The FIA has launched a new set of technical regulations for Electric Sport Vehicles (FIA ESV), the Federation’s first-ever ruleset for electric-powered vehicles, closely derived from road-going production cars and destined for competitions at national and regional levels.
The FIA ESV ruleset, approved by FIA World Motor Sport Council this week, is designed to allow affordable, entry-level electric racing in compliance with the FIA’s standards for high-voltage safety. The regulations cover both technology and safety, with performance management also an option depending on competition requirements.
TAILOR-MADE FOR MEMBER CLUBS AND MANUFACTURERS
The primary target recipients for the FIA ESV regulations are FIA member clubs, in order to grow safe and sustainable motor sport for the future. The unique advantage of this new ruleset is that it enables the same car to be used across a variety of different sporting formats, from circuit racing to various sprint-type events, including those that require vehicles with road-legal homologation, consequently allowing competitors to drive to and from the actual events.
The ability to offer modified electric vehicles ready for competition and built in conformity with recognized FIA regulations will enable the manufacturers to offer cars ready for competition straight “out of the box”. Alongside the FIA member clubs, competition promoters and organizers, manufacturers’ customer racing departments and independent race teams will all be engaged to build this new market segment.
GROUP N SPIRIT
Much like the Group N of the past, the objective of the FIA ESV ruleset is to have cars with minimal adaptations from the road-going production model. Reflecting the latest trends on the road car market, the class will be open to both Grand Touring cars and four-door, coupe-shaped sports sedans, with the maximum chassis height set at 1460mm.
As per the technical regulations, the bodywork shape must remain fundamentally unchanged, with the exception of the possibility to extend the wheel arches to accommodate wider racing tires and additional cooling ducts. In order to save weight, selected bodywork panels, such as the rear hatch and doors, the rear wing and the diffuser, will be replaceable with equivalents made from lightweight materials that maintain original shape.
The class is also destined for cars with a minimum production volume of 300 units over the first 24-month period from the homologation of the road car, resulting in prototype or low-production specials being ineligible. FIA ESV is open to both rear-wheel and four-wheel drive cars, with a minimum power output set at 300kW, which roughly translates to 410bhp.
BENEFITING FROM FIA’S KNOW-HOW
FIA ESV benefits from the expertise which the FIA has gained over the years of managing high-voltage technologies in motor sport competitions. The cars must be fitted with a safety light system, as used in other competitions for electric and hybrid-powered cars.
Given the inclusive nature of the ESV ruleset and potentially wide range of vehicles built to it, the event organizers will have the option to have the cars grouped according to their performance levels, based on the Performance Factor methodology, which is successfully used in FIA competitions, for instance in hill climb racing.
Performance Factor creates a value for each car based on figures representing weight, power unit and aerodynamic performance, along with transmission and chassis parameters, allowing vastly different cars to compete against each other in groups based on their performance levels.
Depending on the format of the competition, ESV will also offer the opportunity for real-time energy consumption monitoring through an FIA data logging system.
Marek Nawarecki, FIA Director of Circuit Sport, said: “As the governing body of world motor sport, our responsibility is also to ensure that our knowledge and expertise are available to our member clubs as well as local organizers 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 role. 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.”
Lutz Leif Linden, FIA GT Commission President, said: “The FIA ESV ruleset very much responds 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. The fact that the regulations are inclusive and accommodate four-door cars reflects the latest trends on the road car market. We already see several manufacturers having sporty four-door grand coupes in their line-ups.”