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Planning Opel Calibra Track Car Conversion

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Hi everybody,

I am new to this forum so let me introduce myself quickly. I am a Belgian E/E Engineer working in the Automotive Industry in Germany. I am very interested in all new technologies in the car industry, and for this reason I want to get some hands on work in my free time :)

So what is the plan,... Want to take an old Opel Calibra 4x4, get rid of the combustion engine and transform it to an electric driveline. I want to make it rear wheel drive. I dont want to use this car on the road legally (impossible in Europe) but use it for fun (no real competition) on the racetrack Circuit Zolder in Belgium for trackdays. This circuit is almost totally flat and has a distance of 4,011km (2.492 mi). Let's say I want to implement a system where I can change my battery pack quickly in the pitlane after a stint of 15 laps (60,165km or 37,41mi). So the range must be around 60km full power. Of course this is open for discussion, can also be 7 laps (28,1km or 17,4mi) and then change the battery pack,...

Specs about the car:
- Cd-value = 0,26
- Frontal area = 1,82m² --> CdA = 0,47m²
- Weight empty = 1220kg (2700lbs) -> but I will take out all unnecessary things (only 2 racing seats in the front)
- Original weight-distribution = 59Front/41Rear -> this must go to 50/50
- Power: 8v C20NE engine: 85kW (116HP) @5200RPM; 170Nm @2600RPM (FWD)
16v C20XE engine: 110kW (150HP) @6000RPM; 196Nm @4800RPM (FWD)
16v Turbo C20LET engine: 150kW (204HP) @5600RPM; 280Nm @2400RPM (4x4)
16v Turbo C20LET EDS-Tuned: 233kW (310HP); @? 484Nm @3500RPM (4x4)
--> I want the output of the E-machine be competitive with the C20LET specs, so I would aim at a Torque between 300 and 400Nm.

So the range and power output are set. Now can somebody help me get started on my quest in finding all the right components?
- E-machine: DC or AC, brands, etc.
- Battery-pack: how can I calculate how big my pack needs to be? I would go for Li-Ion cells, but which brand? Which BMS, which contactors, which cables.
- Transmission: here I am totally in the dark, what kind of transmissions are there out there? Another question I have is taking into account that the 4x4 Calibra has already a power distributor at the back end of the car, will it be strong enough for constant E-torque,... are the axes going to hold together,...

Okay people, please put my 2 feet back on the floor so I can start :) building something realistically which comes as close as possible as what I described up here.
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· Registered
7,793 Posts
Hi RPi,

Welcome to the forum. Nice idea for your project. As with most stuff, you'll find it is a mix of performance, range and budget with regards to answers of your questions. I think you can benefit by researching this forum and perhaps the vendors who advertise here. Some offer kits which can provide you with a starting point for bill of materials.

There have not been many circuit racer EVcars. Some drag racers and LSR. One which comes to mind is the Electric Imp by Cliff a number of years ago. EVWest and RebirthAuto have each done a pretty hot conversion. Also, member Crodriver did a high performance conversion. Look for his thread. Unfortunately I think we lost all of his photos.

Hot swap batteries are nice. I've done that with a formula EV a few decades ago with lead acid. And a few years ago with eKarts using Lithium. There we did a 7 second pit stop swap during a race :)


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