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Spark-Renault Formula E single-seater race car is silent, deadly

Curious about the Formula E all-electric race car championship starting in September 2014? Feast your eyes on the car that all participants will be driving during the opening season.

It’s called the Spark-Renault SRT_01E and, as the name suggests, was co-designed by Spark Racing Technology and Renault Sport, with no small amount of help from a few key parties.

McLaren supplies the electric motor, Williams supplies the battery pack, Renault supplies the driveline bits that make those systems work together, Dallara provided the monocoque design and construction and Spark handled the suspension, aerodynamics and assembly duties.

“We were enthusiastic about this project right from the start because it gave us a chance to explore new paths, Renault Sport Technologies technical director François Champod said. “No-one had ever designed an electric single-seater with this kind of performance, manufactured in short production runs and developed according to a tight deadline.”

“We factored in a number of constraints, including mass, safety and thermics. Harnessing the complementary skills of the consortium members, the Spark-Renault SRT_01E is an excellent synthesis of current knowledge. We are sure that it will prove to be a stand-out single-seater in motorsport history,” he added.

Renault, which officially announced it will be entering the Formula E Championship, says it used its knowledge of F1 to ensure the car was safe and optimised for the rigours of racing around each of the continents and cities involved in the championhip. So far these include Europe (London, Berlin, Rome), Asia (Beijing, Bangkok, Putrajaya) and The Americas (Los Angeles, Miami, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires.

The first season of Formula E will comprise 20 drivers split into ten teams for each race.

The Spark-Renault SRT_01E will have a minimum weight of 800kg, 200kg of which will be in the battery pack. It’ll use a 270bhp electric motor, which is good for 0 to 62mph in three seconds with a top speed of 124mph.

In an interesting twist, drivers will have access to the full 270bhp during qualifying, but power is limited to 180bhp during the actual race. The reason for this, Renault explained, is so drivers have access to a “push-to-pass” mode that temporarily gives drivers the full output for a temporary burst of speed similar to the KERS system in Formula One.

Exact track layouts are unknown – we’re guessing this is still being finalised – but our inner video game geek hopes to see Formula E cars flying past Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

The first season of Formula E will run from September to 2014 to June 2015.

In related news, Qualcomm announced it will be playing a significant role in the championship, providing safety cars with wireless charging.

 

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