The Tesla Model S has shattered expectations for both electric cars and new car companies, but there’s one area of automotive achievement it hasn’t touched. So far, the Model S hasn’t made much of an impression on the world of racing.
That may be about to change. A new racing series for electric cars will launch soon with the Model S as the star attraction, according to Motorsport.com. It’s called the Electric GT World Series, and claims to be the first series for production-based electric cars. Organizers plan to launch with a field of Teslas, but hope to add other models as well.
For the inaugural season in 2017, Electric GT World Series bosses hope to attract 10 teams, each of which will field two cars. All will be identical versions of the Model S, with modified suspension brakes, as well as beefed up cooling systems and reduced weight. All cars will be based on the discontinued rear-wheel drive Model S P85+, rather than the newer (and more powerful) all-wheel drive P85D and P90D versions.
While it can accelerate like a supercar and is the only high-performance electric car that’s widely available, the Model S may still require some major work to turn it into a proper race car. It’s a luxury sedan, after all, weighing a hefty 4,647 pounds in stock trim, according to Tesla. Nonetheless, the people behind the Electric GT World Series believe it’s the ideal platform, in part of the low center of gravity afforded by the floor-mounted battery pack and, of course the instant torque of its electric motor.
In racing, “GT” or “Grand Touring” generally denotes series and classes intended for production-based cars, as opposed to ones meant for purpose-built race cars. There is already a Formula E electric-car racing series that features open-wheel, single-seat racers, but the Electric GT World Series should be the first one for electric cars that look like ones people can actually buy.
Organizers hope it will be a “festival of technology and innovation” that will accelerate the development of electric cars. In the past, racing has helped introduce new technologies to production cars, so there’s a chance that will be the case here. Maybe it will encourage more manufacturers to build sporty electric cars.