Mixing Nitro and Electricity: NHRA Goes Electric For 2022

While this has been years in the making the sanctioning body for drag racing; NHRA has announced it will add an electric vehicle class. It will happen for the 2022 season of NHRA Summit Series drag racing. According to the press release this has been four years in the making.

This is the first time electric will be on the NHRA regular schedule

front shot of eCOPO Camaro
eCOPO Camaro | GM

Though electric drag racing has been around for a while this is the first time the segment will be incorporated into the NHRA regular schedule. Rules have not been disclosed so we don’t know what form the cars will be in. But we have seen manufacturer-generated limited production electric race cars. 

Chevy took its COPO Camaro and created the eCOPO Camaro electric race car in 2018, and Ford has done the same thing with the Cobra Jet Mustang. The electric version was the Cobra Jet 1400. Exhibition runs have been performed at different drag strips.

We’ve all seen videos of electric cars eating gas-powered cars for lunch

eCOPO Camaro rear 3/4 view
eCOPO Camaro | GM

We’ve all seen those videos on YouTube of electric cars eating gas-powered cars for lunch. So the rivalry created just from those is enough to increase interest in EVs. This provides automakers “with a platform to showcase their EV technology, production, and racing efforts,” VP of Competition Ned Walisser said in a statement. 

With Formula One already using hybrid powertrains and IndyCar doing the same by 2023 it was inevitable. Even glacially reactive NASCAR seems to be interested in some form of hybrid technology. Who knows how long it might take for them to jump on the electrified bandwagon. 

NHRA noise and nitro seems like an unlikely double bill with electric Mustangs

Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 front 3/4 view
Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 | Ford

The terminally raw horsepower thrill of noise and nitro seems like an unlikely double bill with electric Mustangs. The Pro Stock class mostly sees fans fleeing for the restrooms or pits once they make their way to the staging lanes. That class has become less relevant as consistent times measured in microseconds are tedious at best. 

fire, flames and nitro of NHRA Top Fuel drag racing
NHRA drag Racing Top Fuel | Getty

Now NHRA wants to add electric vehicles to the mix of nitro cars and everything else. While Pro Stock is considered part of the professional racing program NHRA presents, with the addition of the electric class it may as well lump the two into the Sportsman series of amateur racing. That way they can be run during the week and not interfere with the nitro and/or alcohol series. 

Unless it can add some “show” to the mix it is unlikely to flip fans’ triggers

engine shot of Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 | Ford
Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 | Ford

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We don’t know how the NHRA will configure its traveling show adding electric cars. What we do know is that unless it can add some “show” to the mix it is unlikely to flip fans’ triggers. The thundering invasion of nitro-burning cars assaulting every sense you have is too crazy to schedule alongside electric cars.