► First news of the Porsche EV race car
► Up close and personal with 99X Electric
► Ready for 2020 Formula E season 6
The new Porsche 99X Electric has been unveiled, proving that the fabled sports car brand isn't merely launching roadgoing electric vehicles (EVs) in 2019 - it's also going racing in them.
It's part of a seismic shift at the Porsche brand, reflecting its move into electrification. And the age-old adage that racing improves the breed is being carried over, as the baton passes from petrol power to electric competition. It's quite the volte-face.
After several years of hybridising its saloons and SUVs, Stuttgart is now ready to launch its first full EV and Porsche will reveal the Taycan electric car at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show in September. The race car is designed to complement the Taycan and they promise technical learnings from Formula E will percolate through to the road cars eventually.
Porsche Taycan electric car: your essential briefing
The Porsche 99X Electric race car
The 99X is the fruit of a full factory race team - Porsche might have quit LMP1 and the World Endurance Championship, but it's kept the same team behind the successful 919 Hybrid and redeployed it on the Formula E effort. Unlike other manufacturers who're relying on third-party outfits to launch their FE cars (such as Audi and ABT), Porsche has kept it all inhouse.
Head of Formula E operations Amiel Lindesay downplayed the brand's ambitions in its debut season. 'We will be the rookies,' he said. 'We have to be realistic in year one - we hope to be on the podium, but we shall see.'
Despite the modesty, you sense a well-funded operation - and one with decades of experience in top-flight motorsport. We'd be surprised if Porsche didn't shake things up a bit, at a time as more manufacturers join the Formula E competition. It's also worth noting that this category already has incredibly close racing, with a wide variety of teams taking the chequered flag, as the FIA strives to ensure close rivalry.
A guide to Formula E
Specs and details
The 99X Electric follows a familiar template for Formula E racers, where the rules encourage sensible budgets through shared chassis components and batteries; Porsche is adamant there is ample wriggle room to finesse the finer points in its own way, though power electronics and energy management. The tech specs look something like this:
- Minimum weight 900kg (including driver)
- Battery capacity 52kWh
- Battery weight 385kg (included in 900kg total above)
- Qualifying power 250kW (335bhp)
- Race power 200kW (268bhp)
- Attack mode power 235kW (316bhp)
- Fan Boost power 250kW (335bhp)
- Porsche 99X dimensions 5160mm/1770mm/1050mm (L/W/H)
- Top speed 174mph
- 0-62mph 2.8sec
CAR magazine has pored all over the new Porsche electric race car and can confirm it is a good-looking Formula E entry, neatly finished in the brand's typical white, black and red livery. It looks impossibly low with just 75mm ground clearance, but you can see nods to the budget cap in details such as the treaded tyres more akin to road rubber and more limited telemetry than in LMP1.
The Formula E race car was unveiled in a novel fashion on Twitch, the live social video platform. Users could get involved directly with the world debut using gameplay to unlock access to the car in a live event on the evening of 28 August 2019, which involved solving clues and directing the race drivers André Lotterer and Neel Jani around a Porsche warehouse where the 99X Electric was hidden.
Twitch's Adam Harris told CAR magazine it was a 'mass participatory digital launch' and a clever way to reach out to younger and more connected audiences. So if you wonder where brands are directing money saved on physical events such as old-fashioned motor shows, now you know...
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