Who Will Be The First To Race An Electric Vehicle In An Amatuer Series?
Some people think that the Electric Vehicles (EVs) are relatively new invention. This is far from the truth. The timeline of the electric car actually starts 54 years prior to Karl Benz's patenting of his Motorwagen.
- 1832 - Scottish inventor Robert Anderson attached electric motor to a carriage
- On January 29, 1886, Carl Benz applied for a patent for his “vehicle powered by a gas engine.”
- December 18, 1898, Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat set the first land record at 39.23 MPH in a Jeantaud electric car.
- The FIA held the first Formula E, fully electric car race, at the Beijing's Olympic Park on September 13, 2014.
- March of 2020, when the Tesla Model 3 became the all-time best selling plug-in electric passenger car with over 500,000 units sold.
Which begs the question: it took 188 years for the electric car to become main stream, how long before we see Electric Vehicles (EVs) in a wheel to wheel amateur racing series like Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) or Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA)?
Vintage Racing A Formula E?
This may come as a shock to many, but we may start to see Formula E cars vintage racing well before electric cars are appearing at SCCA or NASA wheel to wheel events. This is simply due to numbers. The Formula E series created the first "mass produced" electric race car. But, like many forms of racing, the rules have changed rendering the old Formula E cars obsolete. Unlike the professional Trans-Am cars of the 1960s and 70s which later were raced in amateur production series like A Sedan, there is no racing series for the Formula E cars to be handed down to. Which means, the pioneering versions of the Formula E cars have no place to go but in a museum or vintage racing. Simply put, no other form of racing will match the car's specs. Lucky for the obsolete Formula E owner/driver, this should not be an issue since vintage races suit the car's limited range lasting 20-25 minutes.
Will The SVRA Allow Your Going Green Machine To Race?
We believe that the gold standard of vintage automobile racing is the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association. This organization is quite liberal in the word "vintage" and understands that time keeps clicking by. Where some organizations seem to follow the rule of the dying baby boomer oldies radio stations and deliberately stop the clock at some arbitrary time, the SVRA's only requirement is that the car is "as raced" from 5 years ago today. Which means that the 2014-2015 model Formula E electric race cars will once again be able to race in wheel-to-wheel competition in the 2021 SVRA season.
In The End, Noise Will Not Win Races, Torque Will
If you ever doubted the performance capabilities of an electric car, check out the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak record run from 2018. There is no getting around the fact that race-prepared electric vehicles are well suited for the track. Sure, EV race cars may sounds like a blender making a smoothie, but in the end, noise will not win races, torque will.
With more electric race cars being built every year, seeing one competing at a SVRA, SCCA, NASA or dare I say National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) event may not be the may not be to far off in the future.
The key will be for the leaders of the organizations to strike a balance between a respect for the past and enthusiasm for the future.
EVHERO. 2020. History Of Electric Cars - EVHERO. [online] Available at: <https://evhero.co.uk/history-of-electric-car/> [Accessed 22 November 2020].
J.R. Holthusen (1999). The Fastest Men on Earth. Sutton Publishing. p. 6.
Fiaformulae.com. 2020. History | FIA Formula E. [online] Available at: <https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/discover/history> [Accessed 22 November 2020].
Svra.com. 2020. Race Groups | SVRA. [online] Available at: <https://svra.com/race-groups/> [Accessed 22 November 2020].