DTM promoter ITR has released its vision for the future of racing with a new concept including automated pit stops, electric or hydrogen fuel cell power and up to 1000bhp race cars.
The company has released a futuristic concept for a more sustainable race series that would revolutionise motorsport as we know it.
ITR says it could run alongside DTM, providing manufacturers with an unprecedented opportunity to design and develop its own high-performance electric vehicles of the future.
The concept includes the supply of energy from two different sources – regular battery, already used in many electric/hybrid vehicles, or fuel cell technology, which transforms hydrogen into electrical energy.
Pit-stops would also be revolutionary: large industrial robots would not only replace all four wheels, they would also remove and replace the battery pack or hydrogen tank located in the car’s underbody. Over the course of a 40-minute race, each car would require a mandatory stop for fresh power.
With a high-performance electric powertrain, these futuristic race cars would be capable of power outputs exceeding 1000bhp for brief periods of time, and of achieving top speeds in excess of 300kph (185mph).
Cars would incorporate the batteries and hydrogen tanks within the carbon-fibre monocoque – most likely in the underbody, where weight distribution would be optimal – with the option for quick removal and replacement during pit-stops.
ITR states that the introduction of such a huge project would primarily depend on three factors:
- Technical feasibility: while the tech is achievable, it needs to be balanced against the requirements of a racing series. Any technical implementation must not come at the expense of the show or the speed of the car.
- Financial viability: a glide-path to all new regulations must be agreed upon, and the strain of preparing and implementing these changes must not be overwhelming
- Fan, manufacturer and sponsor interest: any changes must be for the benefit of the sport and its chief stakeholders. If a joint vision is agreed upon, then a way forward can be found.
ITR chairman, Gerhard Berger was asked about the concept and gave an insight into the idea.
“Let’s be clear, we regard this as a possible expansion of ITR’s portfolio on the DTM platform. We have the expertise at organising events, years of experience at creating efficient technical regulations in co-operation with our manufacturers, and long-standing relationships with the suppliers who develop and produce parts and components.”
He went on to discuss DTM’s work on a more immediate hybrid racing series:
“We need to be open-minded about what’s happening in the automotive world. And although hybrid and electric vehicles have established something of a foothold, I think motorsport has been lacking a truly new and inspiring concept up until now. We’re now talking with a significant number of automotive manufacturers and suppliers who would like to become more involved in motorsport. This proposal offers them a first look at something tangible – and exciting.”
Berger has recently shown some criticism of series including Formula E, the current alternative energy racing series:
“I’ve always said that Formula E is justified as a marketing platform, and that I can understand why many companies are getting involved. My criticism was directed at the sport itself, because I think the cars are too slow and the driving style too strongly characterised by strategy and energy management.
The cars showcased in our conceptual study offer something completely different. Here, we’re talking about high-performance racing cars which – just as in DTM – are fast, spectacular, and able to race wheel to wheel. Another benefit is the fact that these cars will look like the cars you can buy at a dealership – they’ll be recognisable and distinct to each brand manufacturer. So, fans will be able to identify with these machines.”
So the bullet points:
- Electric or hydrogen fuel cell powered cars
- 1000bhp and capable of 200mph, making them faster than ever
- Standardised battery technology for the series
- Robots carrying out pitstops – changing battery packs and wheels
It definitely seems a radical shift from DTM’s previous fire-breathing V8s, but could pay a key role in keeping racing alive during a shifting climate in terms of environmental awareness.
The most likely outcome is that some of the technology is used and a full on change to this concept will not happen for many years, but it should prove an interesting experiment nonetheless.