Pikes Peak, Colorado – The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has always rewarded innovation. On June 26, 2016, Entropy Racing’s Electric Vehicle Sports Racer (EVSR) will charge up America’s Mountain to show the world how competitive, affordable, reliable and environmentally friendly racing can be.
Like the Race to the Clouds, Entropy Racing covered a lot of ground in a short time. In late 2013, team principal Charlie Greenhaus conceived the idea to build electric race cars that could go wheel-to-wheel with gas-powered competitors, but at a fraction of the cost of current electric racers. It was a daunting task, especially considering the million-dollar budgets and multi-year development cycles seen in today’s electric racing.
Greenhaus’s team was as passionate about the project as he was—they built, tested and race-prepped an EVSR in under three months!
2014 and 2015 saw over 60 competition finishes for EVSR, including 3rd and 4th place finishes in the electric car division in the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb as well as numerous class and overall victories against gas-powered cars.
Pikes Peak’s grueling, 12.4-mile course starts at 9,390 feet and ends at 14,115—a 4,725-foot elevation change. Gas-powered engines lose up to 30 percent of their maximum power between the start and finish of the race due to the thin mountain air, giving electric powertrains a distinct advantage at high elevations.
“Electrics are no longer the wave of the future but a current reality,” Greenhaus explains. “Our cars performed very well last year, meeting all of our goals and expectations, but racing is about innovating, so for this 100th anniversary race we have taken all we have learned from hillclimbs, road racing, drag racing, and autocross and we bring an improved, refined EVSR. We look forward to proving the car along side the best electric race cars in the world. Our competition class includes former overall record holder Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima, the first person to break the elusive 10 minute mark at PPIHC, as well as last years’ overall winner, Rhys Millen. Acura will also bring their NSX supercar-inspired 4-Motor EV Concept which will be driven by Tetsuya Yamano, who won the Exhibition Class last year in the CR-Z-based electric prototype. EVSR is unlikely to overcome the 1500 HP of these teams but we will prove a competitive overall time while demonstrating that you don’t need to have an unlimited budget or the strength of a major manufacturer to compete at the top levels of electric motorsport. EVSR weighs 2,000 pounds and produces a modest 180 horsepower. Top speed has been documented at 140MPH and typical race range is between 35 and 40 miles with a maximum competition range of 56 miles, documented at Lime Rock Park.”
Entropy Racing’s driver, Rick Knoop, also has deep experience to draw from. “Rick Knoop drove EVSR last year and his experience with Pikes Peak was invaluable in helping us prepare and compete at the mountain. His extensive race experience, from Le Mans to NASCAR, makes him one of the most dynamic drivers we have worked with. We are fortunate to have him drive EVSR again and have high hopes for a good finish.” says Greenhaus. Knoop won the 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans, conquered Pikes Peak, and twice competed in the American Le Mans Series—once in a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the GT class, and once in a Highcroft Racing MG-Lola EX257-AER in LMP1. This gifted driver has done time in the Grand-Am Sports Car Series, won at Daytona and was a factory driver for Toyota, Mazda, Porsche, Ferrari, BMW and BF Goodrich. Knoop also drove the Knoop-Mann Special to a 2nd-in-class finish in the 2014 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and took 4th in Electric Modified in an EVSR in 2015.
Entropy Racing is looking to campaign a turnkey electric EVSR race series and is soliciting program sponsors in the near future, but first they’re focusing on Pikes Peak. “We have big plans, but for now we’re here to take on the mountain,” Charlie says. “Of course, our team knows not to underestimate Pikes Peak. Last year a sudden snowstorm on race day prevented EVSR from showing its true potential. This year we look forward to competing with, and exceeding more powerful cars.”