Since the inception of the FIA’s electric open wheel Formula E series, the safety car has been provided by BMW. For the first five seasons the field was paced by a BMW i8 coupe, then for a season and a half the roof was chopped off of the i8 safety car to create a unique roadster. Last season the i8 was retired for a Mini Cooper Pacesetter electric hot hatch, which was cool, but didn’t have the true performance necessary for a proper FIA world championship pace car. So for the upcoming Season 8 championship, Porsche has provided a pair of Taycan Turbo S high performance electric sedans for the series’ use.
Obviously the Taycan Turbo S has plenty of performance to keep up the pace. With 750 horsepower on tap with the push of a button, the Turbo S is jumping at the chance to show those race cars what for. Considering that Porsche’s own 99X Electric Formula E race car is currently limited to around 300 horsepower in qualifying, the Taycan might actually give these racers a run for their money.
So what did the Taycan Turbo S need to complete its transformation into an FIA World Championship safety car? Surprisingly little. Obviously the luxury interior has been replaced with a rollcage and racing seats with harnesses to keep the occupants, and long-standing safety car driver Bruno Correia, safe in case of a particularly nasty incident. The car was also fitted with a fire extinguisher, a high-tech comms system, and of course the roof-mounted safety car lights. Other than that, it’s pretty much a stock Taycan.
“We’re proud that Formula E has entrusted a Porsche with this task – one that is important for the safety of its drivers,” says Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “With the Taycan Turbo S as the official safety car, we’re making an important contribution to track safety and also underlining the importance of Formula E for Porsche Motorsport.
“The distinctive design illustrates our commitment to the successful future of this innovative racing series. Although we’re rivals out on the track, we’re spreading this message to the world together. What’s more, we hope that this also enables us to appeal to a younger target audience who are not yet motorsport fans.”
The car’s livery, it is said, has been designed to honor each of the teams involved in Formula E. There are 11 stripes, one each for Porsche, Mercedes, Nissan, NIO, Envision, Jaguar, Dragon/Penske, Venturi, DS, Mahindra, and Andretti. I’m not sure if this is an omen or not, but I’d say Porsche running the pace car is a great indication that this might be Porsche’s year in FE.