Ex-Williams F1 engineer designs Perrinn 424 electric LMP1

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Perrinn 424 electric LMP1 racer

Thus far, Formula E is the only major motorsport to embrace totally electric powertrains for racing, but this all-electric LMP1 racer may have something to say about that.

Nicolas Perrinn, an ex-Williams F1 engineer, has developed an all-electric LMP1 racer called the Perrinn 424. The powertrain is made up of three Formula E-spec motors that produce 268 horsepower each, but the racer’s final output resides around 1,000 hp, Perrinn told in a report published on Tuesday.

Nine modules house 64 batteries to power the three motors and together they weigh 880 pounds, but Perrinn said the racer’s final weight will be under 2,650 pounds, about 730 pounds lighter than Toyota’s TS050 LMP1 racer. Without the hulking internal-combustion engine, the 424 saves quite a bit of weight. The batteries also extend the car’s length by 8 inches over the typical prototype racer.

Perrinn is aiming for a 0-62 mph time of about 2.0 seconds and a top speed of 220 mph.

While the prototype LMP1 is ready, it’s not ready for race day just yet due to battery technology. Perrinn also needs to raise funds to carry out his grander vision: bringing the LMP1 racer to Le Mans. Battery life is the biggest issue as a full charge wouldn’t last very long during the famed 24-hour-long event. The engineer said it may be four or five years before the 424 takes to the grid and he plans on working on the platform every year until battery technology allows the car to go the full race distance without the need for a charge or a battery swap. That goal seems much farther down the road than four or five years to us.

Perhaps Perrinn’s vision will be the future of the LMP1 class. The only make left representing the class is Toyota after Porsche announced it was ending its campaign to focus on Formula E.

In the meantime, Perrinn aims to beat EV lap records at the Le Mans course (Circuit de La Sarthe), Nürburgring, Paul Ricard, Circuit of the Americas, and Shanghai. He plans to begin those record attempts in 2019 or 2020.

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