FIA President Jean Todt and Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings, revealed the much-anticipated new Spark-Renault SRT_01E fully-electric single-seater during the opening day of the prestigious 65th International Frankfurt Motor Show.
Watched by invited guests and members of the press, the SRT_01E has been designed and built by Spark Racing Technology, headed by the renowned Frédéric Vasseur, together with a consortium of the leading manufacturers in motorsport, and will compete in the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship - the world’s first global electric race series beginning in September 2014.
Using the very latest technology, the SRT_01E aims to push the boundaries of what is currently achievable in electric motorsport, whilst ensuring a balance between cost-effectiveness and sustainability, in addition to coping with the demands of racing entirely on city-centre circuits.
The car’s monocoque chassis has been constructed by leading Italian firm Dallara and has been aerodynamically designed to aid overtaking. Made from carbon fibre and aluminium, the chassis will fully comply with the 2014 FIA crash tests.
Providing the electric motor, gearbox and electronics is McLaren Electronics Systems, the world leader in high- performance technology for motorsport. Williams Advanced Engineering, part of the Williams group of companies that includes the world famous Williams F1 Team, is responsible for the design and supply of the batteries and their battery management systems; producing 200kw (the equivalent of 270bhp).
Overseeing all the systems integration, performance optimisation and powertrain electrical safety is Formula E’s Technical Partner Renault, a leader in electric vehicles and an expert in motorsport thanks to its Renault Sport Technologies and Renault Sport F1 programmes. Meanwhile, custom made 18-inch treaded tyres have been created by Official Tyre Partner Michelin, with just one durable tyre to cater for both wet and dry conditions and helping to reduce overall costs and promote sustainability.
“I congratulate all partners involved in the production of the fully-electric SRT_01E car – it is a fantastic achievement,” said FIA President Jean Todt. “The innovative technology deployed follows the best environmental practices, highlighting the potential of the Formula E Championship to spark a revolution in the development of new electromobility systems, not just for motorsport but also for everyday use. This new championship builds on the FIA’s traditional role as a leading promoter of innovation, technology and performance in the automotive sector.”
The car, which has been 10 months in the making, will be used by all 10 teams and 20 drivers competing in the new zero emission series although only for the first season as Formula E is an ‘open championship’ designed to encourage manufacturers to build their own car to help accelerate R&D around the electric vehicle. A total of 42 cars will be produced by Spark with each driver using two cars during the one hour races.
Alejandro Agag, CEO of Championship promoter Formula E Holdings, said: “With Formula E being an open championship, the series gives manufacturers the opportunity to showcase their electrical energy innovations and we’re delighted to have Spark Racing Technology as the first, and for them to produce our new fully-electric Formula E car. Spark has enlisted the very best companies in motorsport to aid with its development, with Dallara, Renault, McLaren, Williams and Michelin all leaders in their respective fields and it’s an honour to welcome them here today. The Frankfurt Motor Show is also the perfect environment to reveal our new car. Many leading manufacturers at the Show today are unveiling their new electric road cars but not just one offs, full car ranges, demonstrating how times have changed and why the time is right to launch the new FIA Formula E Championship.”
Frédéric Vasseur, President of Spark Racing Technology, added: “I am extremely proud and happy to work with the partners Spark has gathered together to form this unique consortium, a first in the history of motorsport. I regard each and every one of these partners with the highest esteem, I have worked with them throughout my career and they have accompanied me in a lot of the successes I have been fortunate to achieve in my other activities in traditional motorsport. All consortium members are driven by a motivation to make this innovative project a success.”
Patrice Ratti, CEO of Renault Sport Technologies, said: “As a global leader for the production of electric vehicles and with a unique expertise in motorsports ever since the company was founded, the choice of Renault as technical partner to develop the fully-electric SRT_01E car for the FIA Formula E championship was obvious. Renault engineers and motorsport experts are directly contributing to the overall powertrain architecture and are in charge of electric systems' specifications and integration, benefiting from the experience acquired while developing the new 2014 Renault-Energy-F1 Power Unit. Renault is also working with Spark to enhance the performance and safety level of the SRT_01E car powertrain. The objective is to design an outstanding race car that will be clean, reliable, safe as well as fast and responsive.”
Peter van Manen, Managing Director of McLaren Electronic Systems, said: “These cars are going to be brilliant racing through the centres of cities. Electric motors deliver instant torque and acceleration and that is what McLaren is all about. Performance and efficiency. Our electric motor, developed originally for the McLaren P1™, has the highest power-to-weight ratio in the world. McLaren is proud to provide the performance behind Formula E.”
Sir Frank Williams, Founder and Team Principal of Williams, commented; "Motorsport is moving towards a greener future and the FIA Formula E Championship will be a prime opportunity to showcase the latest green technology that has its origins in motor racing. Williams has a track record in developing hybrid technologies and we are proud to be supplying the battery and battery management system for the car that is being launched today. These components will be a pivotal part of what makes the car so green and the team at Williams Advanced Engineering is working hard to develop a battery system that is reliable and makes for excellent racing."
Andrea Pontremoli, CEO of Dallara Automobili, said: “With our single-seater cars running successfully in the most important categories and championships all over the world, we could not lose the opportunity to be part of the new Formula E exciting challenge and we are very thankful to our long term partner Frédéric Vasseur for the credit he gave us. We will use all our experience and know how to design and build the best possible chassis in terms of performance, reliability, ease of use and safety. The safety aspect is particularly important for us and we are working hard with Spark and the FIA to set new safety standards for such an innovative championship.”
Pascal Couasnon, Director of Michelin Motorsport, added: “Michelin is the official tyre supplier to the FIA Formula E Championship for the next three years [2013 to 2015]. This new discipline is of special interest to Michelin because it is a means to work on the design of efficient tyres to optimise the range of the formula’s single-seater cars. These solutions need to be extremely versatile in order to adapt to different weather conditions without losing any of their pedigree as genuine racing tyres. For Michelin, it is an additional opportunity to carry over the innovations developed for motorsport from the race track to the street.”
As well as Jean Todt and Alejandro Agag, the launch event was also attended by representatives from all the Championship’s partners, sponsors and teams together with development driver Lucas di Grassi and newly-announced Racing Ambassador Gil de Ferran.
The SRT_01E will now remain at the Frankfurt Motor Show for the duration of the event, with a duplicate car also on display at the FIA Mobility Conference in The Hague on Tuesday, 11th September. After that it will undergo a stringent FIA crash test followed by an extensive testing programme.