Worryingly, the battery overheated after just a lap and a half.
After a long delay, the one-make Electric GT Championship is finally happening later this year. The Tesla GT P100DL that will compete in the event was recently unveiled in Barcelona, and now we get to see the electric racecar in action. Invited to Barcelona for an exclusive first drive, who better to take it for a spin than Tiff Needell? Not only is he known for presenting Top Gear and Fifth Gear, he’s also a former racing driver.
This means he’s able to use his experience to give an insight of how it performs on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – though he admits he hasn’t driven around the circuit since his days as a Jaguar Formula One driver 20 years ago. We get a closer look at the car’s flax fiber body, aero bits, racing suspension and brakes, grippy Pirelli slicks and stripped-out interior.
All these changes have made the Electric GT 1,000 pounds lighter than a standard Model S. The video also gives us an idea of the incredible speed the electric racecar is capable of on a straight while all you can hear is the whooshing of the wind. The powertrain has been tweaked to produce 778 horsepower and 734 lb-ft of torque , resulting in a 0-62 mph time of a blistering 2.1 seconds – that’s 0.3 seconds faster than the Model S road car. He was impressed with how glued to the track the car remained but admitted "it's hard to predict how successful this formula is going to be."
Worryingly, the battery started to overheat after driving for just one and a half laps, causing the car to rapidly lose power – that doesn’t bode well considering it will need to last 30 minutes in a full Electric GT race, but there’s still time to improve it before the championship begins in November. As well as the added weight of the battery, this is one of the challenges electric racecars will need to overcome.