Bottled Lightning – Electric Racing Goes Mainstream
The electrification of the automobile is coming. Some of us may not fully understand it or like it, but the next decade will bring the biggest transformation of the automobile in the last 100 years.
While all of us here at Goodguys have “gasoline in our veins,” we are far from tech luddites. We love technology and the latest automotive advancements, so we’re keen to report how this new tech is evolving.
In fact, not only is Goodguys seeing more Teslas during our Meguiar’s All-American Sunday program, but Elon Musk’s brainchild also won our Wilwood All-American Sunday AutoCross class during the Spring Nationals in Scottsdale this past March. It was the first electric vehicle to win a Goodguys CPP AutoCross Series event. We also did a recent article on the latest round-up of cool, electric hotrod builds.
We all know EVs are fast and a force to be reckoned with, but how will the electrical revolution be integrated into autocrossing and racing? To answer those questions, we bring you some updates from SCCA, NHRA and IndyCar.
First up, SCCA formed an advisory board to set up rules for EVs and have now approved a provisional class for electric cars. According to SCCA, “EVs have won major events in SCCA Solo and Time Trials, and major manufacturers have committed to only electric in the future which has created a need for regions and motorsports circuits to have the capacity for the flow of interest EVs are generating.
The nine-person committee is being led by SCCA Area 4 Director Dayle Frame—EV owner and Solo competitor—and made up of representatives from Road Racing, Track/Time Trials, Rally/Solo and industry experts. The first tasks the EVAC has been charged with are to create basic safety rules for EVs at SCCA events and to help guide regions and facilities when it comes to training and being equipped for EVs.”
The National Hot Rod Association is onboard the EV train as well. According to NHRA President Glen Cromwell, “We’ve announced the creation of an all-new electric vehicle racing class that will join the NHRA Summit Racing Series in 2022. Electric cars will compete within the Summit Racing Series in all seven NHRA Divisions. We are thrilled for this new opportunity for our NHRA competitors, NHRA Drag Racing is about performance and innovation, and we look forward to seeing how these vehicles will perform in 2022.”
NHRA was founded in the midst of the WWII hot rodding craze, so their inclusion of electric vehicles carries a lot of clout. Just as servicemen returning from WWII hopped up old Fords with modern V8 engines, a young guy or gal swapping a Tesla motor into a Model A or Mustang will carry the torch for the next generation.
Last but not least, IndyCar is entering the fold as well. IndyCar is poised to introduce the most radical change in more than a decade when 2.4 liter, twin-turbo V6 hybrid engines are introduced.
IndyCar fills us in on the details, “Look for new gasoline/electric hybrid engines by 2023, (delayed from 2022 due to COVID 19.) The hybrid system will work in parallel with the internal combustion engines from Honda and Chevrolet, combining growing hybrid technology with the traditional power plants to produce in excess of 900 horsepower for the most competitive racing series in the world.”
The hybrid technology, dubbed KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) consists of a multi-phase motor, inverter and electric storage device that will create electricity recovered from the car’s braking system.
All this may be a bit of a jolt for us old school car guys. However, as this technology evolves, the end result will most certainly be faster IndyCars, road racers, and quarter-mile barnstormers.
Now that’s the kind of jolt we can all get behind.