The number of electrified racing series grows slowly but surely around the world. However, all are new EV racing series that started from scratch.
So far, none of the major traditional series have gone all-electric, even though some of them added electric spinoff series or welcomed electric race cars in special classes. Assuming all motor racing series will eventually go all-electric, it’s probably safe to say that NASCAR will be the last one to make the transition.
America’s top stock car racing series has a highly traditional fanbase that finds it very difficult to imagine a NASCAR race car devoid of the rumble of a V8 engine, the exhaust flames that usually accompany it and the smell of burnt gasoline.
That said, you don’t have to close your eyes and imagine a perfectly silent, all-electric NASCAR vehicle because one already exists. It was created by Joe Gibbs Racing for its crew to practice pit stops on. The team yesterday shared a video on Twitter showing their all-electric Toyota TRD Camry NASCAR, and watching it is certainly strange because the car produces no sound other than tire screech during hard braking.
The video also gives us a peek at the electric vehicle’s charging cable and the high-voltage batteries that appear to be installed on the floor in the area where the front passenger would be in a regular car.
So why did Joe Gibbs Racing decide to use an electric car for pit stop practice? In short, convenience. The team used to train on a stock car similar to the Gen 6 cars the series raced for almost a decade. However, when NASCAR moved to a much more sophisticated and expensive Next Gen car this year, Joe Gibbs Racing decided to make an electric stock car for its pit crew to practice on.
Built specifically for pit stop practice, the EV has unique benefits, including the fact it is more affordable to build, more silent and “greener,” according to the team’s athletic director Matt Osborn. He also told Road & Track that it was much cheaper to build than a “real” NASCAR Gen 7 car for a pit practice car, adding that the team is hoping it will also be much more durable and cheaper to maintain in the long run.
Interestingly, the fact it is silent helps pit crews coordinate better as there’s no engine noise to keep them from communicating and hearing mistakes as they happen. The lack of exhaust gases means it can also be used indoors.
As for the prospect of NASCAR going all-electric, that won’t happen anytime soon, although an alleged leaked document from earlier this year revealed plans for demo races with prototype EVs taking place as early as February 2023.
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