The FIA has announced technical regulations for a new electric-powered GT car category, which it says will ‘serve as a platform for manufacturers to develop technology relevant to their high-performance road cars.’
The electric-powered GT cars will compete at full-length permanent circuits and set new standards for electric vehicles in motorsport in terms of performance and range. The performance will be on par with the current generation of GT3 cars but exceed their combustion engine-powered counterparts in acceleration and qualifying pace.
The technical regulations aim to balance permitting OEMs to promote brand features and develop cutting-edge technology while preventing cost escalation. The category will be open to electric vehicle constructors and manufacturers already committed to the GT3 class.
Those competing in GT3 are permitted to use their existing GT3 cars’ base architecture and convert them to electric power. Depending on the base model, the car’s minimum weight will vary from 1490 to 1530kg. Setting this weight threshold, the FIA believe, will limit the use of expensive materials.
‘The market for high-performance electric road supercars is on a constant rise; hence electric GT is much needed a platform to allow manufacturers to develop and showcase their technology, says Leena Gade, FIA GT Commission President. ‘Creating these technical regulations has been a key project for the FIA GT Commission over the last eighteen months.’
The new class will be the first FIA series in electric-powered motorsport not to rely on standardised batteries. It will allow for batteries to accommodate any car’s architectures with different scope available to install critical components.
Through a partnership with energy firm Saft, a Total subsidiary, the category will allow manufacturers to build bespoke battery modules based on Saft-supplied cells. Saft has developed custom-made lithium-ion pouch cells optimised for the needs of the new class.
The peak output of the electric-powered GT class will be 430kW. The cells are capable of 700kW peak regen and 700kW fast recharging, enabling them to replenish to 60% of their capacity within a few minutes during a mid-race pit stop. The charging network will be developed to meet the fast charging requirements and, depending on the venue, will include elements of permanent and temporary infrastructure.
Xavier Mestelan Pinon, FIA Technical Director, remarked, ‘The main technical challenges are battery development, battery integration in the cars and fast charging technology. That is crucial to the manufacturers who want to develop road-relevant technology rather than relying on standard components. Also, being able to utilise and adapt the GT3 platform ensures that costs are under control.’
All manufacturers will have the freedom of choosing the powertrain set-ups, comprised of either two or four electric motors, with both two- and four-wheel-drive configurations allowed. Entrants will also be permitted to use torque vectoring (dynamic vehicle control systems to automatically adjust each wheel’s torque independently based on speed, acceleration, traction, and steering angle).
‘GT manufacturers have shown a keen interest in this new category during our Technical Working Groups discussions,’ notes Gade. ‘It also widens the FIA’s GT portfolio, coexisting alongside with GT3, which will remain the focus of the customer racing market worldwide for the time being.’
The electric-powered GT class alines with the FIA’s long-term vision for sustainable energy based racing across its portfolio of motorsport disciplines. FIA President, Jean Todt, said, ‘The FIA’s vision is to make motorsport a laboratory for sustainable mobility. The announcement of this new electric-powered GT car category is a key milestone serving this goal as it will pave the way for new battery and fast-charging technologies.’