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Electric GT racing is coming thanks to the FIA’s new category

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FIA's electric GT racing category will feature highly precise torque vectoring

The Formula E Championship for single-seat, open-wheel cars is now into its seventh season and has attracted a number of major automakers that field their own teams.

However, we still don’t have an electric racing series for cars closer to what we can buy at a dealership. That looks to be changing.

While there have been some false starts, the FIA, motorsport’s governing body, on Wednesday announced a category for electric GT race cars packing similar performance to current GT3 cars but with even better acceleration.

The category, which doesn’t have a name yet, is intended to serve as a platform in which automakers can develop technologies to be transferred to the world of production cars.

One of the biggest hurdles is developing an electric GT car that can handle more than a couple of sprints. Formula E cars have the advantage of low drag and low weight which means they can last the distance.

FIA’s electric GT racing category will feature highly precise torque vectoring

The cars in the electric GT category will have a minimum weight of about 3,300 pounds, which is higher than current GT3 cars. You can imagine how quickly the battery will be drained racing something this heavy, especially since the category calls for the use of full-length permanent circuits instead of the small street circuits used in Formula E.

To get around the battery issue, the category calls for batteries that recharge at rates of 700 kilowatts (both from brake energy regeneration and charging at the pits), which is three to four times as much as most high-speed public chargers. According to the FIA, charging at the pits could replenish 60% of the battery within a few minutes. The battery capacity will be 87 kilowatt-hours.

Car constructors will use a common battery cell supplied by Saft, a subsidiary of French oil giant Total, but will be able to build their own battery packs, meaning they will be free to choose the layout.

The constructors will also be free to develop their own powertrain, albeit with output capped at 577 hp. The allowed options will include two- and four-motor setups, as well as rear- and all-wheel drive. The powertrains will also be able to precisely adjust the torque going to the wheels based on speed, acceleration, traction and steering angle.

A proposed date for the start of racing in the new category is yet to be announced.

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2022 Genesis G70, 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS, 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: This Week’s Top Photos

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Electric Porsche Macan development

Genesis this week kicked off its European launch with the reveal of a sexy G70 wagon. It’s based on the updated 2022 Genesis G70 sedan, and sadly we won’t see it in the United States.

Electric Porsche Macan development

Porsche plans to offer an electric Macan alongside an updated version of the current gas-powered model. While we’ve previously spotted the updated gas model, Porsche this week provided a glimpse of the new electric Macan for the first time.

2023 Porsche Cayenne Coupe facelift spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2023 Porsche Cayenne Coupe facelift spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Another Porsche out testing was an updated Cayenne. Porsche’s Cayenne range is about to undergo its mid-cycle refresh and the changes look to be more substantial than normal. Our latest spy shots show a prototype for the more dynamically styled Cayenne Coupe.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS production at plant in Sindelfingen, Germany

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS production at plant in Sindelfingen, Germany

Mercedes-Benz reached a major turning point with the start of production of its first dedicated electric vehicle, the 2022 EQS. The big sedan is due in showrooms this fall with a 108 kilowatt-hour battery, or enough for 400 miles of range.

2021 Lexus IS350 F Sport

2021 Lexus IS350 F Sport

Lexus has a new generation of its IS sedan on its hands, one that boasts bold styling and a sport-tuned chassis. The car is more of a heavy update of the outgoing IS than a true redesign, and this becomes evident after a quick drive.

2021 Acura TLX Type S

2021 Acura TLX Type S

An alternative to the IS is Acura’s new TLX, which comes in sporty Type S guise. The TLX Type S is serving as the official pace car at this weekend’s Mid-Ohio round of the 2021 WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, ahead of the showroom appearance later this month.

2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Chevy engineers were spotted testing a hotter version of the mid-engined C8 Corvette, and it’s likely the new Z06. We hear it will run a naturally aspirated V-8, and some video footage of the tester seems to confirm it.

2022 Ineos Grenadier prototype

2022 Ineos Grenadier prototype

The Land Rover Defender-inspired Ineos Grenadier is undergoing durability testing ahead of the start of production in 2022. That’s about a year later than originally planned, but a lot has changed in the past year, and that’s before you factor in the disruptions caused by the coronavirus.

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1-of-5 Pagani Zonda Revolucion coming up for sale

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Pagani Zonda Revolucion (Photo by BH Auction)

Now’s your chance to own an extremely rare Pagani Zonda Revolcion. The car is one of just five built, and is being readied for sale by the company BH Auction.

Unveiled in 2013, the Revolucion is a track-only version of the Zonda, and an evolution of the previous Zonda R track car. It was also meant to be the last Zonda production model, although Pagani has blurred that line somewhat by continually rebuilding individual chassis for customers. The Zonda was officially replaced in 2011 by the Pagani Huayra, itself now coming to the end of its production run.

