Formula E has set a new indoor speed record, 135.9 mph (218.71 kph), smashing the previous record of 102.7 mph set by the Porsche Taycan in 2021.
The record was set at London’s ExCeL center, the site of this weekend’s Formula E season finale. The track has a unique indoor-outdoor layout, enabled by Formula E’s zero-emission operation.
The record run started with some brief acceleration, then a quick turn at ~25 mph before a .176-mile (283-meter, 929-foot) straightaway, which also functions as the start/finish straight of the Formula E race.
In that straight, less than a quarter mile, the Formula E car accelerated from 25 to 135.9 miles per hour. Formula E driver Jake Hughes was behind the wheel for the record run.
The car used for the record is a modified Formula E Gen 3 car, essentially with all the restrictions taken off. Formula E calls this the “GENBETA” project.
The Gen 3 car actually has two electric motors, front and rear, but the front motor is only used for regenerative braking. This is largely done for racing purposes – open-wheel racing has always been rear-wheel drive, so the Formula E Gen 3 car sticks with that tradition.
But it’s not a technical limitation, that motor can still accept power. On the GENBETA car, the front motor was switched on to provide more power, bringing total power of the vehicle to 400kW rather than 350kW.
In addition to that, the car was given stickier tires and some aerodynamic improvements for straight-line speed.
Here’s a short video of Hughes’ record run:
There aren’t a lot of indoor spaces this large, this open, and with a floor that enables quick acceleration, so the ExCeL center, already prepared as a racing track, was a great opportunity to really set this record properly.
The previous record was held by another electric car, the Porsche Taycan, set in a New Orleans exhibition hall in 2021. The hall in question is the largest contiguous exhibit hall in the US.
To watch the Formula E cars in action (albeit without the front motor switched on), you can tune in this weekend to the season-ending doubleheader, with races both on Saturday and Sunday. The race is now in its third year at ExCeL’s indoor-outdoor track and has provided some interesting and chaotic racing in the past – including a wet race in 2021, with cars going between wet and dry surfaces every lap, providing unique challenges for cars and drivers. To tune in to the race, check out Formula E’s “Ways to Watch” page for info on viewing in your territory.
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