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Tesla takes electric cars closer to pro racing

During practice sessions at the Race of Champions, professional drivers race the Tesla Roadster.

Tesla Roadster
A Tesla Roadster waits at the starting line.
Tesla Roadster
A Tesla Roadster waits at the starting line. Tesla

During practice sessions for the Race of Champions last week, two Tesla Roadsters got a real workout in the hands of such professional racing drivers as Michael Schumacher, Sebastien Loeb, and Alain Prost.

Video of one of the races shows Schumacher and Loeb battling it out on the parallel track, the cars taking the many curves in eerie silence. With the heavily designed indoor course and the brightly colored cars, they almost look like toys.

As they were run as an exhibition, no winners were declared for the races in the Tesla Roadsters.

The Race of Champions is a yearly event using a parallel road course. Drivers from a variety of racing series pilot cars ranging from Audi R8s to KTM X-Bows. The Race of Champions is intended to be a pure test of skill, as the drivers compete in identical equipment over the same course.

During the actual event, held in Dusseldorf, Germany, from November 27 to 28, Portuguese driver Filipe Albuquerque won the overall competition, beating out rally driver Loeb.

Given the current energy storage limitations of battery packs, any professional electric racing series would necessarily only cover a few laps. But racing has pushed the boundaries of conventional power-train technology, and could do the same for electric cars.