Video: the Drayson B12/69 electric racing car takes to Rockingham race track to strut its stuff.
It’s an astonishing beast. Though it won’t feature in the inaugural season of Formula E, many of the exotic technologies featured on the Drayson B12/69 can be expected to shape development of the customer cars that every team will use in 2014. The racing-green vehicle looks Le Mans-ready and features many innovations, such as wireless charging and regenerative damping. Another is the lack of a mechanical differential.
“If the computer says ‘no’, you could end up with one wheel going backwards at 170mph and other going forwards – a bit of a problem,” says Paul Drayson, who heads the team, before highlighting a rigorous safety process designed to eliminate such disasters.
The test drive proves that a complete absence of sound is a fallacy. The Drayson goes past at speed with a whistling roar like a fighter jet, all aero and tyre noise. In this environment, speed – not sound – is king. Spectators don’t expect screaming engine noises when watching the Tour de France or from the America’s cup. Yes, Formula E will be a very different prospect to its sibling Formula 1. But nothing we’ve seen so far would suggest that the new series will be any the worse for it.
Drayson continues: “It looks great, goes like stink and has a completely different sound. To me, it’s the sound of the 21st century.”