Benedict Huszar / Staff Reporter
Whether or not electric cars are the future of civilian transportation is a debate for another time. This is purely a discussion about motorsport and electric race cars. In my opinion, electric cars are not the future of motorsports, yet.
This is not including hybrid systems, which have both become very common in recent years.
Cars, and therefore racing have been using and developing petrol engines for over 100 years and manufacturers have gotten pretty good at making them.
The sudden change from gas to electric would be quite difficult for drivers and engineers who have been using petrol engines for many many years. For example, manufacturers haven’t quite figured out who to combine performance and range in an electric engine, so for an endurance race like the 24 hours of Le Mans, 24 hours of Daytona or 12 hours of Sebring. Another problem with electric systems at the moment is weight, “[electric] systems add additional weight to the car – and weight is one of the greatest handicap factors in motorsport.” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, head of Audi motorsport in a Q&A with Racecar Engineering.
It’s hard to generalize all motorsports as there are already fully electric motorsports and motorsports in which electric vehicles are allowed to compete sanctioned by the FIA (Federation International de L’automobile), mainly Formula E and E-karting, Isle of man and Pikes Peak.
However, these are all large-scale motorsports sanctioned by the largest governing body in motorsports. Amateur motorsports such as autocross, club racing and one-make series are meant to be relatively affordable
and accessible to the masses and electric cars are just too expensive right now, and most likely will be for a long time.
Most racing fans just aren’t ready for a world of racing without the visceral sounds, smells and feeling of attending a race, as these are some of the main attractions of motorsports.
Overall, the question of whether or not electric vehicles are the future of motorsports or not is a difficult one to answer without heavy speculation or denial. The only thing that is certain isn’t if they are the future, but when.