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Jaguar Returns to Racing with New I-Type Electric

British maker set to join Formula E series

by on Sep.08, 2016

Jaguar will develop its own powertrain for the I-Type.

After a pouting absence following its failure in Formula 1, Jaguar is readying a return to racing, but don’t expect to hear the screech of a new V-10 or turbo engine. Jaguar’s all-new I-Type racer will move in near silence as part of the Formula E series.

The British maker will team up with – appropriately enough – battery and electronics giant Panasonic for the groundbreaking electric racing series. The partners pulled the covers off their new racer today, dubbing it I-Type 1. It will be driven in anger for the first time on October 9th, when the new Formula E season gets underway in Hong Kong.

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Considering its long motor sports history, which reached apogee on the circuit of Le Mans with legendary models like the C- and D-Types and, later, the XJR-19, why Formula E. Because, said team chairman Gerd Mauser, it’s “an innovative series with competitive, close racing in front of urban audiences. It develops EV tech and helps change the perception of electric cars.”

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Acura Abandons Hybrid Drive for NSX GT3 Racecar

Debut follows NSX victory at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

by on Jul.07, 2016

Acura will campaign the NSX in the GT3 series.

The newly reborn Acura NSX makes use of an unusual three-motor hybrid system, but when the sports car starts campaigning in the FIA GT3 series later this year, it will adopt a more conventional driveline layout, Honda’s luxury division revealed today.

It’s not that Acura wouldn’t like to use its hybrid drivetrain to challenge the competition, but the rules currently won’t allow it, Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development, told TheDetroitBureau.com.

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So, the NSX GT3 will use a track-modified version of its 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 when it begins its racing career, and a good portion of that powertrain will be lifted right out of the street edition Acura NSX.

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Michelin Goes From Track to Street

Formula E tires could soon deliver better mileage and performance for average motorist.

by on Mar.31, 2015

Formula E racers shown charging through the 1.3-mile Miami street circuit last month.

Rain or shine, drivers will switch on their engines for the sixth round of the Formula E race series in Long Beach, California this weekend.

No matter what the weather, the 20 drivers in the battery-car racing program will ride the same set of rubber – in sharp contrast to the better-known Formula One series where teams can choose from an assortment of different tires customized for wet or dry pavement. In fact, the strict, green-minded rules of Formula E mean that drivers will likely be using some of the same tires that were on the car during the previous race in Miami.

Burn Rubber!

That may pose some challenges for those drivers, considering Formula E cars will can launch from 0 to 60 in barely 2.8 seconds and reach speeds of nearly 150 mph. But it also could be good news for the average motorist, as the technology that makes it possible to handle such extremes on track should  translate into better tires for the street, according to officials at Michelin, the official tire supplier for the Formula E series.

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The ePrix Searches for the Right Formula

“I think this is the future,” says Michael Andretti.

by on Mar.19, 2015

Formula E racers charge through the 1.3-mile Miami street circuit on the first of 39 laps.

From a distance, they sound like a swarm of angry hornets – if you can hear them at all. For those familiar with traditional motorsports series, like NASCAR or Formula One, the oddest aspect of a Formula E event is the virtual silence of the dart-shaped race cars. But for organizers and supporters of the ePrix, that really is the sound of the future.

Now, halfway through its first season after finishing a 39-lap run through downtown Miami over the weekend, Formula E is a global race series with a mission.

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The goal is not just to entertain but to prove the viability of electric propulsion at a time when at a time when the public is having a hard time getting charged up about battery cars.

“Formula E is both my environmental conviction and my business conviction,” says series organizer Alejandro Agag. “I don’t believe environmental convictions alone are sustainable without being supported by a good business case.”

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Racers, Plug in Your Engines!

Teams get ready for first Formula E battery-car race.

by on Sep.05, 2014

Formula E racers run a simulation of the first race scheduled to take place in Beijing.

It’s taken several years of planning and engineering and months of simulations and dry runs, but if all goes according to schedule, proponents of electric propulsion will get their chance, a week from now, to prove that battery cars really can play in the same league as conventional gas-powered vehicles.

August 13th will bring the inaugural race for Formula E, a new motor sports series that is being billed as the electric equivalent of Formula One, the world’s most popular racing series. Indeed, the cars that will be racing in Beijing next weekend look quite similar to those used on the F1 circuit.

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While they won’t quite hit the same top speeds, the Formula E race cars will be reasonably quick, and expected to reach as much as 140 mph – though they’ll do it in near silence, rather than the deafening screams that mark a traditional race track.

