Ford Fiesta Project E car taken for a test drive in Norway
M. MICHAEL BRADY
Rallycross is a type of sprint-style car racing, held on closed mixed-surface tracks, using modified production cars. It is especially popular in the Nordic countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom, where the first rallycross event was held near Canterbury in Kent in 1967.
In Norway, rallycross began when the first track for it was opened in 1987 in the village of Hell, near the city of Trondheim in Trøndelag County. The country now has more than 70 car-racing tracks, where rallycross meets are held. Internationally, rallycross is overseen by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile in France, the governing body for many car-racing events.
At this writing, Norway is making rallycross history at the Vikedal car-racing track near the hamlet of Vikedal in Rogaland County on Norway’s southwest coast. A Ford Fiesta Project E car, the world’s first electric vehicle rallycross car, is being test driven. It was brought into the country by a car-racing team based in Vikedal, Holten Motorsport, named after its founder, Svein Bjarte Holten. The test driver is Holten’s son Daniel, Norway’s preeminent rallycross driver and three times national championships winner. Holten Motorsport project manager Nils Reimers is monitoring the viability of electric drive technology. Reimers is a technology investor, who also represents his own company, Nils Reimers AS.
The Project E car was developed and produced by Stohl Advanced Research and Development, known as STARD, an auto-racing team founded by Austrian racing driver Manfred Stohl. The starting point was a 2019 Ford Fiesta ST that was stripped of its powertrain and running gear and then reincarnated to suit its purpose. It now weighs 3,256 pounds and has three electric motors, one in a front compartment and two in a rear compartment. Together, the motors have a power yield of 612 HP.
The performance of the Project E car is stellar: acceleration from zero to 62 mph in 1.8 seconds, and a top speed of 150 mph. Its price in Norway is commensurately high: NOK 3.8 million, about $400,000.
This article originally appeared in the July 31, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.