The Roborace car has been revealed, with a design straight out of a sci-fi film and an emphasis on a clean design with high downforce. The Roborace autonomous car will make up a support series for Formula E with the vehicles all using driverless technology to pilot themselves around the track.
A field of 20 cars – run by 10 teams – will line up before Formula E races, with the first event set to take place during the 2016-17 season. All the cars will be the same, at least to start with, and it is up to the teams to develop the software and technologies to get their models over the line first.
All electric, the cars will run in one hour races over the full Formula E championship season. The series is intended to help accelerate the development of autonomous driving systems in the same way that more manufacturers are getting on board the Formula E series as rules open up to allow in-house designed systems.
Jaguar, Renault and DS Automobiles are all manufacturers who are already on the grid, or have signed up and confirmed to enter, in the belief that the series can quickly bring on new developments in electric vehicle systems. Motorsport has long been used as a test bed for advanced designs and organisers of the Roborace series will hope that it can become the Formula 1 of its sector.
With no space for the drover to worry about, the Roborace car resembles a Gran Turismo Vision concept. The reason it has a design straight out of Hollywood is because the styling was penned by Daniel Simon, who has worked on films such as Tron Legacy, Captain America, and Oblivion. There is plenty of substance to back up the futuristic design though as Simon has previously worked with the likes of Lotus, VW, Audi, Bentley and Bugatti.
He said: “My goal was to create a vehicle that takes full advantage of the unusual opportunities of having no driver without ever compromising on beauty. Racing engineers and aerodynamicists have worked with me from the beginning to strike that balance. The Roborace is as much about competition as it is entertainment. Therefore – and quite unusual in today’s racing world – beauty was very high on our agenda and we work hard to merge the best performance with stunning styling.
“It was important to us that we generate substantial downforce without unnecessary parts cluttering the car to maintain a clean and iconic look. This is largely made possible by using the floor as the main aerodynamic device and we are currently developing active body parts that are more organic and seamless than solutions today.”
Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said: “Today is an historic day for motorsport, and the car industry in general. This first image of the Robocar, designed by Daniel Simon, represents a vision of what cars will be, a vision of our future. In Formula E we are proud to promote, together with pioneers like Denis Sverdlov and Daniel Simon, a revolution in the world of motorsport, a project that will change the future of mobility.”