The GT4 e-Performance prototype shows what an all-electric future for Porsche customer motorsport could look like – a future that’s not only focused on impressive performance, but also values resource efficiency and sustainability.
Sustainability goals like reducing resource and energy consumption are also a key issue in racing. That’s why, in 2021, the development department in Weissach decided to build a prototype for an electric racing car for customer motorsport: the Porsche GT4 e-Performance.
The entire project has revolved around efficiency, right from the start. The reason for that is two-fold: Firstly, economic requirements in customer motorsport mean that teams need reliable high-performance vehicles that win races – while keeping operating costs manageable. The GT4 e-Performance’s innovative materials reduce both resource usage and costs, for example of tyres and doors.
Secondly, the electric drive system allows large amounts of energy to be recovered during the race (recuperation). The calculation is simple: The more energy an electric racing car recovers on the track, for example while braking, the smaller the batteries can be – and the lighter and more agile the racing car becomes.
More sustainable racing is about more than just the cars.
When it comes to resources and energy at motorsport events, racing cars only account for a small amount of consumption. Fan travel and accommodation make up a much larger share. Racing event logistics, including racing car and paddock transport, also have a high energy price tag. That’s why DB Schenker is on board for the worldwide GT4 e-Performance Tour, as partner for resource-saving logistics.
Powerful partners are also involved in the construction and operation of the racing car prototype: Michelin is producing racing tyres with a high proportion of sustainable materials. Long-standing partner ExxonMobil is involved through its Mobil brand via joint developments in the field of coolants and lubricants for the racing car: Innovative direct oil cooling of the e-motors and battery pack developed by Porsche counteracts thermally induced derating of the electric powertrain in a highly efficient way – making full power available over the entire race distance.
Further innovations include natural fibre composites for vehicle doors, whose production should generate fewer emissions than production of comparable synthetic materials.
The GT4 e-Performance: sparking the reinvention of racing
Sustainable racing doesn’t stop with the racing car. That’s why Porsche Motorsport wants to work on solutions across many different fields in the GT4 e-Performance project: What, for example, does a sustainable charging infrastructure for the electric cars look like? Which race formats best suit the electric drive’s unique capabilities? How can fans experience the best in racing without having to travel long distances? What incentives would encourage hotels to make their operations more sustainable? On the GT4 e-Performance Tour, Porsche is engaging in a dialogue on these and other questions, with all motorsport stakeholders, and beyond. At the SXSW Festival 2023 in Austin, for example, Porsche is also inviting the general public to engage in a conversation about more sustainable racing as part of a series of presentations at Porsche House. The GT4 e-Performance will be on display in front of the Austin Convention Center from 10-14 March and is looking forward to sustainable attention.
Porsche is also pursuing a more resource-conserving motorsport development beyond lighthouse projects like Formula E or the GT4 e-Performance. In the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, racing cars have been powered by a blend of primarily advanced biofuels since 2021. The next step will be to use synthetic fuels made from hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide. A separate environmental management team is also dedicated to, among other goals, establishing standards for the reduction and separation of waste in the paddock and instituting more efficient logistics – topics that will surely become standard practice in future electric racing series.