NASCAR might explore an electric series, and they could learn a lot from Formula E and Rally Cross.
After the news broke earlier this year NASCAR may be seeking an electric version From their series as early as next year, I was incredibly interested and received a deluge of emails from both enthusiastic viewers and fast-moving critics alike. But one message was clear from everyone. NASCAR may only have one shot at this, so it’s best to do it right.
Looking at two very mainstream electric racing series, Formula E and Rally Cross, there are plenty of lessons to be learned, especially since both series came from pre-existing racing systems with gas-powered cars, like NASCAR today. In short, five key tips can easily be applied to your first attempt at electrifying NASCAR.
shorter races –
Formula E might be into something with a race structure, where all the races are completed in one day, and the actual racing event only takes 45 minutes. In a world of ever shorter periods of interest, this differentiation has allowed the European racing series to establish a significantly younger audience, something NASCAR desperately needs.
This style of racing also means that racing cars can run on batteries at 100% of the time, drivers don’t have to take off, and teams don’t have to organize “car keys”; Formula E had to learn that lesson the hard way, and it’s wise to learn NASCAR too.
Make cars as fast as possible –
When people talk about Formula E, the sad truth is that cars are seen by many as cleaner and greener, slower, and F1 cars are less exciting. Unfortunately, these people are somewhat right. While Formula E has learned a lot from its inceptionThis is still a lesson, or perhaps a challenge, that they have not been able to overcome.
So what does this mean for NASCAR? This means that NASCAR has a unique opportunity to make its cars faster with electric drivetrains and even faster than some of its arch rivals. Imagine an ad where the new electric NASCAR lines up with the current hybrid Formula 1 car. How successful would this ad be if the regular car was faster? Throw in a couple of screaming_eagle.mp3 shows and a guitar solo or two, and you’ll get NASCAR back to greatness.
Give manufacturers some freedom –
As someone who has worked in Formula E, I can tell you exactly Many manufacturers are looking for it and why some chose to leave FE; There is not enough design freedom. Manufacturers, now more than ever, want to test charging, battery chemistry, tire compounds, engine structures, battery management systems, and everything in between. Unfortunately, they can’t have that much freedom in Formula E or Rally Cross. NASCAR could be the first!
The basis of modern Nascar is car standardization, but even if teams were allowed to fiddle with one of the components I mentioned above, they would struggle to join the sport.
Use new technology to show racing –
Rally Cross has done a great job putting its races on TV. The quiet (relative) nature of electric drivetrains means they can put music into all phases of a broadcast. On top of that, they make every race look like Ken Block’s sports video from five years ago! Drones get inches from cars as they pound around corners; There are more jumping and drifting areas on courses than ever before. This all adds up to a much more exciting race to watch in person and on screen.
NASCAR has already mastered the art of driver cameras for years now, but adding music and drones could make the experience even better. Allow viewers to feel that the race is a movie, and help them feel the speed and violence of the race happening around them!
Inclination to the character of the driver –
This may be due to the American nature of NASCAR, or maybe mine, but the passionate drivers and their many quirks give NASCAR a unique appeal. Don’t just watch the race cars spinning around the track, but watch a battle between a sinister newcomer who swears too much and an old timer who only needs one good final race and who smokes in his car (both during and after the race). While Formula E has tried to create this aspect, to the point of letting drivers vote on performance boosts (don’t do that, NASCAR), their polished European drivers don’t offer the same excitement as Roy “Buckshot” Jones or Dick Trickle.
More, more exciting races –
Similar to shorter races, you also need more good races in this intense driving time. I’ve seen my fair share of Formula 1, and I love the excitement of seeing a driver go from last to first (Sergio Perez) or even the other way around (also, Sergio Perez). Rally Cross and Formula E ensure there is always an excitement to watch. Abuses happen constantly, and this is no accident. Both electric series have rules that temporarily force drivers off the race lane (Formula E’s Attack Mode is the best example). At the same time, the cars were trimmed to allow more room on the track, which again encouraged overtaking.
If NASCAR could encourage more action per minute, drivers and spectators alike would have more interest.
Needless to say, I’m excited for it NASCAR Electric, I hope it becomes reality. At the same time, a dedicated focus on improving the racing and viewing experience could lead to great results for the Heritage racing series and could eventually revive NASCAR as a first-class racing series once again.
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