Spark Racing Technologies have been announced as the constructor for the second-generation Formula E car.
Spark, who also produce the current SRT01 Formula E vehicle, have won the tender to supply the control chassis to be used by the category from the fifth competition season onwards.
Dubbed the SRT05e, the introduction of the new chassis will come at the same time as the introduction of new control batteries to be produced by McLaren Advanced Technologies allowing drivers to complete an ePrix for the first time without the need for swapping cars.
While the battery efficiency is likely to improve over the current package, the extra energy capacity is still expected to add an estimated 10 kilograms mass to the car. To counter this increase, Spark’s concept for the SRT05e includes a focus on the materials used to lower the chassis base weight.
Individual manufacturers and teams will to continue to develop their own powertrains to fit into the SRT05e, running the McLaren battery system.
Alongside the announcement, Spark have released initial concept images of the SRT05e showing a number of key design elements.
|The STR05e marks a radical departure from the current-generation Formula E racer|
In a departure from the current Formula E car, the new vehicle is technically not an open-wheeler: the front wheels are enclosed in individual pods, while the rear of the car features an LMP-style engine cover incorporating the rear wheel arches.
With no distinct rear wing visible, it appears that the majority of downforce will be generated under the car – an idea further pushed by the significant diffuser present at the rear of the car.
The front of the car has a visual link of continuity with the current generation car as an upper bridge and lower wing spans between the wheel pods and the nose, much like the updated nose cone introduced for the 2016/17 season.
A proactive focus on improving driver safety in the new car is also clear, with the concept images showing two potential solutions for frontal head protection.
The first is an Aeroscreen-type shield, similar to that which was developed and trialled by Red Bull Racing during 2016.
The second option is a completely closed-in canopy which flows into the engine cover, giving the car a look unique look for any single seater in international competition.
The concepts should impressed many in the motorsport industry by the clear message Formula E is driving to improve frontal head protection for the driver – without the history or traditions which seems to be delaying Formula 1 in this area, Formula E can undoubtedly take a stand and implement it.
Spark’s timeline for the introduction of the SRT05e aims to have the first prototype chassis completed by late 2017, whereupon initial testing can commence. Teams and constructors will receive their new chassis in early to mid-2018, ahead of the start of the 2018-19 Formula E season.
Images via Spark Racing Technology