Drayson pure-electric racer “as fast as a Formula 1 car”

Lola-Drayson Le Mans prototype packs 850 horsepower, hits 200mph!

By Will Dron on January 12, 2012 2:02 PM

The world’s fastest electric car has been unveiled at the 2012 Low Carbon Racing Conference in Birmingham. With 850hp at its disposal and a top speed of 200mph, the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV Le Mans Prototype is set to wow the racing world with its Formula One-like performance.

The car made its debut yesterday at the 2012 Low Carbon Racing Conference at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre, ahead of the Autosport International show, where it takes centre stage until Sunday, 15th January.

Not only is the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV promising to be the world’s fastest electric racer but also packs a number of innovative technologies, including inductive charging, moveable aerodynamics and electrical regenerative damping (recovers energy from movement of dampers), making it one of the most innovative motorsport projects out there.

There are no fewer than four electric motors located in the space normally occupied by a bellowing V8 or screaming V12 engine (after we heard the similarly monstrous Quimera AEGT car, you can bet this Drayson isn't exactly silent, either).

The idea is to demonstrate that electric vehicles can lap race circuits faster than the current LMP1 cars – the most powerful Le Mans racers on the grid.

The B12/69EV is actually a touch heavier than most LMP1 cars – it tips the scales at just over 1,000kg, while winners of the infamous 24-hour race generally stick as close as possible to the 900kg minimum weight. However, with electric motors comes oodles of torque, so we’ll be interested to see the car setting some lap times.

Of course, being pure-electric, we don’t expect the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV to last more than about 20 minutes on the track when driven at full pelt, but 20 minutes is about the same duration of most club races. And would it be mad for us to suggest the possibility of battery swapping in the pits in the future?

Strength in British motorsport

The B12/69EV is the work of Drayson Racing Technologies in partnership with the Lola Group. Lord Paul Drayson, former UK Government Minister for Sciences and Innovation and current President on the Motorsport Industry Association, said:

“Electric racing represents a considerable new business opportunity for motorsport and underlines the growing commercial potential of green racing and technology. Electric-powered racing is really taking off with the launch of the new FIA Formula E world championship (read James Allen's article on Formula E here) for electric racing cars planned for 2013 and we are thrilled to be at the forefront of the push for innovation at such an exciting time for the sport and industry.”

It’s also just two years since Lola’s Executive Chairman, Martin Birrane, and Lord Drayson first discussed the opportunity to work together on a technology project.

“The speed, with which this project has progressed, from initial discussions to unveiling of this vehicle in a matter of months, clearly demonstrates the strengths of the British motorsport sector,” said UK Trade & Investment CEO Nick Baird, a key speaker at yesterday’s conference. “This development represents a major new business opportunity and underlines the growing commercial potential of low carbon racing.”