A new beginning with the Grand Prix Elec

Back at the dawn of the automobile, Paris was the centre of the world of the car, with a large number of competing automobile companies fighting to win the fast-developing market with new technologies. Many of them used motor racing to showcase their products and develop technology. This is reflected in the winners in the early days of the sport with French companies such as Panhard & Levassor, Mors, De Dion Bouton, Clement-Bayard, Richard-Brasier, Renault and Peugeot lading the way, to be followed by Bugatti, Delage, Darracq, Chenard & Walcker, Ballot, Salmson, Voisin, Hispano-Suiza and many others. They were based in small workshops to the west of Paris, in a cluster around the suburbs of Levallois and Suresnes. It is apt therefore that more than 100 years later a new generation of racing car is getting its first public exposure in the same district.

The Conseil Municipal of Levallois has just given the go-ahead for the Mobygreen company to run a GP Elec – a race for electric cars – on the streets of the district, which is very different today than in the old days, thanks mainly to wartime bombing which was aimed at the nearby railway lines leaving Paris.

The race is scheduled for June 4-6 with the plan being to have a 1.8-mile street circuit running along the quays alongside the Seine and around the local streets. The mayor Patrick Balkany is a big supporter of the event which will use cars built by Porsche, Tesla and others, driven – it is said by professional racing drivers. The event will be free to the public and will be accompanied by an exhibition outlining the latest technologies and other community events, including an electric kart track with a sponsors village on the Ile de la Jatte in the middle of the river.

I think I may go…

25 thoughts on “A new beginning with the Grand Prix Elec

  1. Hey Joe,
    I read recently in Autosport about (I think) Renault developing an electric single-seater formula to start in 2/3 years too.

    Any idea of the power of machines that might be at this race or has it been ruled yet?

  2. Hi Joe, you don’t mention Citroen, but I wonder if they have any involvement as Levallois was where 2cvs where built until well into the 80’s.

  3. I’ve been saying for the last few years that the electric car has been waiting for this development. Once there is an avenue to encourage the public to actually get excited about electric cars, then there will be a way to market those same (or related) devices to a mass market.

    The next thing the electric car needs is a Ford Model T equivalent to bring real electric motoring to the mass market.

  4. That’s very good news !
    Wonder when we hear on Indianapolis:
    Ladies and gentlemen start your hybrids 🙂

    I am fan of green racing, every day checking autopia.com for news

    Good luck on your trip

  5. Surely F1 racing cars in 20 or 30 years’ time will have electric powertrains — a fixed amount of power available to the teams for each car, and the team getting the energy on to the car and translated to the wheels in the most powerful and efficient way they can come up with. The sound will be different, of course, but the formula could be tweaked so that the racing is similar.

    It would be great if some F1 drivers come on board. Shouldn’t even be too much of a logistical problem, as it’s the weekend after Monaco…

  6. This is very interesting. Imagine F1 with electric cars. Picture this: teams could only use the energy that they can harvest on the weekend of the Grand Prix (in Belgium Charlie Whiting could allow a “plug-in” to the grid for a certain time period). Instead of developing aerodynamics of no use to anyone else, you’d have advances in battery and solar cell technology by some of the top engineers that could benefit everyone. My queston is, how would electric cars generate the sound of the current cars?

  7. Sounds a lot like Green Prix which is being started by Ben Johnston utilizing electric Panoz DP-01’s and old ChampCar Reynard’s & Lola’s. Electric racing is the future.

  8. Thanks for reporting on this compelling story. I’m interested in how it will be run (race distance, regulations, etc.). I’m even more interested to see the car designs. From all indications, electric vehicles are the future, and it’s about time a race promoter has found an event that will allow manufacturers to design vehicles that will result in real-world R&D benefits. I sure hope the FIA is watching.

  9. I find this really exciting. I wish i could attend. I still have an itch for electric cars because of their early origins. I remember reading about Ford motor companies rise and the regular reference to internal vs. electric of the early years. i hope that the way Audi with the diesels at Le Mans 3 years ago can be redone in the next decade with electric cars. It would be a huge coup, but electric are not meant to run continuously, I know. But remember that Toyota electric concept car with 4 engines, one at each wheel? It could be the birth of a new category. It is very enticing to see these things as they develop. It would certainly be more noticeable than the expensive yet minor aero differences in F1. It would be as Mosley says “…distinguishable when watched on TV or from the grandstands”

  10. About time!

    Surely this is the way forward . . .

    Perhaps all current F1 teams should also have to develop (or run on behalf of a ‘manufacturer’) an electric or alternative energy car in a supporting race at each Grand Prix.

    This would literally speed up alternative energy development for the automotive industry and begin to give the sport the greener image it will need for the future.

    It would also make the sport more appealing to ‘green’-orientated sponsors who are not currently interested because they see motor racing as being non-PC.

    Eventually this ‘formula’ could replace the current oil-fuelled one.

    Anybody else agree?


    Jonathan Gee (former Editor of Sponsorship News)
    The Jonathan Gee Consultancy

  11. @ jonathan,
    If this were to be taken as the initiative, you’d have to contend with covert research for one program on behalf of the other. In the interest of cost cutting it seems that they’ve been restrcting usage of wind tunnels etc for the F1 teams. But if you introduced this initiative teams would circumvent the restrictions saying they are doing it for their other project while really just going outside the agreed limits. It would then become a problem for proving accounting claims of expenses of 1990s levels of costs for F1. I like the idea, but to think the same factory could run two similar programs without and bleed over would be silly. Then again are the improvements for Ferrari’s A1GP project in anyway a method to hide F1 development, I wonder…?

  12. Great news… In the UK bee electric cars with Martin Olgivey and uk Hillclimb champ greame wright jr are producing a hillclimb car i know its named a BRM… i have heard little these past months on the progress but i believe they are working hard at it as gwr would say….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s