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Mike Rockenfeller: eX ZERO every race driver’s dream

Former Le Mans winner and DTM ace Mike Rockenfeller has launched X ZERO bespoke electric virtual racing car for rFactor 2.

It’s a project full of ambition with high-profile championships planned by RCCO World eX Championship for which this sim race car has been developed.

Press Release:

After almost one year of development, the time has come to unleash the ‘sustainable beast’: the eX ZERO, the world’s fastest (virtual) electric racing car, is available for the well-known rFactor 2 racing simulation via the Steam Network.

With 1,000 hp and 1,000 kilograms, the experimental electric prototype has a power-to-weight ratio of 1:1. “This is every racing driver’s dream,” says Mike Rockenfeller, CEO and co-founder of the RCCO World eX Championship, for which the eX ZERO has been built. The Le Mans winner and DTM champion has covered thousands of test kilometres during the development stages and spent countless hours in the simulator.

“I was just as nervous during the maiden run as I was during the roll-out of a real racing car,” says ‘Rocky’, who set the record distance at the (real-world) Le Mans 24 Hours, together with Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas in 2010. The 397 laps completed with the Audi R15 TDI were the eponym for Studio 397, which in co-operation with RCCO E-Sport AG, played a major role in the development of the eX ZERO.

“When the RCCO got in touch with Studio 397 and outlined their plans, we were immediately enthusiastic for several different reasons. First of all, with rFactor 2, we want to simulate and promote all kinds of racing,” says CEO Marcel Offermanns.

“When someone comes to us with a new concept combining an electric car with an esports format that is rather new and embracing, it did not take much convincing to get us to participate. Secondly, after talking to Mike, it became clear that the car was designed to be a real drivers’ car, challenging to drive with plenty of torque to control and no driving aids.

“World eX will be all about the driver and his racecraft. And finally, we are looking forward to seeing all of these professional racing teams participating in the first season in 2021.”

“We call the eX ZERO a ‘sustainable beast’,” says Mike Rockenfeller. “ZERO stands for zero emissions. This is important to us, because we are racing for the climate. It’s a lot of fun to drive. Massive horsepower. Four-wheel drive. Very fast. A big challenge, even for professional drivers. You can slide it and still be quick. And the races will hopefully be entertaining to watch.

“This is exactly what we are looking for. And everybody can try it out now on rFactor 2. We are looking forward to the feedback from the esports racing community, because we do not stop here and will continue to finetune the car until the first race of World eX at the end of February 2021.”

Rockenfeller got precious input during the development of the eX ZERO from professional real-world racing drivers like Romain Grosjean and esports racing stars like Erhan Jajovski. “Two weeks ago, the car was really a beast and hard to control, even for me and Romain,” says ‘Rocky’.

“But, we’ve been able to make big steps in the last couple of days before the release of the car. This reminds me a lot of the development of real-world racing cars, which is also always ‘just in time’.”

For the RCCO (Racing Concept Car Organisation) it was important to build a car which could, in theory, become reality. Development partners like Formula E champions ABT Sportsline and Nicola Palarchi, who won a total of four DTM titles with two different teams between 2016 and 2020 as a technical director and race engineer, made sure that the eX ZERO is no fantasy car, but close to the real world.

The prototype incorporates state-of-the-art electric drive technology, including a 1,000 kWh battery, a twin-motor layout, four-wheel drive and a two-gear transmission.

“With today’s technology and the amount of power we are deploying, we are limited to up to 15 minutes of flat-out racing,” says Mike Rockenfeller. “This fits our unique race format with head-to-head battles and many short races. It would be easy to make the power capacity infinite for the virtual car, but that’s not what we want.

“Battery technology is developing rapidly and we will update the car with any new technology, which will be available in the near future. We are talking to potential partners from the automotive industry that can use our microcosm to promote their progress in the real world. And we are looking forward to seeing car manufacturers developing their own eX cars for our platform.”

The next development steps for the eX ZERO are already on the agenda, including a regen system that will help to increase the driving time. RCCO is also addressing the sound of the eX ZERO, which is a hot topic among racing fans for all electric cars.

Just before the release on rFactor 2, Mike Rockenfeller will set benchmarks on five iconic race tracks with lap times being close to those of the latest LMP1 hybrids. The car accelerates from 0 to 200 km/h in just 4.6 seconds and is able to reach a top speed of approx. 384 km/h with the lowest drag configuration.

The inaugural RCCO World eX Championship will feature a total of 10 eX Prix events on 10 different tracks from February to November 2021. 10 permanent teams with 10 professional ‘real-world’ racing drivers and 10 sim racers will compete in the series.

Each eX Prix will be open to two wildcard drivers. One wildcard for the opening round will be available via a hot lap qualifying competition, which will begin on February 1.

RCCO is also working on a concept to launch regional and national eX Series as qualifiers for the World Championship.

eX ZERO (2021) on Steam

eX ZERO Spec Sheet

  • Full carbon chassis with an integrated survival cell
  • Total car weight of 1,000 kg
  • 1:1 power to weight ratio = 1,000 hp
  • Twin electric motor
  • 100 kWh battery – up tp 15 min @race pace
  • 2-gear sequential gearbox, carbon casing
  • F1 double wishbone suspension layout
  • Magnesium rims
  • Carbon brakes
  • Adjustable front and rear kinematics
  • 4-way fully adjustable dampers
  • Front and rear torsion bar side spring
  • Front and rear third element
  • Front and rear adjustable anti-roll bar
  • Extra low center of gravity
  • 54 % reward weight distribution
  • 50 % left/right weight distribution
  • Car length 4,200 mm
  • Wheelbase 2,520 mm
  • Car width 1,920mm
  • Car height 960mm
  • 0–100 km/h: 2.3 s
  • 0–200 km/h: 4.6 s
  • 0–300 km/h: 9.5 s
  • Top speed: approx. 384 km/h with the lowest drag configuration

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