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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lola Drayson bids for Formula E supply

The new Lola-Drayson partnership is aiming to be the chassis and drivetrain supplier to the FIA's new Formula E series.

The partnership took the wraps off its first collaboration - the all-electric B12/ 69EV - at the Cleaner Racing Conference in Birmingham's NEC today.

However, the LMP1-based car is just a showcase for the electric technology beneath the surface. It is this that forms the basis of Lola-Drayson's supply tender.

"The shape of the car will look very different," Lord Drayson said. "That's because the regulations in Formula E are completely open on aerodynamics, so therefore you start with a clean sheet of paper.

"It's going to be central cockpit, a cross between a single-seater and a Le Mans car, a real emphasis on reducing drag because of the importance of low-drag - not so much downforce as you'd see on a single-seater car, but active aerodynamic surfaces to give you sufficient downforce.

"We already have a design on the drawing board at Lola - it looks great, but it looks like nothing else."

The deadline for submissions is January 17, with a decision made at the World Motorsport Council meeting on March 9.

Should Lola-Drayson get the deal, the all-new car is expected to hit the track for testing in the final quarter of 2012, with Formula E starting in 2013, although an official calendar of eight street races is yet to be finalised.

Formula E has an almost open rulebook, with the main stipulation being a maximum battery weight of 300kg. Drayson believes it has the potential to revolutionise racing.

"We want to encourage the mainstream manufacturers to participate in this. These cars will have torque-steer, and torque-steer is very relevant to road-car technology.

"The challenges of high-performance electric motor cooling are very relevant to the road car industry. And the fact the cars are going to be raced on streets right at the heart of cities makes it very relevant to the agenda of people, and that's what motorsport has to target."

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