances and over long periods, the thriving GT World Challenge Sprint Cup is already proof that there is a market for short racing – and the specialist French Saft is developing a 700 kW fast charging system. In addition, Formula E has proven that 45 minute races work well, especially for viewers.
Which brings us to the second question: is this a threat to the single-seater series, which – let’s not forget – is itself an official FIA World Championship? There is a lot of differentiation, especially since the GT series is intended to run on normal racing circuits rather than street courses. Then there is this technical freedom.
But that’s exactly what could undermine Formula E. The new Generation 3 car, due to be introduced for the 2022-23 season, continues the trend to keep tight control over the contribution that automakers can make from it. a technological point of view – and as Audi team boss Allan McNish alluded in his recent interview with Autocar, this is one of the reasons automakers have been slow to commit or even choose to s ‘remove. Budgets for motorsport are only stretching so far. But if an automaker can produce a GT based largely on its own specs and technologies, or even better adapt a current GT3 model, would that money be better spent than on a technology-restricted Formula E Gen 3 campaign with a car that has no visual relation to everything it sells on the road?
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This notice was published: 2021-04-23 10:01:24