NASCAR Ready To Run Electric Race Cars and SUVs In 2023

Following a push by OEMs to better reflect their own electric product futures, a leaked document seems to confirm NASCAR will begin incorporating electrification at the 2023 Busch Light Clash. The LA Coliseum is the venue for that race. Also in the leaked doc were illustrations of a Ford Mustang Mach-E, 2024 Chevy Blazer SS, and Toyota bZ4X as Cup cars. As the current Generation Seven cars are modular, allowing them to accept any drivetrain, changing over bodies shouldn’t be that difficult.

Who leaked the NASCAR electric racing info?

NASCAR Next Gen
NASCAR Next Gen electric racecar | NASCAR

Kickin’ The Tires is where the documents originated. Besides the LA Coliseum event, midway in 2023 there will be six exhibition races. Based on its findings after the 2023 EV races, NASCAR will oversee electric development with the goal of a “National Series for 2025.”

NASCAR will focus on determining safety practices and incorporate certain aspects of the Formula E and ERC EV series. Racecar sounds will also be addressed as well. Formula E uses unique sounds for each team’s cars. It will also access going with the racecar’s natural sound. 

There is also consideration being given for the OEs to create racecar bodies of their own production SUV and crossover models. Some have questioned whether the OEs could generate bodies in time for the Coliseum race. But creating it is the easy part. Wind tunnel testing is what takes time, but the speculated timeline seems more than doable. 

How is Nascar electric racing better than ICE Cup racing?

NASCAR hybrid
Dodge hybrid racecar | Getty

To make EV racing compelling, NASCAR needs to hit certain targets. Lap times would need to at least match, or better, exceed those of current Generation Seven racing. Pit stops could only be for tire replacement, mechanical issues, and/or crash damage repair. Two races per weekend would be scheduled around Cup races, with one on Saturday and another on Sunday.

Supposedly, the Generation Seven cars can accommodate swapping out ICE drivetrain clips for battery and electric motor clips. The rest of the car can handle the change, so there should be no changes to the cabins, suspensions, or brakes. Specs call for three electric motors driving all four wheels. Imagine the added traction over the current rear-wheel-drive racecars. To achieve NASCAR’s targets, the engines would need to generate 1,000 hp. A 900-volt battery adds 200 kW from regenerative braking. 

What about Tesla?

NASCAR Next Gen
NASCAR Next Gen Mustang | Ford

What is on some enthusiasts’ minds is if adding EVs ultimately means companies like Polestar and Tesla fielding cars? Though not a cheap proposition, it would definitely add interest to have more automakers competing. Don’t forget, the glory days of NASCAR were when cars from Pontiac, Dodge, Mercury, and Plymouth ran with the Fords, Chevys, and Dodges. Giving fans the opportunity to spread the love adds to the overall satisfaction of NASCAR events.

So will any of this happen? We know that NASCAR is definitely exploring an EV race series. It has even said so. But, if these leaked docs are legit, this is the first framework fans can bite into. That is if this really is legit. 

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