ecoGP promoter Rafael de Mestre says the electric road car series prefers 24-hour races over shorter events because they create better competition for a wider variety of stock EV road cars.
Speaking to GT-Eins, de Mestre explained that longer races allow less powerful EVs to compete for outright wins because of the focus on strategy and efficiency over outright pace.
The series has organized a number of races and ‘road trips’ for electric road cars but its most successful has been the 24 Hours of Oschersleben, held twice in winter 2018 and 2019.
Last November’s race had powerful Tesla Model S and Model 3s as its most populous cars, but second and third place went to a KIA e-Soul and Renault Zoe; both cheaper and less powerful than the winning Model 3.
De Mestre says this variety wouldn’t be possible with a shorter race distance, as results would be decided by outright pace rather than strategy encompassing economy and well-timed charging stops.
“We have noticed that races that are considerably shorter than 24 hours only favor cars with high battery capacities,” de Mestre explained.
“A race of 12 hours or shorter will always be won by a Tesla, because they have batteries with up to 100 kW and therefore these cars need less charging time for short events.
“At 24 hours it is theoretically conceivable that a KIA, a Golf or a Renault Zoe will win the race, because then it depends all the more on the right strategy regarding the allocation of the stints and charging times.
“We prefer shorter circuits because there is more traffic despite the low average speeds.
“This requires that the pilots are concentrated on the track all the time, in order not to increase their energy consumption too much despite the additional overtaking and overlapping.
“The shorter track length thus creates an additional tactical challenge in competition via the traffic.”
De Mestre doesn’t rule out future ecoGP events focusing on outright pace, saying the series is “about emotionally gripping people”.
He plans to discuss future plans with the FIA to evaluate the regulations for an updated series in 2022 with approval from motorsport’s international governing body.
Harald Gallinis contributed to this report