Rallycross Could Be a Home to EVs in Motorsports, Michael Andretti Says
While enthusiasts turn their backs to electric, rallycross should welcome it with open arms.
Electric cars in motorsports are a rare breed still. Sure, Formula E exists, and EVs have their own class at hill climb evens like Pikes Peak - but the longstanding reigns are still held by the king who guzzles gasoline. One retired racer and current team owner, Michael Andretti, believes that he's found just the place for EVs in modern racing: rallycross.
Andretti's team has been racing in many automotive motorsports, including being partnered with Volkswagen for the the Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) and Formula E, where the team is seeking tentative partnership with BMW. With stake in both electric and gasoline-powered platforms, Andretti believe the future of some motorsports may heavily rely on electric cars more than most people think. As someone who enjoys diversifying their racing product, Andretti Autosport sees GRC as a great outlet to millennials interested in cars.
Rallycross is actually the perfect place for people to go out and say, 'Wow, those electric cars really perform.' I think it will definitely help people understand the new technology more, and maybe encourage fans to want to go out and buy an electric car.
One undeniable fact is that any car stressed as much as a rally car is going to require a lot of maintenance. An example of this is M-Sport, who sells a rally car built from a Ford Fiesta. Their £390,000 ($500,000) package comes with some hefty service tax. At 1600 km (~995 miles), a complete engine and turbo rebuild is recommended. The service itself, which takes over one working week to complete, costs £29,976.98 ($38,640.33) and does not include any work to the majority of the rotating assembly or cylinder head. Andretti believes that an electric powertrain will be perfect for introducing massive long-term cost savings.
Considering that GRC track lengths are relatively short, this makes the perfect application for high torque output. Even though electric cars are getting great range nowadays, these cars can skimp on the heavy long range battery packs and reduce their weight to accommodate for just the range they need. Coupled with powerful electric motors, this combination could not only allow for maintenance savings, but also for the promoted advancement of EVs in general.
Whether it's dominating the streets or the track, EVs seem to be finding their place in modern society today. As more sports adopt battery-powered cars into their standings, it opens up a new door to continue the long life of racing without being threatened by the eventual decline of the fossil-fuel powered engine.