Entropy Racing’s will charge up America’s Mountain to show the world its competitive, affordable and reliable Electric Vehicle Sports Racers (EVSRs) in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 28.
Entropy Racing covered a lot of ground in a short time. In late 2013, team principal Charlie Greenhaus got 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.
Greenhaus’s team was as passionate about the project as he was—they built, tested and race-prepped an EVSR in under three months.
Now, barely a year and a half later, Entropy Racing is ready to take on Pikes Peak’s formidable summit. And to show how affordable and low maintenance their brand of electric racing is, the 9-member Entropy Racing team will campaign three EVSRs, being the first team to ever race three electric vehicles in the 99-year history of this historic event.
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, causing the teams to add engine tuning on top of the normal suspension and tire adjustments, which require more team members and more time. But electric powertrains put down maximum power regardless of altitude.
“Pikes Peak is a huge challenge for many of the gas cars due to the altitude,” Greenhaus explains. “The electric cars have a big advantage by eliminating the atmospheric element.
“And aside from cage work and small PPIHC rule changes, the EVSRs have had no mechanical changes in the last year. They should only need minor suspension and tire pressure changes on the mountain—we hope it all goes smoothly, but we have a lot of data and experience to draw from in preparation.”
Entropy Racing’s drivers also have deep experience to draw from. “While the EVSRs have never been to Pikes Peak, our drivers have been there 10 times between them,” says Greenhaus. “So the driver component is more than covered.”
In addition to the desire to conquer one of auto racing’s premier courses, Entropy Racing is competing in the PPIHC to show the world what the EVSRs can do. The team thinks that the EVSR is the perfect car for everyday club racers—enthusiasts who want to race, but don’t have loads of money or advanced mechanical skills.
The roughly 2,000-pound car makes 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, and has a top speed of 140 mph and a 30- to 40-minute run time.
And running costs are only about half as much of comparable gas-powered machines, with drastically lower maintenance costs. It could give a great race experience to enthusiasts who couldn’t normally afford it.
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, so we’re going to get the cars completely dialed in and let the EVSRs take the summit.”
Lead driver Charles Turano is a two-time EMRA champion who has also raced in NASA and SCCA. He’s been the lead driver in many 12-hour races as well as the first 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance race in 2003.
Turano’s expertise also extends to the instructor’s seat—he’s the chief instructor for both Entropy Racing and IMG, and has also instructed for NASA, SCCA and SCDA. Turano brings his formidable engineering and programming experience to the high-tech EVSR program as well.
Tim O’Neil has been racing since the 1980s and he’s collected some serious hardware over the years. He’s a five-time U.S. and North American Rally Championship winner and one of the few American rally drivers to compete internationally. Entropy Racing tapped Tim to take the #82 EVSR up Mount Washington in 2014, and O’Neil set the Climb to the Clouds electric record at 7 minutes and 28 seconds. When he’s not competing, O’Neil runs the Team O’Neil Rally School.
Rick 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. Rick also drove the Knoop-Mann Special to a 2nd-in-class finish in last year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.