Taycan takes electrifying lead at Shelsley Walsh opener

Monday 20 May 2024

It’s now becoming even easier for electric vehicles to compete in grass roots motorsport across the UK, with top hill climb venue Shelsley Walsh leading the charge through the introduction of an electric vehicle class. 

Electric cars are ideal for hill climbs and sprints. The battery weight is below floor height, providing a low centre of gravity, maximum torque is available from zero speed and there are no gears involved to drive from a standing start to over 100mph. 

The team behind digital motorsport publication The Intercooler are not one to shy away from a challenge and were keen to try out this discipline, with Intercooler Co-Founder Dan Prosser rising to the challenge following a particularly wet March. 

With benchmark lap times on race circuits around the globe, the all-electric Porsche Taycan has quickly made a name for itself on track – as well as on the street as a standard-setter among electric road cars.

Now, the Taycan can add records in the time attack sport of speed hill climbs to this roll of honour. In the hands of journalist Prosser, the Taycan Turbo S Sport Turismo set the fastest times in both the Series Production Electric Vehicle and Estate Car classes at Shelsey, with the 762 PS Taycan recording a time of 31.43 seconds over the challenging 0.57-mile course. 

The attempt took place at the course’s Season Opener, the first competitive event held at Shelsley Walsh in 2024, on Sunday 14 April, with the venue having recently introduced a recovery vehicle with specially trained experts to accommodate the electric vehicles. Prosser was permitted just two official timed runs in which to set his record. These followed a total of eight practice runs – an amount of track time amounting to little over four minutes. The new feat breaks the previous estate car record of 32.41 seconds, achieved with an Audi RS 6 Performance in 2016, and sets an all-new record at the venue for production electric vehicles.  

Prosser writes, “Motorsport UK, the governing body in this country, has worked hard in recent years to make various forms of motor racing accessible to EVs. Battery-powered cars simply aren’t well-suited to certain disciplines, such as stage rallying. The special stages and road sections are far too long for the battery range of a typical EV, and the charging infrastructure in remote locations nowhere near developed enough. But EVs can be ideal for short-form motorsport formats like sprints, autosolos, rallycross and, of course, hillclimbs. 

“As well as easing the burden on electric car owners who want to compete, the governing body is also equipping event organisers with the knowledge they need to accept entries from EV owners. And the reassurance, too – no, you don’t need to provide charging points, and yes, your existing fire safety protocols will be adequate. Electrified cars do still pose certain challenges, but nowadays they’re often more perceived than real.  

“To enter a battery-powered car, you first need to acquire an EV Passport from Motorsport UK. It’s a document that lives with the car and tells the scrutineers and marshals everything they need to know about it, like where the kill switch and jacking points are located.” 

Motorsport UK’s Technical Director, Ian Smith said “We are not trying to electrify motorsport in this country, instead, we’re making motorsport more accessible to those who want to compete in electrified vehicles.” 

Annie Goodyear, Competition Manager at Shelsley Walsh, said, “Seeing such an innovative vehicle here embodies what hill climbing is all about. As we go into our 119th year on the hill at Shelsley Walsh it’s fantastic to see times being beaten, for that is what hill climbing is all about, beating the clock.”