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In early August, Tony Stewart raced an electric vehicle in four exhibition runs. The car was a Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 EV, and the event was the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Clearly Tony Stewart is no stranger to racing, but taking an EV to top speeds is certainly new to him. Yet Stewart was impressed with the electric vehicle. He even said that there is “absolutely” a place for electric cars in racing. 

Tony Stewart sits in the driver's seat of a racecar.
Tony Stewart | Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Tony Stewart got driving lessons from Bob Tasca III

According to Autoweek, Bob Tasca III, who has been driving the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 EV since it was released, gave Stewart some pointers. After that, Stewart took the electric Ford Mustang on four exhibition loops spread over three days. 

So what did Stewart think of the electric Mustang? In a quote on Autoweek, Stewart noted that the build of the electric vehicle made it theoretically easier to drive, though it also takes some getting used to. “The big thing that you notice is it doesn’t torque the car to the right rear corner when it leaves. All these other cars, because of crankshafts and the direction that the load is on the crankshaft, it twists the cars to the right and loads the right rear tire harder. So with the electric car, it just sits down flat in the back, which is nice, because that’s what you ultimately would want in the perfect world, anyway. But it does that, and it doesn’t have that torsional twist to it that you have in combustion engine cars.”

Does Stewart think that electric car racing could be coming?

Stewart said that although he thinks electric car racing “absolutely” has a place, it won’t replace traditional fuel-powered cars. He also noted that it wouldn’t be surprising if people weren’t super into electric car racing at first.  “It always takes people a little bit of time to warm up to.”

While Stewart may not see electric cars replacing combustion engine racing cars, there are other celebrities and notable drivers who do see a future for it. Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Michael Andretti own electric car racing teams.

EV racing is becoming a big thing

Formula E currently has 12 teams, while Formula 1 only has 10. Although Formula E wasn’t an immediate hit – the Observer notes that it began racing “before sometimes puzzled crowds,” it’s attracting more and more car manufacturers.

Many car manufacturers like Honda are moving to Formula E because of the opportunity to experiment with new car designs. Electric vehicles are becoming more widespread, and government initiatives worldwide to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road make electric car racing a venture worth getting into. 

The advent and expansion of electric vehicle racing is sure to make an impact on widespread electric vehicle adoption. As people see the capabilities of electric engines, and car manufacturers utilize some of the EV racecar technology in mass-produced vehicles, the image of electric vehicles is sure to change. And with Formula E teams outnumbering Formula 1, it seems that the move is in full force.


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