This Is What An Electric NASCAR Racer Could Look Like

Can you really imagine a world where NASCAR goes electric?
NASCAR EV prototype - front
NASCAR EV prototype - front

NASCAR is a sport defined by the enormous, rip-roaring V8s that power its cars, and it arguably wouldn’t be what it is without them. Even a motorsport as rooted firmly in tradition as NASCAR, though, is looking to the future of what might power its cars, and you know what that means: the E word.

Yep, NASCAR chose its street race in Chicago this past weekend to reveal a prototype for an electric racer, and we imagine it’s going to be a lot for the sport’s hardcore fans to take in. It’s been unveiled in partnership with electrical equipment manufacturer ABB, which is notable as the title sponsor of the Formula E championship.

NASCAR EV prototype - rear
NASCAR EV prototype - rear

Some of the numbers involved might soften the shock (pun very much intended) of an electric NASCAR racer. It’s powered by a 78kWh battery, which drives three electric motors – one on the front axle, and two on the rear.

Those motors are produced by Austria’s STARD, basically the go-to company for EV motorsport. It produces drivetrains for everything from World Rallycross’ electric racers to this year’s Pikes Peak-winning Ford F-150 Lightning SuperTruck. The setup it’s cooked up for the NASCAR EV prototype can have the power turned up and down, but at its peak produces 1000kw – a mighty 1341bhp.

EV crossovers from Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet at the NASCAR EV prototype reveal
EV crossovers from Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet at the NASCAR EV prototype…

Built on a modified version of NASCAR’s current ‘Next Gen’ chassis, the drivetrain isn’t the only departure. While the sport’s almost always used saloon or coupe bodies as the basis for its cars, the EV prototype reflects the way the car market has gone in recent years: it’s a crossover.

NASCAR calls it a “generic” body, but on display at its reveal were EV crossovers currently sold by all three of the sport’s manufacturers – the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Toyota bZ4X, and Chevrolet Blazer – and the body looks a bit like a mashup of all three.

Said body is made from a flax-based composite, as the sport looks to reduce emissions not just from its engines, but across the board, with a goal of carbon net zero by 2035.

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The prototype ran on the Chicago circuit over the weekend and took off as rapidly as you’d expect a 1341bhp, triple-motor EV racer to, but with a very different soundtrack to the one NASCAR fans are used to.

It’s likely to be a while before we see it in proper racing action, though, and if and when an EV series does materialise, it’ll likely sit alongside the main Cup Series as a support category rather than supersede it. V8 fans can rest easy for a while yet.


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