Look beyond the gimmicks and the Formula E series, now in its second season, offers great racing, close competition and a compelling and accessible race format.
Come 2017 it won’t be the only high-profile electric racing series though, with the announcement of a new Electric GT World Series – with a field full of Tesla Model S P85+ electric cars.
Subscribe to evo magazine
The series is the brainchild of Augustin Paya, a racing driver who specialises in competing in alternative-fuel motorsports – competing in the Spanish ECOseries with Mercedes-Benz, the European Electric Races series and more recently, as a Mahindra driver in the inaugural Formula E season.
Paya sees the series as part of a strong movement in electric motorsport and important in influencing the next generation of motorsport fans, as younger people grow up with more of an environmental conscience than older generations.
While Formula E serves that purpose in the world of single-seaters, Paya wants the Electric GT World Series to represent the kind of vehicles people can actually buy – hence the choice of the Model S.
With few other road-going electric vehicles able to race for sustained periods on a single charge, the big-batteried Tesla is a natural choice for a racing vehicle – not least as it’s also one of the best-performing electric cars.
Speaking to Spanish news outlet 20 Minutos, Paya explains that other manufacturers have already shown an interest, name-checking Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar. Of the latter pair Audi already competes in Formula E with Abt, while Jaguar has plans to enter in the series’ third season.
Paya believes that series will have surpassed Formula 1 in terms of performance in ten years time. Whether it will match F1’s viewership appeal is open to debate, though Formula E is already arguably more media-savvy and F1 is seemingly doing everything it can to dissuade all but the most ardent supporters, so anything can happen.
The inaugural Electric GT World Series – scheduled for 2017 – will feature 10 teams and 20 drivers from around the world. Paya even promises some big-name talent, from F1, DTM and GT racing.