Hybrids & Electrics

Tesla Factory Backed Motorsports Program Conspicuously Missing

Factory backed motorsports programs are often the offspring of a young automotive manufacturing company. Ferrari and Porche went racing in their early days, as did Mini. Of course, the American manufacturers have done the same on and off through the years. Even Fisker and Rivian have established a racing presence. Interestingly, Tesla doesn’t have a motorsports program. The electric car manufacturer has no presence in racing aside from individual owners taking their vehicles to the tracks. What gives?

An FIA sanctioned series was approved to race Teslas

The Tesla Model S Performance offers a 2.3-second 0-60 time and over 350 miles of available range.
Tesla Model S | Tesla

Back in February of 2018, The Verge, ran a piece indicating that FIA, the Federation Internationale De L’Automobile, had officially approved an international Tesla racing series. It was hoped that the electric series would eventually attract other electric car manufacturers. But, they would start out with Tesla first. There was a problem though. Tesla didn’t back the series, although they were aware of it. As mentioned before, that was in 2018.

The FIA approved series called, known at the Electric Production Car Series, has struggled to get it feet on the ground. One of its biggest competitors is Formula E which is already several seasons into existence. But, a Tesla factory backed effort isn’t there either. So, it seems that the closest Tesla will come to racing as far as a company is the centerlock wheels on the new, soon-to-arrive roadster.

Going racing is an expensive endeavor

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Going racing is an expensive endeavor. It is true that Elon Musk, the founder of the company, has had the manufacturer focused on becoming profitable and maintaining profitability. But, backing some cars in high-profile racing events would only be good for the company. Added exposure can work to warm lagging adopters of electrification and thereby bring more money into the company coffers. Granted, circuits may not be the company’s thing to back (they tend to wear a battery out or overheat it). But, many people have shown the dominance of their Teslas at drag strips. Other race events are out there too, like navigation rallies, or how about sponsoring car auctions or concourses? Even the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb saw a Tesla this year. But, it was through a private effort by Unplugged Performance. 

Tesla is not utilizing racing as a marketing tool

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All I am saying is that Tesla has been swimming uphill for many years to make its presence known. And, it has been successful to a large degree. Yet, electric car sales are a small percentage of overall car sales. Why not have the company utilize untapped marketing tools, such as racing. Tesla Motorsports, where are you? Missing in inaction? 

Obviously, there is no way for me to know if Tesla has any racing plans. They may already have something in the works. All I can do is say that when I was young, watching racing encouraged me as a budding auto enthusiast to become familiar with cars, the differences between the brands, the company developments, etc. I’m sure that if Tesla were to go start backing some form, or multiple forms of racing, that today’s young enthusiasts would also become enamored with the company. The ball’s in Tesla’s court. Drag races, rally races, navigation challenges,… there’s a lot of potential out there.