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Drayson Tops 204 MPH – Sets EV Record

Old record stood for 29 years.

by on Jun.27, 2013

Members of the Drayson Racing team celebrate their land speed record.

With all the emphasis on electric propulsion these days, it might seem hard to believe that it’s been 39 years since General Electric – yes, GE – set the FIA World Electric Land Speed Record. But that achievement has finally been bested by a sleek, green Le Mans Prototype dubbed “Lola.”

On an RAF airbase in Yorkshire, England, an 850-horsepower battery-electric vehicle built by Drayson Racing hit a top speed of 204.185 miles per hour during a pair of runs down a 3-kilometer (nearly 2-mile) track.  That was a full 29 mph faster than the 175 mph record set way back in 1974 by the Battery Box General Electric.

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“I’m delighted we’ve beaten the record tonight and can show the world EVs can be fast and reliable,” said Lord Paul Drayson, whose firm built the 2,200 battery car, and who personally piloted it during the record run. “It is not the outright speed of 204.185 mph that is most impressive about this record, but the engineering challenge of accelerating a 1000 kilogram electric vehicle on a short runway over a measured mile.”

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Formula E Lays Out Electric Race Calendar

Eight battery-car races planned from Buenos Aires to Beijing.

by on Mar.08, 2013

Formula E hopes to field 10 teams in 10 races for 2014.

Anyone who thinks battery power means a slow, cramped and boring ride needs to think again. This year’s Geneva Motor Show is loaded with examples showing what electric propulsion can do, from the peppy Audi A3 e-Tron plug-in to the fearsome, all-electric Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive.

And if you’re still not convinced, the Fédération Internationale de l´Automobile, the same sanctioning body that governs Formula One, is weighing in.  It’s set to sanction first eight battery-car races that will be part of the new Formula E series set to debut in 2014.

While the calendar is still preliminary, it calls for races in London, Rome, Los Angeles, Miami, Beijing, Putrajaya, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. The goal is to add two more events for next year.

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“Zero emission world class motor racing is a scintillating concept and I am hugely keen that London be involved in the birth of Formula E,” says Boris Johnson, the battery-electric proponent who also serves as mayor of London. “It has the potential to highlight the impressive strides being made in the manufacture of electric vehicles and hosting a street race could also be of considerable economic benefit to our city.”

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First Look: Nissan Leaf NISMO RC

Nissan ponders the possibilities of battery car racing.

by on Apr.18, 2011

Nissan reveals a race-ready version of its Leaf battery car at the NY Auto Show.

Who says green cars have to be slow and boring?

True, you won’t set any land speed records with the likes of the Nissan Leaf, but the Japanese maker is nonetheless studying the motorsports possibilities of a specially tuned NISMO RC – as in Racing Competition – version of the little battery car.

Set to make its formal debut at this week’s New York Auto Show, the Nissan Leaf NISMO RC bears a clear resemblance to the more conventional battery-electric vehicle that started rolling into U.S. dealer showrooms last December.  But there are also some significant differences, including a carbon fiber monocoque that’s 20% lighter than the stock Leaf’s platform.

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To further curb weight – which comes in at just 2,068 pounds for the Leaf NISMO RC – Nissan engineers have switched to a 2-door design while trimming the car’s wheelbase by 3.9 inches, though it’s 0.8 inches longer overall and 6.7 inches wider.  The most distinct difference is height, the race version lowered nearly 14 inches compared to a standard Nissan Leaf.  Ground clearance has been cut to 2.4 inches from the stock 6.3.

They’ve tossed out such unneeded items as the radio and navigation system, and the side windows don’t roll down.  They’ve also relocated the battery closer to the middle of the Leaf NISMO RC to improve its center of gravity.

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Is Formula One Going Green?

FIA considering new battery car series.

by on Apr.05, 2011

FIA Chief Jean Todt is charged up about racing electric cars, and may launch the first series by 2013.

Hitting 200-plus miles an hour down the straight you’re likely not thinking much about matters like mileage or CO2 emissions.  But up in the Formula One suites, well, that’s another matter entirely.  And after encouraging teams to develop hybrid systems for their F1 racers, the sport’s top brass may be ready to take things to the next level.

The Formula One governing body is planning to launch a series of electric car race series that could eventually generate a battery-powered rival to F1 itself.

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“We want, as soon as possible, to have new categories with new energy,” Jean Todt, president of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, or FIA, told the British newspaper, the Telegraph.

Don’t look to find Michael Schumacher behind the wheel, at least not initially, nor is it clear whether major players like Ferrari or Team Red Bull will be signing on up front.

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