Electric Le Mans racer eyes Garage 56 entry

A team of Dutch students is aiming to field an electric Garage 56 entry in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

A group of 60 students from the Eindhoven University of Technology and Fontys Hogescholen have worked over one year to design and construct a battery-electric single-seater capable of reaching 285km/h.

Their target is to eventually participate at Le Mans in two years' time.

The students - whose team is labeled InMotion - have revealed their development vehicle: an all-electric formula race car weighing just 658kg and delivering 545bhp.

That will be used as a testing vehicle to understand, fine-tune and develop the electric powertrain consisting of two Yasa-750 electric motors and a battery package that would be enough to complete a lap at the Nurburgring Nordschleife under eight minutes.

Parts of the titanium suspension are 3D printed.

"Our Le Mans racer will consist of four electric motors, similar to the two motors we use in the KP&T IM/e prototype," Rogier de Rijk, team manager of InMotion, told Motorsport.com.

"It will have a small conventional engine on board too, as it's too soon to race the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a battery-powered vehicle. But the wheels will be powered electrically.

Claiming the Garage 56 entry will be a challenge as another team has been awarded the ticket to race in the 2017 edition in one of the world's most prestigious race events.

"This year in June it became clear that a French team, developing a car running on bio gas, was already a few steps ahead of us as they had secured funding and realised the monocoque," de Rijk added.

"We have yet to secure the funding to realise our dream and therefore we've developed this first electric formula car not only to test the technology, but also to showcase what we've got to potential sponsors."

Jan Lammers an ambassador

Dutch racing legend Jan Lammers, former Formula 1 driver and Le Mans 24 Hours victor in 1988 for Jaguar alongside Johnny Dumfries and Andy Wallace, has embraced the project.

"They've started from a clean sheet of paper, creating their dream and developing this vehicle," he told Motorsport.com.

"As racers, sometimes our knowledge can narrow our creativity but they prove this can be done otherwise."

The experienced race car driver is a keen supporter of various projects in the area of sustainable racing and competitions.

"It doesn't matter what year they will take part. Whether it is 2018 or 2019, they would have another year to learn from this prototype in order to develop the Le Mans race car," he said.

Lap records

The InMotion students are targeting to better the lap record for electric vehicles at Zandvoort in spring 2016.

The Nurburgring Nordschleife is their next target, attempting to lap the 20.8-kilometre track under seven minutes and 22 seconds.

Jochen Krumbach currently holds this record for electric vehicles after a successful run with the Toyota TMG EV P002 in October 2012.

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Event InMotion electric car unveil
Article type Analysis