Pininfarina Battista sets new Indian land speed record

Feb 23, 2023 10:43 PM IST

The all-electric sports car was driven at a staggering speed of 358.03 kmph on February 15

India is re-entering the fast lane in 2023. A decade after the roar of the V8 engines of Formula 1 cars was silenced after its unceremonious exit, global motorsport returned to India with the arrival of Formula E – the world’s fastest electric car racing series – in Hyderabad a fortnight back.

Hormazd Sorabjee drove the all-electric sports car Pininfarina Battista at a record-breaking speed of 358.03 kmph.(Twitter/@hormazdsorabjee)
Hormazd Sorabjee drove the all-electric sports car Pininfarina Battista at a record-breaking speed of 358.03 kmph.(Twitter/@hormazdsorabjee)

September will see MotoGP – the pinnacle of two-wheeler racing – make its India debut with the ‘Grand Prix of Bharat’ as the tarmac of the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in Greater Noida will smell burning rubber once again since 2013.

But between the two landmark occasions has come another historic one.

In a joint exercise by Autocar India and Mahindra & Mahindra-owned Automobili Pininfarina, the magazine’s editor Hormazd Sorabjee drove the all-electric sports car Pininfarina Battista at a record-breaking speed of 358.03 kmph on February 15. The staggering number is the fastest speed set by any road vehicle in India, breaking the previous record of 332.2 kmph held by racing driver Aditya Patel.

"I mean this is the future of speed. The acceleration of the EV was absolutely savage. It was amazing that despite such a high speed it felt very calm at the wheel. The car was rock steady. It almost felt like a Sunday drive. My previous best was 332 kmph which was in 2016," said Sorabjee.

A total of five records were set, including the highest top speed by an Indian woman as Autocar Show Editor Renuka Kirpalani hit a top speed of 357.1 kmph.

“There’s always a lot of nervousness when you have to do something so big, but the Battista made it so simple, it was unbelievable. Just the lightning-fast acceleration and the glued-to-the-ground feel made me so absolutely confident to keep my foot planted to the floor," Kirpalani said.

The records were validated by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI). In addition, a couple of new global records were also set, including new production car world records for 0-300 kmph (10.49 seconds) and quarter-mile acceleration (8.55 seconds).

The exercise was conducted at NATRAX (National Automotive Test Tracks), a state-of-the-art automotive testing and certification centre under NATRiP, a flagship project under the Ministry of Heavy Industries. Known as India’s ‘Temple of Speed’, the facility is located near the industrial township of Pithampur in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh.

Manufactured by Automobili Pininfarina, the Pininfarina Battista is a hyper EV that produces 1,900hp and 2,340Nm and has previously set world production car record times of 0-60 mph (96kph) in 1.79 seconds, 0-100 kmph in 1.89 seconds, 0-120 mph (192kmph) in 4.49 seconds and 0-200 kmph in 4.75 seconds. It also holds the global braking record for EVs at 100-0 kmph in 31 metres.

“We were very proud to bring Battista to India for the first time. Collaborative events (in India) with our shareholder Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd were delivered at a significant time for Automobili Pininfarina. For Hormazd and his Autocar India team to showcase what is possible with Battista in their hands is hugely important. In these tests Battista has shown that record-breaking performance is there to be enjoyed by every driver on road or track,” said Paolo Dellacha, Automobili Pininfarina CEO.

The car was also showcased in the Hyderabad E-Motor Show (February 8-10) and at the Hyderabad E-Prix – which was Mahindra Racing’s home race – on February 11. Celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar took a ride in the sports car around the 2.83km Hyderabad Street Circuit.

The previous record held by Patel (test car driver for Autocar India then), who set the wheels of an Audi R8 V10 Plus on fire on the outskirts of Hyderabad in August 2016. Patel had broken the previous record held by Formula 1 driver Jaime Alguersuari at the BIC during the 2011 Indian Grand Prix when the speedometer of the F1 car hit 324.2kph down the main straight in Greater Noida.

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