The electrification of motorsports continues. Porsche announced it would be leaving the Wold Endurance Championship to compete in Formula E, joining manufacturers Renault and Jaguar. Audi, having cancelled its all-conquering R18 TDI LMP car, has taken over the ABT team to and will race the Audi e-tron FE04 instead.
Racing was banned in Switzerland following the tragic 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans, where dozens of spectators were killed, yet racing will return to Switzerland for the first time in more than six decades with the addition of a race in Zurich to the 2017/2018 Formula E schedule. The quiet appeal of electrification has brought racing to the downtown core of cities like Paris and Moscow.
The irritating sound of a Rotax warming up on pre-grid is why tracks like Goodwood ban karts from running before 10:00 am, even on race day. So with all the attention and benefits of electrification, it comes as no surprise that BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products, makers of Ski-Doo and Rotax) are going electric.
“With the introduction of an all-electric zero-emission low-noise kart, BRP is positioned to fully seize and shape new markets. Ongoing innovations in electric technology and shifting consumer demand enable us to extend the performance and thrilling experiences of the acclaimed Rotax racing DNA to our new electric powerpacks.”
The key features of this new powerpack will include:
- A high-performance lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 2.5 kWh,
- A top performance of 20 kW and 46 Nm,
- From 0 to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds, and
- A top speed of 130 km/h.
“This new powerpack is a ground-breaking development, and we are very excited to be taking our first step into the world of electrification,” said Thomas Uhr, General Manager BRP-Rotax and Vice President Powertrain BRP. “As the world of powersports continues to advance, it is important that we evolve our business to embrace emerging trends. Our new offering will be a complement to traditional race-day excitement, and we are thrilled to be using new technology to provide an alternative, high-level powersports experience.”