FIA announces plans for new electric sportscar championships from 2024, outlines roadmap for better climate protection
With Formula E and the World Rallycross Championship, the FIA has had a couple of years running exclusively electric racing championships. The electric portfolio of the World Automobile Federation is to grow further in the coming years, though: Among other things, the introduction of a new touring car series is planned from 2026, and an "Electric Sport Vehicle" rulebook is also set to be launched as early as next year. Here's how motorsport will change in the next few years.
The transformation of the automotive industry is almost unstoppable. Since the first Formula E race in September 2014, EV car sales have grown from just a few thousand units per year to over seven million all-electric vehicles being sold annually. Motorsports is also adapting to this technological upheaval: An increasing number of racing championships have plans to go "greener" and, in some cases, even switch entirely to electric power.
In its annual environmental report, the FIA, the World Automobile Federation, recently published its plans for racing in the coming years. In addition to Formula E and the World Rallycross Championship (WRX), there are to be up to four more all-electric categories by 2027: From 2024 in karting, from 2025 as an experimental class in the World Rally Championship and from 2026 in a new "Electric GT" series. The launch of the E-GT will thus be postponed by one year from the originally planned start in 2025. Instead, the introduction of a set of rules called "Electric Sport Vehicle" (ESV) is planned from 2024.
FIA roadmap for "sustainable energies" in motorsport
|F1||HY + E10 fuel||HY + E10 fuel||HY + E10 fuel||HY + e-fuel||HY + e-fuel|
|F2 / F3||55% biofuel||55% biofuel||55% e-fuel||55% e-fuel||100% e-fuel|
|WRC||HY + e-fuel blend||HY + e-fuel blend||HY + e-fuel blend or H2 or EV||HY + e-fuel blend or H2 or EV||HY + e-fuel blend or H2 or EV|
|WEC - Hypercar||HY + biofuel||HY + biofuel||HY + biofuel or H2||HY + biofuel or H2||HY + biofuel or H2|
|European Truck Racing||biofuel or H2 or EV||biofuel or H2 or EV||biofuel or H2 or EV||biofuel or H2 or EV||biofuel or H2 or EV|
|Karting||e-fuel blend||e-fuel blend or EV||e-fuel blend or EV||e-fuel blend or EV||e-fuel blend or EV|
* e-fuel blend: mixture of synthetic fuel and biofuel
This is explicitly not a new racing series, but a set of rules for road-type vehicles. This is open to both GT and "four-door, coupe-shaped sports sedans" with a minimum power output of 300 kW. The ESV rules are based on the philosophy of "Group N" and are intended on the one hand to enable manufacturer series, for example as one-make cups for Audi's RS e-tron GT, Porsche's Mission R or Taycan, the BMW i4 or Maserati's Granturismo Folgore. On the other hand, ESV-spec cars can also be added as a class in existing circuit, sprint or hillclimb races at national or regional levels.
In addition to the FIA championships, there are also other electric series that are not centrally regulated by the automobile governing body: Extreme E holds its off-road races with SUV-style buggies as a championship organized by the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM), and the world motorcycle governing body, FIM, has organized the MotoE for several years. In Germany, there is the Opel e-Rally Cup, administered by the ADAC. Plans for an electric offshoot of the DTM, on the other hand, have been on hold for several months.
European Truck Racing Championship with electric option since 2023
But there are also efforts in other championships to decarbonize motorsport. Formula 1 is to use only "sustainable fuels" from 2026, while Formula 2 will follow with the introduction of e-fuels from 2027. Already this year, sustainable gasoline from German manufacturer P1 Fuels has been used in the World Karting Championship (excluding the Superkart category), where fuel is produced from biological and synthetic sources. In the European Truck Racing Championship, electric or hydrogen powertrains can also be used since 2023 - as an alternative to HVO biodiesel, which has been mandatory in the series since 2021.
For the FIA, the electrification of racing series is part of a catalog of measures with which it hopes to make motorsport more climate-friendly. All Formula E and Formula 1 teams have had their sustainable working practices confirmed in 2023 with the so-called three-star accreditation from the FIA, in addition to offset programs for emissions and the recycling of carbon, tire and battery parts.
WEC's hydrogen offensive - Toyota presents concept car
For the time being, the World Endurance Championship WEC will not switch to batteries. However, synthetic fuels and hydrogen powertrains are to be introduced in the next few years. Toyota Gazoo Racing already unveiled a first H2 concept car at the 2023 Le Mans 24 Hours (pictured above), the second alongside GreenGT's "Mission H24" model. From 2026, there should be a hydrogen category in the championship at the performance level of current hypercars. By 2030, only hydrogen cars could be allowed in the top category of the WEC.