Pikes Peak, Colorado – The race day had sun, snow, hail, a shortened course and more than a little controversy. Yet Entropy Racing’s Electric Vehicle Sports Racers (EVSRs) took it all in stride and charged to impressive 3rd and 4th place finishes in the Electric Modified class at the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
On Sunday, June 28, Entropy Racing drivers Tim O’Neil and Rick Knoop were preparing to run the 12.4-mile course when race officials made the decision to close the top half of the mountain due to heavy snow. Sections one and two remained open, but unlike the competitors behind them, the EVSRs would run on an extremely wet race surface. Undeterred, O’Neil and Knoop changed to wet tires, then turned in the gutsy, focused drives they’re known for while pushing the lightweight EVSRs through sections one and two.
Tim O’Neil led the Entropy Racing team to a well-deserved 3rd place in Electric Modified. The #83 EVSR clocked an impressive 5:12.13 combined time, with a 2:12.393 in the first section and a 2:59.740 in the second section.
O’Neil’s EVSR is tuned for a stronger low end to complement his rally background—experience which surely helped given the dicey weather and bumpy course.
“The car was set up perfectly: it handled really well, was easy to drive and pushed a bit at the limit, which is good,” Tim starts. “As I’m a FWD, gravel kind of guy, my challenge was learning the EVSR’s immense grip levels. There was a lot more grip than I’m used to, and when I pushed it further, the car just kept giving more and more.”
The #82 EVSR of Rick Knoop finished with a 5:16.82 combined time, a mere four seconds behind O’Neil, with a 2:12.44 first section and 3:04.38 second section, for 4th place in Electric Modified.
As Knoop normally pilots high-powered sports car prototypes, Entropy Racing set up his EVSR with tall rear gearing to let him slice through the mountain’s high-speed sweepers.
“I was very satisfied with my car,” he exclaims. “It was everything I could ask for—completely dialed in, and it just pulled and pulled.
“Like our team, the EVSR communicates very well. And because I didn’t have to shift, it let me just focus on being smooth. This place is a real challenge, but the EVSR was up for it.”
The results cap a challenging but rewarding week for Entropy Racing. The team had arrived on the mountain with a history-making three electric racecars, only to lose lead driver Charles Turano’s #84 EVSR in a crash during practice. Despite the fact that he overcooked a corner, left the course at 80 mph and traveled 200 feet before colliding with a large boulder, Turano was fine. However, because of significant front-end damage, the car couldn’t be fixed in time for the race.
“It was a big impact and I’m uninjured, so I’m really glad Charlie built the car,” Turano said. “It just goes to show how solid the EVSR platform is—despite that hard hit, my EVSR’s powertrain and electronics are completely fine.”
Over 130 cars and motorcycles competed in the Race to the Clouds on the 99-year anniversary of the event. As usual the weather varied from beautiful to extreme: overall winner Rhys Millen and his eO electric car stormed to victory as the sun shined, and nearly 80 racers completed all four sections of the course.
But Sunday afternoon brought a supercell that dumped inches of snow at the 14,115-foot summit, and hail and rain halfway up. Race officials decided that the top two sections were too dangerous to keep running on, so the remaining 50 or so competitors had to make due with the first two sections.
Entropy Racing is made up of true motorsport veterans: they have driving and engineering experience in IndyCar, Le Mans, Daytona, NASCAR and Grand-Am, and driver Tim O’Neil also runs the Team O’Neil Rally School. There’s only one person under 50, and they consider themselves “A bunch of old guys having fun working together to do new things with modern technology.”
Aside from Turano’s setback, the high-tech EVSRs needed very little maintenance during race week. Along with their race-proven chassis and suspensions and Entropy Racing’s methodical preparation, credit goes to the EVSR’s powertrain.
Found inside the EVSR’s lightweight tubular frame, the batteries are securely mounted in reinforced aluminum cases on either side of the car. This protects them from any damage caused by external impacts, and provides an effective safety barrier for the driver.
And because the batteries are made of Lithium Ferrophosphate, they’re also much more stable at high temperatures compared to the more commonly used Lithium Ion batteries.
Those batteries work with twin AC induction motors, which undergo a comprehensive programming and battery monitoring procedure during production. The end result produces impressive power numbers and 140-mph top speeds, along with consistent and silent operation, zero emissions and up to 40 minutes of run time—all for a fraction of the price of gas-powered racecars.
Like their internal-combustion peers, EVSRs channel 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque to the ground through the rear wheels, which are connected via custom halfshafts on a limited slip differential directly coupled to the electric motor with no clutch or transmission. The lack of a transmission lets the roughly 2,000-pound EVSR save weight and gain agility, the instant power delivery means quicker lap times and, most importantly at high-altitude tracks, electric EVSRs don’t lose a single horsepower to thin air.
And since the EVSRs require so little time and money on the maintenance side, Entropy’s nine-person support team found themselves with plenty of down time during the week. “We simply dialed in the systems to maximize their performance specific to the mountain, then made minor changes based on driver input and weather,” Entropy Racing principal Charlie Greenhaus said. “The EVSRs have now had 53 competitive finishes without a mechanical breakdown, and we don’t need to make engine adjustments like gas-powered competitors.”
Greenhaus was thrilled at the EVSRs’ performances on Pikes Peak—but he has even bigger plans for these affordable electric racecars. Entropy Racing is in the process of developing a 20-car road racing series around the EVSR. Slated to be the world’s first fully electric road racing series, it will focus on team prep, driver talent and bringing high levels of competition to entry-level enthusiasts.
And because the EVSR is both zero-carbon and low noise, it is the perfect racecar for crowded, environmentally conscious areas. “Our EVSRs compete quickly, cleanly, quietly and affordably,” Greenhaus exclaims. “So we’re excited to show the world what electric power can do.”
Entropy Racing would like to thank Team O’Neil Rally School, BRAID Wheels, Driven Steering Wheels and Heads Up Motorsports for their tremendous support during this amazing endeavor.