New Tesla Model S Racing Series to Launch Next Year

Electric GT World Series aims to bring EVs to production-based touring car racing.

Tesla Model S Racing
Craig F. Walker / The Denver Post

Formula E, the world’s first sanctioned all-electric racing series, landed two years. While it hasn’t won over everyone, it has done heavy lifting to put zero-emissions motorsport on the map. But Formula E is an open-wheel spec series, meaning an identical field of single-seat chassis, like IndyCar. The world of GT racing, cars based on mass-market bones, has remained an all-petrol affair—until now.

The Electric GT World Series, announced this morning, aims to be world’s first all-electric production-based auto racing championship. It’s the brainchild of entrepreneur and philanthropist Mark Gemmell, CEO of Electric GT Holdings. He and technical director Agustin Payá are seeking ten teams for its inaugural season next year. The first car nominated for race duty? The 416-horsepower, rear-drive Tesla Model S P85+, which ceased production in 2014.

“We are making only small changes to the production Model S P85+ such as improved braking and aerodynamics to increase high speed grip. We will strengthen suspension, braking cooling and steering as well as reducing overall weight,” Payá says. “The rest—powertrain, battery, programming—everything is original.”

He adds that testing is already underway at the Barcelona Catalunya Formula 1 Circuit.

The Electric GT World Series hasn’t received official sanctioning from an international motorsports governing body yet. But Payá claims he’s gained “secured the support” of both the Royal Spanish Motorsport Federation, as well as the FIA, which oversees F1.

If the new series does come to fruition, there's serious potential. The Model S battery is nearly three times the size of a Formula E racecar’s 28-kWh pack, meaning much longer races and more complex strategic considerations. Above all else, the mainstream appeal of Tesla might be able to do something even NASCAR and F1 can’t: Draw new eyeballs to motorsport.