China will have an all-new electric racing series next year, with the XPT China Electric Car Championship planning a multi-class format featuring prototype and touring cars.
Launched earlier this month at Ningbo International Circuit, the championship will feature an initial six-round calendar, kicking off at the Geely-owned circuit in April and potentially concluding at the Macau Grand Prix weekend in November.
Backed by Chinese EV technology firm XPT, the sister company of NIO, and the Geely-funded Yi-Hood Racing, CECC will feature a bespoke prototype EV featuring a XPT powertrain.
The car, powered by a single rear-mounted electric motor, is currently capable of completing 40-50 minute races with top speeds capped to 200 km/h, according to Yi-Hood founder and CEO Leo Zhang.
“We started two years ago but if you are racing, you have to have a racing car,” Zhang told e-racing365. “It’s taken two years to make the prototype car. Now we have five teams [committed] already.”
Zhang said a total of 15 of the prototypes will be built, with the company seeking a partnership from an EV battery producer to develop the technology and extend the car’s current range.
Two of the XPT-powered prototypes completed demonstration laps during last weekend’s Macau Grand Prix and were on display in the paddock.
It’s come after an intensive testing and development program that began earlier this year.
“We did public testing in Ningbo and drivers from different teams came,” Zhang said.
“Before we only had one official driver to test. But in Ningbo we had plenty of other drivers come and test. The car is quite interesting to drive.”
Zhang said the second class, comprised of TCR-style race cars, will initially feature a spec powertrain and battery, with commitments already from two Chinese manufacturers.
China is the world’s largest EV market, with 20 OEMs currently producing all-electric cars, accounting for 60 percent of the world’s EVs.
“The manufacturers want to do it,” Zhang said. “Now they are cutting budgets from petrol cars to electric. They need a championship to showcase.
“There are so many manufacturers in China. I think there’s a big future.”
Zhang said they are talking to motorcycle companies for a potential MotoE-style support series and have also considered creating an electric rallycross series utilizing the base chassis of the prototype.
In addition to XPT and Geely, CECC also has early support from Michelin and KW suspensions.
2019 China Electric Car Championship Schedule:
April 21 — Ningbo International Circuit
May 19 — Jiangsu Wantrack International Circuit
June 23 — Goldenport Park Circuit
Sept. 9 — Tianjin International Circuit
Oct. 13 — Wuhan International Circuit
Nov. 17 — Ningbo or Macau Guia Circuit