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FIA launches new electric GT category

A new entry-level class for electric vehicles closely based on production machinery has been launched by the FIA. 

FIA Electric Sport Vehicle

The category to be known as Electric Sport Vehicle will be open to GT machinery and what the governing body is describing as “coupe-shaped sports sedans” with a minimum power output of 300kW (402bhp) in standard form.

ESV has been conceived in the spirit of the long-standing Group N production category to allow electric vehicles to be incorporated into existing competitions, including racing and against-the-clock hillclimb and sprint events at national and regional levels. 

It is also envisaged that the new rule set could encourage manufacturers to launch one-make series for their EVs. 

The FIA wants to use its competence in high-voltage safety in order “to grow sustainable motorsport for the future”, it said in its launch statement on Friday after the rules were signed off by the World Motor Sport Council. 

Limited scope for modifications will be allowed under the ESV rules as per Group N and it is envisaged by the FIA that cars will be made available ready to race by the manufacturers.

Only cars that have achieved a minimum production run of 300 cars in their first two years on sale will be allowed. 

Cars such as the Audi RS e-tron GT, the Porsche Taycan, the BMW i4 and the Maserati Granturismo Folgore will be eligible for the new class.

 

Marek Nawarecki, FIA director of circuit sport, said: “As the governing body of world motorsport, our responsibility is also to ensure that our knowledge and expertise are available to our member clubs as well as local organisers and promoters. 

“Therefore, having a set of technical regulations applicable to different disciplines and formats, as well as to different sporting levels, is key to fulfilling this. 

“The FIA ESV revives the spirit of Group N, where a car purchased at a dealership, fitted with all the necessary safety equipment, was essentially competition-ready and suitable for various disciplines and formats.”

FIA GT Commission president Lutz Leif Linden added that the new regulations “very much respond to the demands of the market”. 

“Having this set of technical regulations will allow the manufacturers’ customer racing departments to offer competition-ready variants of their electric cars, which should be a considerable source of revenue of them, much like GT3 is, 

“It can even open the door for them to create their own one-make series.”

Both two and four-wheel-drive will be allowed in ESV, while a maximum height of 1460mm will mean SUV and crossover vehicles will not be eligible.

The original silhouette of the car must be retained, although bigger wheel arches to accommodate wider wheels and tyres and extra cooling ducts will be allowed.

Selected bodywork panels such as the rear hatch and doors will be able to be made from lightweight materials. 

Cars developed to the ESV rules will be able to be grouped into classes under the FIA’s performance factor system based on a number of parameters, including weight, power and aerodynamics.

The cars must be fitted with the FIA safety light system developed in the World Endurance Championship for hybrid machinery and Formula E, which shows when a car is safe to touch by marshals in the event of an on-track incident. 

No mention is made of rallying in the FIA statement announcing ESV, which is a project led by the GT Commission. 

ESV is distinct from the rules for the FIA Electric GT Championship announced in 2021. 

It was conceived to create machinery with GT3 levels of performance for a series that was initially set to kick off this year with a series of pilot races. 

The plan failed to gain traction with manufacturers and remains on the back burner.

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