Italy's Dallara to Build Chassis for Formula E Electric Racing Series

By · February 27, 2013

Dallara Formula E

Italian racecar manufacturer, Dallara, will build the chassis for the entirely electric-powered and FIA-sanctioned Formula E racing series. The series is scheduled to officially begin in 2014, though demo runs will be held throughout this year.

The FIA-sanctioned all-electric Formula E racing series has taken another step forward, thanks to the announcement that Dallara Automobili, a top Italian manufacturer of racing cars, has been drafted to build the chassis for the fledgling series. Spark Racing Technology, a consortium of race-related companies tasked with bringing Formula E to reality, has released two sketches of the upcoming single-seat racecar. A series of demonstration events, like one held late last year on the streets of Rome, are planned for 2013.

The introduction of electric racing is expected to play an important role in educating the public (not just early adopters) about the quick acceleration and engaging driving dynamics of EVs.

All Formula E races will be held in city centers and it’s hoped that 10 teams, fielding two cars per team, will be ready once the green flag officially waves for Formula E’s first race–rumored to be in London sometime in 2014. Two teams have already committed themselves to the series. These include British-based Drayson Racing, which was the first to throw its hat in the ring, along with Team China Racing. The latter has confirmed its intention to manufacture its own Chinese-built, electric-powered formula cars within three years. Rome, Italy, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, have officially signed on to hold races next year. A full schedule is expected to be released in a matter of days. The near-silent running of Formula E racecars could work to the series’ advantage, at least in skirting worries about noise pollution in dense urban areas. Yet it remains to be seen whether diehard racing fans warm up to the sound, or lack thereof, provided by Formula E.

IndyCar Looks with EV Emissions

From the two recently released sketches, the Formula E (labeled here as a “Spark SRT_01E”) racecar bears a strong resemblance to the Dallara DW12 chassis presently used in the North American IndyCar Series. Large wings dominant the front and rear of the car, while air intakes—most likely there to keep the battery pack cool—are found on either side, and immediately behind and above the cockpit. One of the major deviations from the DW12 design, at stylistically speaking, is located up front, where the SRT_01E adopts the high nose found on today’s Formula One racecars. The F1 connection doesn’t end at the car’s prominent beak.

Dallara Formula E

Thanks to the use of lightweight materials, total weight of the Formula E racecar is 1,720 lbs. Performance is expected to be comparable to Formula One and IndyCar race cars. Races will likely be 30 minutes, or less, to ensure a balance of ultimate speed and battery charge.

The UK-based McLaren team, one of the most successful in the history of Formula One racing, is developing the electronic system and drivetrain for the rear-wheel-drive Formula E racecar. Thanks to the instant torque provided by an electric powertrain, acceleration of the SRT_01E, which is said to tip the scales at only 1,720 lbs., should be comparable to the world’s quickest open-wheel racecars. Lightweight materials, such as carbon fiber, feature prominently in the car’s construction, to help keep weight to an absolute minimum.

Speaking of the new partnership with Dallara, Frédéric Vasseur, President of Spark Racing Technology, praised both the company and its founder. “I have worked with Dallara for over 20 years and I have all the respect in the world for Mr. Gian Paolo Dallara, who is one of the greatest figures in world motorsport, as well as for his closest collaborators,” said Vasseur. “In his capacity as manufacturer, Dallara has accompanied me throughout my professional life and it is with great pleasure that Spark Racing Technology will join him and benefit from his expertise and know-how, something that will be essential for this new exciting adventure, Formula E.”

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