Opinion: Can grassroots electric motorsport please? Car News

I have never been to either of the two Formula E London e-prizes, although I was living in Zone 2 at the time, so a recent trip to the Lydden Hill circuit in Kent for the British 5 Nations Rallycross last month became my first glimpse of electric racing.

The single-make Elimen Racing Fiat 500e series is still in its infancy, with the season comprising just four races – and all at Lydden. Still, each EV pocket rocket hits 60 mph in seven seconds, and a healthy 148 lb-ft of torque seems perfectly suited for quick Rallycross launches. Top speed might be only 85mph, but on a sprint course like Lydden I imagine that’s more than enough.

But here’s the problem: Every race was reserved for the Supercar class of over 550 hp, with high-revving gasoline engines and unrestricted exhaust systems. The Fiat’s were (unsurprisingly) oddly quiet in comparison, which really marked how hard the electric championships are going to have an impact when sharing a billing with the combustion classes.

I have no doubt that the sound of the gravel around the wheel arches and the high-pitched whine of an electric motor a few feet from the driver made for a pretty loud experience in the cockpit, but much of that is lost on onlookers – even those pressed against the barriers. It was telling that the lines at the food stalls and restrooms were the longest during these races. If you didn’t watch the circuit, you’d be forgiven for thinking there was a pause in the running order.

Each race was undeniably fast, with fierce battles between the riders, and the regularly raised plumes of dust meant it was just as visually spectacular as any other drive that day – if in a different league of the flagship racers. of Supercar. Three different race winners also meant a hotly contested final.

The entry of electric vehicles into a marching order that also includes group B rally cars spitting flames that echo their gun exhausts in half of the county only underscores that you are missing out on a sensory experience. whole. Even the slower Suzuki Swifts had the sound on their side. Can electric vehicles ever please in the same way? I am not sure.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-17 05:01:23

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