Toyota wasn’t the only automaker that brought a motorsports-focused surprise, Subaru on Friday revealed the STI E-RA Concept, an electric race car set to set a new lap record around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Subaru Technica International said the e-RA concept is about gaining experience in new technologies as the automotive world focuses on batteries and electric motors. Motorsport is often the place to test out the technologies of tomorrow, making the E-RA a true rolling testbed.
Subaru wants to take the final E-RA in the ‘ring to try and record a lap record of 6:40, though it’s unclear what specific record Subaru’s gun is for. Volkswagen holds the record for electric vehicles in the German circuit with 6:05.Back in 2019. Subaru did not immediately return a request for comment on the company’s target. The company said it plans to test the race car at Japanese circuits this year before moving to Germany sometime in 2023.
Whatever record the automaker wants to set, the e-RA will have a lot of power behind it. The car packs a total of 1,000 horsepower with four electric motors—one for each wheel. They also supply four-wheel torque vectoring. Subaru worked with Yamaha to adopt the technology, which includes an integrated inverter and gears. The inverter takes instructions from several sensors that monitor vehicle speed, steering angle, g-force, yaw and more. All inputs help calculate drive and braking torque for each wheel independently for the inverter. And, finally, it’s all a 60 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.
The complete setup, including the structure of the e-RA, also followed the guidelines for future FIA e-GT regulations, which Subaru found was best suited and the best direction to work. Could Subaru one day go racing with the E-RA? We can’t rule it out, but we’ll be getting our first taste of an electric race car on the track this year.