Utah: Corsa Motorsports Friday test day notes

Corsa Motorsports' GZ09 runs on pure electricity during Saturday's qualifying The first official test of the Corsa Motorsports Ginetta-Zytek hybrid prototype race car was "purely electric,'' and said Steve Pruitt, owner, "very...

Corsa Motorsports' GZ09 runs on pure electricity during Saturday's qualifying

The first official test of the Corsa Motorsports Ginetta-Zytek hybrid prototype race car was "purely electric,'' and said Steve Pruitt, owner, "very successful.''

After more than a week in preparation, the high-tech car made its first official test run shortly after noon on Saturday at the Miller Motorsports Park track in Tooele, Utah.

The car can run under three power systems -- internal combustion engine, as a hybrid and on pure electricity . . . "It was the first time, now that we've found solutions to earlier problems, that we ran as a pure (electric vehicle). It took a test run and everything was fine. It's a very expensive golf car now, but a very fast one.''

Driver Johnny Mowlen left the pit area under electric power and hit between 50 and 60 miles per hour for testing, "and I could easily have gone 30 miles per hour more.

"I couldn't get it up to full speed, but the car ran perfectly. It felt very, very good. It was a great demonstration.''

The only sound Mowlen could hear as he pulled down pit row for the test was the whine of the electric motor and the whistling of the wind through his helmet.

It was, as one spectator said, "very different . . . not a sound, certainly now what you'd expect.''

A lot of attention has been directed at the Corsa Motorsports hybrid, said Bill Gibson, president of Zytek Group, because the car is on the cutting edge of electric vehicle technology.

"This is the future,'' he said. "The limiting factor in all this is the battery. We've come a long way. The battery we used 11 years ago in our first vehicle had to be lifted by a crane. The battery in this car is small very small by comparison. What we learn from this car is vitally important for future development.''

Running only on its 4.0 liter, internal combustion engine, around the 4.5-mile course at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, the car turned in the third fastest run during Friday's test session.

There was a problem, however, in trying to switch to electrical power during the run.

"It's like I've said so many times, this endeavor is very much like the NASA space program. In the beginning it was one step forward and three steps back. We are at the very beginning of this technology, but as this test run showed, we're getting there,'' said Pruitt, president of Corsa Motorsports.

The car will attempt to qualify today for the American LeMans Series' Larry H. Miller Utah Grand Prix.

-credit: cm

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Series ALMS
Drivers Steve Pruitt