Leading into the 24-hour race at Daytona International Speedway last weekend was an electric race sedan that did exhibition runs around the 3.5-mile road course. This was the first time an EV has ever touched the Daytona track. The question is obvious; will NASCAR be going electric sometime soon?
ETCR is a new category of EV racing based on modified electric sedans
Electric Touring Car Racing or ETCR is a new category of EV racing based on modified factory electric sedans. The car in question was a Hyundai Veloster N ETCR. Power comes from four motors-two per rear wheel. With 670 hp these racing EV sedans have as much power as new hybrid prototypes being run this year at LeMans.
Driver Augusto Farfus told ArsTechnica that the big adjustment is that there is no engine noise, but also the right rear wheel motors aren’t connected in any way to the left rear motors. In other words, there is no differential between the two. Plus, there is no engine braking. “You approach the corners extremely fast because 500 kW does accelerate the car fairly quickly,” he says. “You end up approaching the corner in complete silence and super fast.”
The noise inside the race car will be a combination of wind and tire noise
At this velocity, the noise inside the race car will be from a combination of wind and tire noise. But one would expect that this new environment would be easily adapted to after a few practice runs. Lack of engine braking, on the other hand, would seem like it would take a bit more practice to overcome.
Later this year EV racing starts in Europe where the races will actually be more like sprints. Races will be for 6.2 miles. That means hammering the car hard without lifting or coasting for about five to six minutes. At this all-out rate, these race cars would see battery charges lasting between 10 to 20 minutes. That’s the reason for these quick sprints. These parameters could make it very interesting to watch.
Besides the Veloster, modified Alfa Romeo, Seat, and MG sedans will run
Besides the Veloster, modified Alfa Romeo, Seat, and MG sedans will be run. While Europe has stepped up, America’s IMSA sanctioning body has only taken this first step at this weekend’s Daytona Speedway on Friday. IMSA management wants to take what is done in the ETCR category and blend it with other manufacturer’s marketing wants. When that might be ready to proceed is anybody’s guess?
Of course, IMSA is owned by NASCAR. It is the sole sanctioning body tied with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. The ACO operates the 24 Hours of Le Mans as part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. While plenty of European, Japanese, and South Korean manufacturers build EV sedans there is a dearth of them in the US. So the question would be, “Will something like the ETCR in the US be running crossovers or SUVs?”
MotorBiscuit will be cycling back to see how this fleshes out as developments happen.