The International Motor Sports Association, which sanctions the American Le Mans Series, has entered into a joint venture with strategic sustainability experts Quimera to showcase a new fully electric vehicle at events this year.
A version of Quimera's AEGT All-Electric GT car is expected to debut in demonstration runs at selected races in 2012, with the aim of launching a new international electric racing series from as early as 2013.
ALMS boss Scott Atherton said the ALMS prided itself on championing green technology, labeling Quimera's GT car as the "real deal." He also said with IMSA's position as a sanctioning body came a responsibility to look to, and prepare for, the future of motorsport.
"We have prided ourselves on a self-documented role as leader of green racing, but our focus to date has been on the development of alternative fuels, power sources and hybrids," Atherton explained at the Autosport International motorsports show in England on Thursday. "This deal has been a long time coming, but Quimera's electric GT car is the real deal. This relationship will define what we believe will be the future of green racing. It's a glimpse of tomorrow.
"The ALMS is in a leadership position, and that means there is no such thing as standing still. There is an opportunity to truly engage with what we believe will be [the start of] motorsport being electric.
"Today is the first step in a 1,000-mile journey, but we could not be more pleased with the alliance. We are planning demonstration runs as early as Sebring this year.
"It is not intended to be an active competitor in ALMS, though – our role is focused on IMSA as a sanctioning body. We have to provide the technical foundation from which to operate, and to promote what will become ultimately a new series of electric racing within the ALMS weekend."
Javier de Rocafort, chairman of the Quimera board, said motorsport and the community at large had to start embracing the idea of electric racing.
"We can't deny something is going to happen in the coming years – maybe two, maybe five – but we have to start the ball rolling," he explained. "Our idea is to create this non-fossil fuel championship.
"We have partners like Formulec who have a car running, so we can align with that. Add to that we are partners with TTXGP and Azhar Hussain, the only guy running electric bikes, and you realize this movement is starting to gain momentum. What we want is to make this process speed up and bring it to people, teams and drivers in a credible, professional way – that's our most important focus.
"More important than the act of car racing is how we actively evolve and prepare the future for coming generations. In this regard, our partnership with IMSA and the ALMS allows us to investigate and better understand the potential applications of these new technologies in the toughest possible environment – and in one of the largest automotive consumer markets in the world, the USA."