The transition to Nascar EV racing seems inevitable, and fans could get a taste of its battery-powered future as soon as 2023, as leaked documents indicate that the U.S. racing series plans to launch an EV-only support series next season.
Screenshots of the documents were uncovered by Kickin’ The Tires, revealing plans to bring a prototype EV race car to the track next year, where it will debut at the pre-season 2023 Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. In the third quarter of 2023, Nascar will then introduce a six-race support series with EV race cars at six venues “likely aligned with Cup Series events.” It’s not clear if Cup Series drivers will participate in the events, however.
Each EV racing event will include a roster of just 12 race cars. There will be two 30-minute races, one on Saturday and the next on Sunday. The goal is for the EV race cars to be able to run lap times on par with the gasoline-powered race cars, and non-competitive pit stops will be allowed for teams to change tires or fix crash damage, while charging and battery swaps will not be allowed. The vehicles will feature all-wheel-drive powertrains capable of up to 1,000 horsepower, facilitated by three high-output motors and a 200 kW regen unit.
The uncovered documents also indicate that Nascar will employ what it learns from the EV racing division to “determine the best path forward in National Series for 2025.” In fact, the Next Gen race car, which debuted for the 2022 Cup Series season, was designed with electrification in mind, and can support the addition of hybrid motors without modification.
Nascar has not confirmed its plans to execute an EV-only series next season, but in early 2022, Steve O’Donnell, Nascar Chief Operating Officer, stated that the organization was looking into an exhibition series consisting of battery electric race cars.
Reportedly, Nascar’s push toward electrification will include “exploring options for sound,” bringing excitement to what would otherwise be a silent drive. The sanctioning body and manufacturers may also consider the use of crossover of SUV bodies in the future to reflect recent buyer trends and embody the “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” mantra.
If Nascar does, in fact, go all-electric, it will certainly be interesting to observe which vehicles each manufacturer chooses to run. Currently, Chevrolet runs the Camaro ZL1 coupe, but the production model will be discontinued after 2024. There could be a yet-unveiled Bow Tie EV waiting in the wings for a Cup Series debut. Meanwhile, Ford could choose to move forward with a Mustang Mach-E racer.