The Tesla Electric GT Racecar Is Strangely Quiet During Races


The Electric GT Championship is going to put the Tesla to the test. But, if you’re expecting loud, high-power revving, in a similar vein to almost every other car championship in human history, you’re in for a shock. Thanks to the electric motors powering the vehicle, Tesla’s racer is strangely quiet around the track, even at the word go.

“No attention-grabbing exhaust or engine noise, no aurally hostile warm-up procedures,” said Top Gear’s Paul Horrell in a story published Sunday. “Just here, and then not here. Once it’s out and running, it’s so stealthy as to be beyond audible range for most of a lap, only announcing itself on the nearby corners by a drumming of its tires on the curbs, then a jet-like whistle as it whooshes past the pits on the straight.”

The test model, a modified Model S P85D, gives a hint of what’s to come in the championship. The lack of sound makes things seem slightly slower, and it makes it harder to understand when racers are accelerating.

The team is currently working with musicians to produce noises that would sync up with track action, while a mass of live data will be sent to the cloud giving detailed breakdowns on everything including brake inputs, battery temperature, and motor power. These are intended to plug in the gaps and bring back the sense that spectators will know what’s going on: the organizers are even considering placing a screen displaying vital stats on the car itself.

The cars competing will be modified versions of the Model S P100D, the world’s fastest production car. In Ludicrous Plus mode, the car is capable of achieving 0-60mph in just 2.28 seconds. But Electric GT’s version is capable of going way faster, thanks to a barebones interior that leaves it with only the steering wheel, seat, screen, and pedals. In a test earlier this year, the car achieved 0-60mph in just 2.1 seconds.

The races will see up to 20 identical cars competing in eight rounds starting around the middle of this year. Each team pays €895,000 ($945,921) to participate, which covers two cars for a minimum of seven races. With seven spaces for sponsors per car worth around €1,400,000 total ($1,479,800) there’s a potential to make back earnings, but Electric GT’s lower profile means it’s a riskier bet than opting for more traditional races.

Races will take place on seven European courses and three courses in the Americas, all limited to 37 miles. After a practice session and a 60-minute qualifier, two races will take place, one in the morning and one in the evening, streamed live over YouTube.

Watch the Electric GT racecar in all its silent glory here:

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