Electric Vehicle Sports Racer
The Evolution of Racing
Plugging in and Kicking Gas
It was Lead Driver Todd Reid’s session when the rain really began to fall in earnest. Dealing with a foggy helmet and soggy race suit is no fun. Water had begun to puddle on track and it was now splashing up through every opening and seam in the car. Reid was piloting an Electric Vehicle Sports Racer (EVSR), which is an open cockpit, all-electric race car. “It was a challenging 12 hours, that’s for sure”, recalls Reid.
Racing in the rain always tests the skills and focus for a driver; they must be able to adjust their speed, braking, and lines to adapt to ever-changing conditions Racing in the rain for 12-hours straight is another animal all together. At South Jersey Region SCCA’s 2018 “Devil in the Dark” 12-Hour, EVSR Drivers Todd Reid and Mike Wilson were co-driving the event on a cold, late October day.
The EVSR drivers persevered, while all the other cars in their class had failed to finish, giving EVSR a Class Victory as well as finishing 29th overall in a field of 40 gas-powered vehicles. Team Project Manager and Chief Engineer Charlie Greenhaus was ecstatic.
2018 SJR SCCA’s “Devil in the Dark”, photo courtesy of WindShadow Photography
Charlie Greenhaus didn’t set out to make any environmental statement when he built the first Electric Vehicle Sports Racer (EVSR) in 2013. Greenhaus recalls, “A long-time customer suggested a high performance electric project. After much discussion we settled on modifying a well proven sports racing car chassis as the donor.” Greenhaus had a plentiful supply of these proven chassis as his main business had been renting and supporting a fleet of SCCA Spec Racer Renaults for road racing. The ultimate goal was to build a fleet and run a stand alone support series of all electric racing cars the average racer could afford. Using simple, off the shelf electronic components, plus some pretty damn impressive engineering, two months later, EVSR was on the dyno. The work on EVSR #001 began in November 2013.
Pictured far to close: Chris Rallo, Andrew Smith (Technical Director), and Charlie Greeenhaus at an early dyno run in the early development of EVSR. EVSR visited the dyno no less than 11 times in January and February of 2014, working on the mapping, cooling, and learning the car’s systems. Photo shared by Entropy LLC.
By the beginning of March, Greenhaus and his team had a fully functional, fully electric race car, built, tested, and ready to race. During the initial development stage, Entropy Racing worked closely with SCCA both on a national level and with the local support of South Jersey Region SCCA to approve the car for regional competition. This involved in-depth discussion about battery technology, fire and safety and chassis changes all of which considered the safety of drivers, workers and first responders. In conjunction with all parties involved EVSR chose a battery technology that is proven to be the safest chemistry in the industry, rather than choosing the most power dense, thereby mitigating risk and danger to all.
“Sparky” (EVSR #001) took only 3 month to go from concept to competition with Fritz (#002) soon to follow. “It’s the most I’d ever used Algebra in my life.”, Greenhaus said, “My 6th grade teacher would be proud.” On March 22, 2014, Team EVSR was ready to show the world how competitive an all-electric race car could be and entered the Central Carolinas Region SCCA’s “Chasing the Dragon” hillclimb in Robbinsville, NC. The Team had high hopes for this race since Sparky’s track testing ten days earlier at Summit Point Raceway had gone so smoothly.
Todd Reid drove for Team EVSR and continues to be EVSR’s Lead Driver to this day. “We were the only all-electric car competing in a field of 48 gas-powered cars.”, said Reid. “We placed 8th overall, “ continues Reid, “OVERALL!” It was the feather in the cap EVSR was seeking
Greenhaus wanted to compete with traditional race cars with no special considerations and demonstrate his EVSRs were competitive, winning machinery. The focus wasn’t on green-technology but over the years, Greenhaus and his drivers agree it has changed their perspectives on what electric vehicles can do. “They aren’t silent, that’s for sure.”, states Mike Wilson, Team Driver, “It sounds like a small jet engine going by and it’s exciting. You can hear the road noise and tire noise above any engine noise a race car usually has. There are many advantages to a quiet car. As a competitor, we can hear other cars and use that added input to our competitive advantage and strategy. We can hear subtleties in throttle and determine the intent of other drivers in ways that are not at all possible in a loud cockpit. We can hear subtle differences in traction as pavement and grip might change during a race, allowing us more feedback to respond to a changing course more quickly and accurately. We can hear the mechanical bits of the car BEFORE they become catastrophic giving us an advantage in managing a failing part before it fails.”
