Electric Racing Academy launch, Zolder, 2019

New Electric Racing Academy series launched at Zolder

Other motorsport

Posted on

| Written by

A new two-tier electric series for Formula 4-style cars, was launched on Monday at Belgium’s Zolder circuit.

The Electric Racing Academy (ERA) will feature two classes, ‘Sport’ and ‘Innovation’, both using the same Dome F110 chassis seen in the Japanese Formula 4 championship, albeit adapted for electrification and given the ‘110e’ designation. F4-specfication tyres supplied by Michelin are mandated for both classes.

The Sport class, using a specification ready-to-race chassis adapted via a special sub-frame designed by ERA in conjunction with Cranfield University, is powered by a 133kW electric motor and 400v 24kW/h battery pack.

The Innovation class permits freedom on motor unit and energy store provided limits on power, energy and maximum weight (650kg, for safety reasons) are not exceeded. Although four-wheel-drive is currently banned, ERA technical director Dieter Vanswijgenhoven told RaceFans the regulations will be progressively relaxed so front hub motors could feature in future.

“We’ve got a maximum weight limit but no minimum, because that is what we would like to encourage in the Innovation class,” he explained, adding that twin rear motors would also be welcomed. “The only restriction is 24kW/hour, plus of course we need to ensure that safety standards are maintained.”

Electric Racing Academy launch, Zolder, 2019Both classes will race simultaneously. Four double-header rounds will be held: Two at Zolder and one each at Zandvoort and Brands Hatch. The opening round is scheduled for the mid-September, and features on Zolder’s European Solar 24 Hour Challenge. The UK round will support the Formula Ford Festival at the end of October. The championship intends to add further rounds in future.

Two qualifying sessions of 15 minutes each will precede two 23-minute heats per weekend, with charging between races banned. Solar energy will receive preference where such installations exist – such as at championship partner Zolder where it is provided by Belgian motorsport company The Driving Force.

The championship plans to run electric-specific marshalling courses at featured circuits, and cars are fitted with on-board self-extinguishing battery packs in addition to standard F4 safety features. As the FIA’s F4 championship adopts F1-style halos, the safety device will also be mandated as part of ERA’s chassis upgrade.

Prices have been fixed at €110,000 for a ready-to-race Sport car, and €90,000 for the Innovation rolling chassis, excluding taxes.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Other motorsport

Browse all other motorsport articles

10 comments on “New Electric Racing Academy series launched at Zolder”

  1. A good thing not to expensive and innovation is open. I will check the race at Zandvoort how it looks on high speed. 650kg and around 180horsepower should give a nice racing.

  2. Really interesting initiative. I do hope it helps get racing/development towards the top level available for more drivers

  3. Hopefully Rob Smedley’s graduates may progress into this series.

    There is huge scope for innovation here, training ground for a whole generation of new electrical racing engineers. With four motors you get: Braking energy recovery, electric suspension, ABS, traction control, steering assist, electronic cornering assist.
    Peltier effect cooling (maybe)

  4. Luke Longnecker
    21st January 2020, 14:54

    I have no tolerance for Formula E, but this actually looks intriguing.

    I’ll definitely have to watch a race or two.

  5. @dieterrencken Wondered what you were doing at Zolder such that you tweeted about the sad state of Gilles’ statue. Now I know. Great stuff.

  6. Minor point … the battery is 24 kWH, meaning 24 kW for a period of one hour.
    The text indicates 24 kW/H or per hour. Net 32 HP with no time factor.

    I tried watching a FE race last weekend. Lasted about 15 minutes into the over-hyped promo / intro.
    Got the sense this is the worst of a combination of a low budget Game-Show and Major League Baseball.
    The camera change every 2 seconds was somewhat disorienting.
    Enough of the FE bashing, this series looks interesting. The first that I have seen that really provides some incentive for technical inventiveness. Most of the innovation I have heard of in FE was aimed at getting around the rules. This series offers up some tangible benefits to the creative types. The web site is a little skinny, but it is a start.
    One thing that might kill it is success. If the development class jumps waaaaay ahead of the Sport class, and it should, then as Connor MacLeod said, “there can only be one”.
    Hope they don’t impose success ballast or similar limitations.
    This is where the manufacturer’s could easily put some time, people and effort in to development, showcasing expertise and creative design. Sounds a bit like World Rally 30 years ago.
    Bring it on, could and should be interesting.

    1. @rekibsn, I would agree that, in a number of ways, this is potentially a more significant development for electrically powered motorsport in terms of opening up more opportunities at a junior level.

      The standard car will potentially be comparable in performance to a conventional petrol engine powered Formula 4 car – the 23 minute running time is pretty similar to the standard length of a Formula 4 race, the weight is similar and so is the potential power output – and it is also competitive on price to a standard Formula 4 car as well (running costs should be similarly competitive too).

      What has been lacking for some time were viable junior series that could act to feed major series with drivers and experienced team personnel, particularly those who have knowledge of being able to develop a car. The “Innovation” class does have the potential risk of cost escalation, but the standard class looks like it could potentially be an interesting and competitive addition to current Formula 4 series.

  7. …the weight is similar…

    How can you say that? The electrics give a maximum weight of 650 kg, Formula 4 gives a minimum weight (about 500 kg although all the regulations seem to leave that blank), and with batteries the electrics will be at the top of the weight limit. Energy density (megajoules/kg) of (very advanced) lithium batteries is about 11% energy density of petrol, calculating in efficiencies of 100% for electric (to be really nice) and 30% for petrol. I also ask why the car configuration with sidepod radiators, etc. would stay the same; there would seem to be much opportunity to reduce drag et al with lower cooling requirements and different weight balances.

    I know that if my old Atlantic car had to run at 650 kg it would have been quite a bit slower…….

    1. SteveR, Formula 4 cars have a minimum weight of at least 570kg – the FIA clearly states it in their regulations – although in practise the actual weight the cars run at depends on the type of engine which has been homologated for that particular series. The proposed power output for these cars though, at 180bhp, is slightly greater than for a standard Formula 4 car (normally 160bhp).

  8. Amazing stuff!

    What a concept limit maximum mass!!! Le teams innovate, is 4WD drive with extra weight better than RWD with less mass? Let’s find out on track.

    2 engines without differential or 1 engine + diff? Who knows.

    Sounds like amazing fun.

Comments are closed.