The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) has created an electric vehicle class for drag racing. It’s set to debut in 2022 as part of the NHRA Summit Racing Series.
Electric drag racing is nothing new, but this marks the first time the NHRA has formally incorporated electric cars into one of its racing series. The decision follows a series of meetings on electric drag racing held by the sanctioning body over the past four years, according to an NHRA press release.
The new class will provide automakers “a platform to showcase their EV technology, production, and racing efforts,” NHRA Vice President of Competition Ned Walisser said in a statement. However, rules for the class haven’t been finalized, so it’s unclear what form these electric drag cars will take.
Chevrolet eCOPO Camaro pulls a wheelie
One possibility is adding electric powertrains to existing production vehicles, as with the Chevrolet eCOPO Camaro and Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 prototypes that have already run at some dragstrips.
Tesla has never shown interest in racing, but YouTube is full of videos showing the automaker’s EVs humiliating internal-combustion-engine cars at the dragstrip. Long before modern production electric cars, drag racing was also an important part of the homebuilt EV scene, populated by cars like the “White Zombie,” a 1972 Datsun 1200 electric conversion.
The NHRA is one of several racing sanctioning bodies looking to get greener. Formula One already uses hybrid powertrains, with IndyCar expected to follow suit in 2023 (one year later than planned due to coronavirus delays), and even NASCAR is considering hybrids. The Formula E electric single-seater series is gaining traction, and recently added the Extreme E off-road series. In Europe, electric counterparts to the popular touring-car and rallycross categories are under development.