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Drayson Racing to make attempt for FIA World Electric Land Speed record with modified Lola-Drayson LMP EV

Lola-Drayson B12/69EV at Rockingham in January. Photo: Drayson Racing Technologies. Click to enlarge.

Drayson Racing Technologies will make an attempt for the FIA World Electric Land Speed Record in the sub-1000kg class on 25 June at RAF Elvington in Yorkshire using a modified version of the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV electric Le Mans Prototype (earlier post). Lord Drayson, CEO and co-founder of Drayson Racing Technologies (as well as former UK science minister) will drive the EV flat-out along Elvington’s 1.86-mile runway.

Lord Drayson will aim to better the current record of 175 mph (282 km/h) set by Battery Box General Electric in the United States and which has stood since 1974. This record has held firm for nearly 40 years due to the technical challenge of running an electric vehicle consistently and reliably at such speeds when weighing less than 1000 kg, Drayson said.

It is not the outright speed that is impressive about this record attempt, but the engineering challenge of accelerating a 1000kg electric vehicle to such a high speed and sustaining that speed over a measured mile, before stopping safely all within a relatively short distance then turning round and doing it again within an hour. It’s a tremendous technical challenge but we believe it’s about time someone moved this record on to demonstrate just how far EV technology has come.

—Lord Drayson

The Drayson B12 69/EV was not originally conceived as a land speed car. Having raced the Lola chassis in sports car championships around the world powered by a second generation bio-fueled Judd V10 engine, Drayson Racing Technologies took the decision to explore the potential of the electric drivetrain and use the familiar Lola chassis as a starting point. This provided the team with a tougher engineering challenge than starting from a ground-up design—particularly in packaging the drivetrain to maintain the rigidity and crash safety of the original car.

To challenge for the record, some changes have been made to the set-up of the car and drivetrain that are consistent with racing at a low downforce circuit. This will give the B12 69/EV the traction to achieve maximum acceleration in the short distance available, sustain maximum speed over a measured mile and stop safely.

The reason we are doing this is to showcase the maximum level of EV performance at the moment—and in a real racing car rather than a teardrop-shaped land speed record car. We are also demonstrating the future potential of technologies like wireless charging in speeding the adoption of high performance EVs. It’s a great way to build up to the Formula E championship that we are competing in from 2014 and will demonstrate that Britain is at the forefront of this vital technology, which I believe represents the future of the automobile.

—Lord Drayson

The basic Drayson B12 69/EV with a carbon Lola LMP1 chassis is powered by a 30 kWh battery pack encased in a carbon battery cell integrated into the chassis to become a structural component. The battery is designed to be modular offering a range of power, capacity and weight configurations. Four axial Flux Motors (2 per rear wheel) with integrated transmission generate 640 kW (850 bhp). The vehicle is charged by a 20kW QualcommHalo wireless charging system.

For the land-speed record attempt, the bodywork has a low-drag configuration. Power is reduced to 480 kW (600 bhp), and the high-power battery pack is reduced to 20 kWh. Weight is below 1000 kg without a driver.


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