Power is provided by a Mercedes-Benz AMG-sourced 6.0-liter V-12, producing 800 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque. A carbon-titanium monocoque chassis and carbon-fiber bodywork keeps the curb weight down to 2,360 pounds, making this 800-hp supercar lighter than a Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Pagani Zonda Revolucion (Photo by BH Auction)

The Revolucion also features a 6-speed sequential gearbox, carbon-ceramic brakes, and elaborate aerodynamic elements that incorporate a Formula One-style Drag Reduction System (DRS).

This particular car also has blue-tinted carbon-fiber body panels, meaning it’s likely the car Pagani brought to the 2014 Geneva International Motor Show, which was originally sold to a customer in Japan. At that time, the price was estimated at around $3 million.

The Revolucion wasn’t street legal in stock form, but British firm Lanzante offers a conversion. Lanzante specializes in these kinds of conversions, having previously built street-legal versions of the McLaren P1 GTR track car. At least one of the five cars was converted for street use as of April 2021, reportedly for Russian tuning company TopCar.

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Mazda looked to the future in 1981 with the MX-81 concept

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1981 Mazda MX-81 concept car undergoes restoration at SuperStile in Turin

Mazda has displayed its first concept car, the MX-81, now restored and accompanying the company’s newest and first electric vehicle, the MX-30 crossover utility.

As were so many concept cars for Japanese automakers in the 1980s, the 1981 MX-81 was designed in Italy, in this case at Bertone by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The concept, alternately known as the Bertone Aria, also was restored in Italy, by SuperStile of Turin, a product-engineering and prototype-building workshop established in 2015.

Due to the pandemic, the cars were presented on the 40th anniversary of the MX-81 via video conference from Hiroshima, Japan, and from Rome and Turin, Italy, with the cars presented in front of the Duomo di Milano, the cathedral in Milan that also has been the backdrop for the debut of the MX-81.

1981 Mazda MX-81 concept car undergoes restoration at SuperStile in Turin

1981 Mazda MX-81 concept car undergoes restoration at SuperStile in Turin

1981 Mazda MX-81 concept car undergoes restoration at SuperStile in Turin

1981 Mazda MX-81 concept car undergoes restoration at SuperStile in Turin

1981 Mazda MX-81 concept car undergoes restoration at SuperStile in Turin

1981 Mazda MX-81 concept car undergoes restoration at SuperStile in Turin

1981 Mazda MX-81 concept car undergoes restoration at SuperStile in Turin

1981 Mazda MX-81 concept car undergoes restoration at SuperStile in Turin

1981 Mazda MX-81 concept car undergoes restoration at SuperStile in Turin

1981 Mazda MX-81 concept car undergoes restoration at SuperStile in Turin

1981 Mazda MX-81 concept car undergoes restoration at SuperStile in Turin

1981 Mazda MX-81 concept car undergoes restoration at SuperStile in Turin

1981 Mazda MX-81 concept car undergoes restoration at SuperStile in Turin

The creation of the MX-81, powered by Mazda’s new turbocharged and fuel-injected 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, was motivated by a desire to imagine how people would interact with a vehicle equipped with computers. The car featured digital displays and a CRT screen within the rectangular “steering wheel.” We put steering wheel in quotes because instead of the conventional wheel, the car was steered via a flexible plastic belt that surrounded the rectangular “wheel.”

‘Steering wheel’ didn’t turn, but the belt around it did and was used to steering the vehicle

‘Steering wheel’ didn’t turn, but the belt around it did and was used to steering the vehicle

At the time, Mazda reported, “With its gold paint, huge glasshouse and pop-up lights, it stood out at the Tokyo Motor Show, but with its recessed square steering wheel, TV screen cockpit and side swinging front seats, it was arguably the interior that was the most radical. A one-off concept that certainly met the defy convention ethos of MX models, it led to a future relationship with Bertone, while things like the high-mounted taillights and pop-up headlamps appeared in future Mazda production cars later in the eighties.”

Mazda indicated the MX-30 was motivated with similar goals for accelerating the future, and now incorporating an electrified powertrain.

MX-30 and MX-81 photo opp Mazda indicated the MX-30 was motivated with similar goals for acceleratin

MX-30 and MX-81 photo opp Mazda indicated the MX-30 was motivated with similar goals for acceleratin

The MX-81 reportedly had been stored away for many years in a warehouse in southern Japan, and it underwent mechanical freshening at Mazda’s workshops before being sent off to Italy for the exterior and interior restoration.

The car’s creation is shared in a 13½-minute video with Italian subtitles. Even if you don’t understand the language, the images and the enthusiasm of Giugiaro and others is instructive of what went into the car’s design.

This article, written by Larry Edsall, was originally published on ClassicCars.com, an editorial partner of Motor Authority.

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