NASCAR has not hidden its intention to electrify stock car racing in the coming years, but it may happen sooner than expected.
Documents uncovered by the Kickin’ the Tires website reveal potential plans to launch an electric support series next year.
According to the report, NASCAR will demonstrate a prototype electric racing car during the Clash at the LA Coliseum pre-season event in February, then follow it up with a six-race series “aligned with Cup Series” weekends.
The cars will be modified Cup Series cars with fully electric, all-wheel-drive powertrains rated near 1,000 horsepower, compared to the 670 hp V8s used in the conventional vehicles.
The performance goal is for the EVs to be able to lap a track as quickly as a Cup Series car, and efforts are being made to add an entertaining sound to the otherwise near-silent electric drive.
Just 12 cars would feature in the races, which would be split between two 30-minute events with no pit stops or charging held on Saturday and Sunday.
NASCAR and the manufacturers are also considering using sport utility vehicle style bodies to help set the series apart, the documents said.
NASCAR did not confirm the details of the report, but issued the following statement to Fox News Autos:
“As we have mentioned in the past, we are exploring the potential for an EV demonstration series. We are currently working with our OEM [original equipment manufacturer] partners and race teams as the program progresses.”
Beyond the possibility of electric versions, the Next Gen Cup Series cars that launched this year were designed with a transaxle-type gearbox with provisions to add an electric motor in a hybrid configuration, and NASCAR has said such a car is under consideration.
It would likely be used for only part of the season on road courses and shorter ovals where regenerative brakes would be able to charge the batteries between acceleration events, which isn’t possible on the high-speed ovals where the brakes aren’t used much or at all.