Drayson confirms participation in Formula E electric racing

Electric racing pioneer Drayson Racing Technologies (DRT) has become the first team to confirm its participation in Formula E, the all-electric motor-racing competition set to begin next year.

Owned by former UK science minister Lord Paul Drayson, the team will initially compete with a car supplied by the series promoter, Formula E Holdings (FEH), but aims to develop its own drivetrain for subsequent years.

formula E
The initial Formula E customer cars will be based on this Formulec prototype

Formula E will operate as a series of 10 races on city circuits involving 10 teams, starting next May; Rio de Janeiro and Rome have confirmed that they will host races. Speaking at yesterday’s Low Carbon Motorsport Conference in Birmingham, FEH chairman Alejandro Agag said that more venues will be announced shortly.

FEH has purchased 42 cars from a consortium including McLaren, which is developing a drivetrain, and Spark Racing Technologies; four of these will be supplied to each team. DRT will help test the car during 2013. Initially, all the teams will use these cars, but will be encouraged to develop their own motors, control systems and energy storage for subsequent seasons.

The Drayson B12/69EV prototype car will act as a test-bed for Qualcomm’s charging technologies

Electronics and inductive charging specialist Qualcomm is to sponsor DRT’s Formula E team, and will also develop its Halo wireless electric vehicle charging technology with the company, using the Drayson B12/69EV prototype electric racer unveiled last year. Drayson also intends an attempt on the electric land speed record in the car this year.

‘We are hugely excited about the prospect of competing in the opening season of Formula E,’ said Drayson. ‘We aim to be one of the front-runners from the start.’ DRT works closely with YASA Motors, the Oxford-based company that develops compact wheel-hub motors, and may include this technology on its future Formula E cars.

The Engineer will publish an in-depth report on the engineering developments of Formula E later this month.