Greenhaus emphasizes, “I just want the EVSR to be looked at for its merits as a viable, vital part of the racing world. We’re not a gimmick or a flash in the pan. Electric is the future. Not only from a conservation standpoint, but from a safety and noise pollution perspective as well. You can’t have events at some tracks on a Sunday. Most every track in the country has noise limits and many are very restrictive. You know what makes a lot less noise but a lot more Sunday revenue? An all-electric event.”
On May 24, 2014 Andy Lally drove “Fritz” (Chassis #002) alongside Reid driving “Sparky” to be the first 2 drivers in the world to compete wheel to wheel against field of gas powered cars with battery powered EVs. This occurred with the cooperation of Lime Rock Park and IMSA during IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Challenge
Pictured in “Fritz” (#02) is Andy Lally who raved “[EVSR] is really cool, a lot of fun, a good seat, and the set up’s great.” Lead Driver Reid follows closely behind in “Sparky” (#01)
Since 2014, EVSR has been to countless races. Twice the cars were run at the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb (2015 and 2016, placing 3rd in class in 2015); was the first electric car to record a sub-minute lap at Lime Rock Park; allowed 5-time rally race champ Tim O’Neil to set the electric record at “Climb to the Clouds” at Mt. Washington; on the pole at Lime Rock Park in a field of 44 gas-powered cars; was the first electric race car at SJR SCCA’s 12-hour “Devil in the Dark” endurance in 2017 and came back in 2018 to place 1st in Class and be the first electric car to ever win an endurance race and many more highlights over the past 6 years of racing.
Tim O’Neil at the wheel on his way to the podium at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2015. Photo shared by Entropy LLC.
Entropy Racing unveiled its EVSR Generation II model in early 2020. The new generation of EVSRs have benefited from 6 years of constant development and refinement of the first generation cars. With a totally new safety cage design, a more aerodynamic one-piece body of carbon fiber, enhanced electronics and instrumentation, and significant weight savings throughout, the next generation EVSR will be faster, more nimble, and have greater range. “Ounces Make Pounds” is a popular shop motto at Entropy. Other areas where the EVSR II is saving weight will be with a new configuration and containment system for the cells, the use of a new inverter which replaces 3 other parts and saves about 25 pounds. In 2019, Greenhaus hired Jeremy Clemens as the Chief of EV Development. What Jeremy has brought to the team is a strong history working with EVs, from rock crawling buggies to record-setting land speed motorcycles and sidecar bikes, as well as a new energy and enthusiasm for the EVSR Program. “I moved up here [Central Pennsylvania] from Alabama to join Charlie and Dale [Weist, Chief Mechanic]”, Clemens shared, “I couldn’t wait to start my dream job, directing a totally electric race program.”
Pictured is Jeremy and Dale installing a new inverter which should give EVSR’s 2nd generation cars more power and the ability to configure for different voltages and more precise tuning.
EVSR was invited to compete for a 3rd time in Subaru’s “Climb to the Clouds” at Mt. Washington in July 2020, but the event postponed its date to July 2021. For the rest of the 2020 Season, as abbreviated as it is, Greenhaus and company have specifically committed to two big events: in October EVSR will be returning to the 12-hour SJR SCCA’s “Devil in the Dark” and racing for the first time in December at the “25-Hours at Thunderhill” hosted by NASA . Clemens explains what’s at stake with these 2 endurance races, “We’ve done enduros before, but we swapped cars. For 2020, with the new models, we’ll be swapping battery packs during pit stops. Up until October we will be simulating and perfecting our pit stops here at the shop. It will take a tight-knit team who is fast, thorough, and strong”.
Since the beginning, Greenhaus’ goal was to build a fleet of EVSRs both for purchase and rentals and he believes we’re going to see that for 2021. “The excitement my customers got from driving in our ESR (Entropy Sports Racer) fleet was beyond words. Everyone had a yellow car built to the same spec and we just raced all weekend long, all season long. It built a community. I’d like to bring back that community and expand racing’s reach by injecting new technology that will certainly appeal to drivers of all skill levels, expand established programs, and re-energize the sport for a whole new generation of drivers.”
Photo courtesy of Entropy LLC. Pictured is the EVSR Generation II racer. “Ohm” is chassis 02-001, built in 2020.
Photo courtesy of Entropy LLC. Pictured is the “Ohm” with “Sparky”, EVSR chassis 01-001, built in 2013
Author: Jennifer Seraphin (Marketing Coordinator - Entropy Racing and EVSR)