The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) through its sanctioning body International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) has announced a joint venture and strategic sustainability project with specialists Quimera, defining the objective of a global, non-fossil-fuel based championship.
ALMS will showcase a new fully electric racing vehicle at selected events throughout the 2012 racing season, most likely using a version of Quimera's AEGT (All-Electric GT) for demonstration runs with the intention of launching a new international electric racing series - perhaps as early as 2013.
The intent of this joint venture is to spearhead a new International Electric Vehicle series, the first clean technology professional motorsport championship. The IEV series is expected to include various categories and will remain open to any OEMs that with to showcase and develop their own green credentials in a cost-controlled environment, ALMS said.
ALMS has been a leader in embracing clean racing with its Michelin Green X Challenge at all races. "We have often quoted the fact that the most important race in the world is the race among automobile manufacturers to develop new sustainable transportation solutions," said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the Panoz Motor Sports Group that encompasses IMSA/ALMS. "Our alliance with Quimera is the embodiment of that race as it enables us to continue our leadership in green racing and takes us to the next level.
"We have been actively seeking a practical and viable opportunity to develop EV motorsport and we believe Quimera's technologies and plans are absolutely on target," Atherton proclaimed. "As the 'Global Leader of Green Racing', the opportunity to link these events to our American Le Mans Series weekends provides an ideal fit for all involved."
The championship will, most likely begin in the United States at races run in conjunction with ALMS. An international scope has been outlined with the intention to invite any national governing body, promoter or country from around the world to join this project, including motorcycle manufacturers.
Quimera already anticipates support of the TTXGP World Championship, currently the world's leading international electric series, as evaluations continue into the possibility of joint race weekends with TTXGP. "Electric motorsport represents an opportunity to drive innovation beyond technology; this partnership is part of our shared vision for the next generation of motorsport," said Azhar Hussain of TTXGP.
There are several categories of racing under consideration for this proposed series: Under the banner of GT racing, there would be the AEGT (525 kw for an estimated 700 bhp) in the Quimera GT carbon fiber chassis car already built; Touring GT (300 kw - 390 bhp) with prototypes under construction by Quimera; NB class highlighting slightly modified road legal cars with a powertrain up to 150 kw.
In the open wheel arena, the proposed series would include an F3-type (300 kw - 390 bhp) racer like the Formulec EF01, which has been in the design, development and testing stages for the past two years. This would lay foundations for an open category adhering to powertrain options up to 350 kw with a carbon fiber chassis.
Formulec has been widely active in the European racing arena and is "delighted to be associated with IMSA and Quimera's new EV series," said Eric Barbaroux, president. "Together we will propose new 100 percent electric-powered racing categories while also identifying race promoters, teams, drivers, partners and media equally eager to develop this new approach to racing."
Because its basis in sports endurance racing, ALMS is also considering an LMP-type racer for this potential series. It's also looking into an all-electric drift car, such as the Quimera/Letteriello AEDC01 with powertrain up to 250 kw and the TTXGP option.
Quimera's board chairman weighed in thusly: "This project is not simply confined to developing environmentally friendly cars; it also concerns encouraging the dramatic shift soon to occur in the way the industry has operated up until now," said Javier de Rocafort. "More important than the act of car racing is how we actively evolve and prepare the future for coming generations. In this regard, our partnership with IMSA and ALMS allows us to investigate and better understand the potential applications of these new technologies in the toughest possible environment," de Rocafort explained.
The partnership between IMSA/ALMS and Quimera is expected to develop further by empowering R&D activities with both new and existing technologies, encouraging added technology transfer and racing's essential role as a test bed for the automotive sector. A key goal is to establish a series operating at the forefront of motorsport's clean technology development.