- Nitro Rallycross offers a fully electric vehicle class.
- The FC1-X Group E spec car is the fastest car in the history of the sport with the ability to take off in 1.4 seconds after 60 seconds from the starting line.
- Organizers are looking to offer electric racing to fans looking for extreme, exciting and cool.
Travis Pastrana’s FC1-X landed the 100-foot gap jump in first place, even after Irishman Kris Meeke’s car hit him mid-air. 40 seconds and he three turns later, the two cars crossed the finish line in the dust at 110 mph (about 110 mph). Meeke won, but penalized for contact, allowing the Americans to claim championship points instead.
It was a typical sunny Saturday for the race at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park outside of Phoenix. Aside from the eerie silence.
The stands were filled with regular fans. Vendors were throwing Raceway specialty tacos and energy drinks. But in the shimmering air, every speck of dust cast the rays slightly obliquely and something was missing.
According to Chip Pankow, that something was a chest-rumbling internal combustion of fossil fuels.
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Pankow is the general manager of Nitro Rallycross. This sport was born out of Travis Pastrana’s lifelong flirtation with his bike and death. From 2022 to his 2023 racing season, the fast-moving industry is breaking new ground again by rolling an all-electric class race car dubbed ‘Group E’ onto his race course on closed dirt. did. The doubleheader event held in Phoenix on November 11–13 was his fifth stop on his current eight-stop international tour.
It’s not the first time electric cars have (quietly) entered the race car scene, but Formula E (on-road) and Extreme E (off-road) are international racing events that are fully electric. ‘ means bigger jumps, sandbalms and banked turns, ready to play a unique role in the environmental movement.
“We’re building a new sport here, and we’re trying to do it in a festival atmosphere that speaks to the younger demographic on their terms.” I know it’s cool, it’s fast and it’s fun to drive.”
Pankow said that while existing electric car racing events preach choirs and travel the globe to support the climate benefits of reducing fossil fuel use, many If the message is missing the audience along with the crowd that could be a new message.
While Formula E and Extreme E events only feature electric vehicles and attract green fans, Nitro Rallycross also has an internal combustion engine racing category and a petrol-burning all-terrain vehicle racing category as well. I have.
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With each car in Group E priced at around $450,000, organizers hoped that due to the loyal fan base that exists in a world where the term “high-octane” has become synonymous with extreme, exciting and cool, electric I was betting on my racing debut. Deployments have also suffered setbacks due to the pandemic and supply chain issues as demand for lithium batteries increases worldwide. But Pankow said he looked at the sport, considered its future and the future of the planet, and decided to make the bet.
“We knew that if we were going to do this, it had to be spectacular,” Pankow said.
Motorsport is ‘keeping up with the times’
For Pastrana, ‘Spectacular’ started with bikes and big air.
At 13, he entertained fans by throwing tricks in the middle of a motocross race. His unique stand-up his riding style was excellent at finding jump combinations, and his natural aptitude for speed allowed him to add stunt decoration without losing edge. In 2000, he took home his American Motorcyclist Association motocross championship and raced in his category of the men’s 125cc 2-stroke for Suzuki.
Since then, he has led the field with progressive supersizing of jumps and motorsport performance. His Freestyle His illustrious motocross career includes his five-year streak as the winner of the annual World Championship Includes numerous gold medals. He still trains on a dirt bike course known as “Pastranaland” at his home outside of Annapolis, Maryland, where he limits-tests his jumps and tight turns. But his latest passion is demonstrating the competitiveness of fully electric vehicles.
“Our goal is to show that EVs can not only help the environment, but they can actually race,” said Pastrana.
“Normal” rally races have traditionally been held in the woods and over hundreds of miles of dirt road routes, said Pastrana, chief marketing officer of the Vermont sportscar team, of which star driver said Chris Yandel. However, at some point in the 1970s in rally-heavy Britain, racing was suspended to limit the spread of local livestock pathogens.
“They haven’t been able to do events for several years and they were like, ‘What are you going to do with our rally car?'” said Yandel.. “So they put them on a closed-course track, dirt and tarmac. That’s kind of how Rally was born. Make it stand out.”
An American dirt racing prodigy, Pastrana has taken the lead in pushing and promoting the boundaries of the sport’s next phase, bringing his backwoods skills and bike jumps to the track. It may sound far away, but the evolution of rally car racing from breathtaking long-distance pursuits that are only witnessed first-hand by avid fans willing to trek to the best viewing spots has generated mixed reactions. is filled with
Pankow said he occasionally hears voices from “haters,” but “very rarely.” He believes that eventually most racetrack fans will be on board, and that internal combustion engines may even one day be phased out of car racing entirely. We are aware that tires are linked to deforestation and account for 10% of microplastic pollution in our oceans, and we have partnered with Yokahoma Tires, a brand committed to reducing its impact.
“People see motorsports as wasteful and bad for the environment,” said Joe Ron Brana, a local Phoenix local and long-time rally car fan and former member of the Vermont Sports Car Support Team at the Wild Horse Pass stand. “But that’s not entirely true. I think this goes to show that motorsport is slowly catching up with the times.”
Nothing else about these cars is slow. With an electrical output equivalent to 1,070 peak horsepower (F1 race cars average about 1,050 horsepower) and the ability to take him up to 60 horsepower in 1.4 seconds from the starting line, the FC1-X Group E spec car is the sport’s It’s the fastest car I’ve ever seen. They can rally best-in-class corners, punch straight, and with more power and weight, can clear bigger jumps than ever before.
The first rally car competition course in Utah, designed by Pastrana and raced for the first time in 2018, Pastrana says he can do it, first with a dirt bike and then his race car. And that was before the sport leveled up with its electric vehicle fleet.
Now that all drivers are behind the wheel of the same car, racing is more about skill and strategy, and more of a glorious race between automakers, much like those seen in NASCAR and F1’s raucous events. It’s no longer an advertising race.
There’s only one way forward for the climate
As the Group E fleet made its way to the start line for Sunday’s final on the Wild Horse Pass, speakers around the stands blared an accelerating heartbeat soundtrack to let fans know the race was about to begin. . The silence emanating from his $4 million worth car in the race for the first prize felt surreal, as if all the drivers had forgotten to start their engines for some reason. If you haven’t trained your ears to register the new sounds of the future of track racing, you could miss the beginning while chatting with other spectators.
As Pankow predicted, not all fans are still fans. For some, the intangible stillness surrounding all events about cheating death at high speeds is unsettling.
“It’s weird. I don’t think I like it,” said Becca Nguyen from Phoenix. She plans to drive to Wild Horse Pass to watch races for 10 years and raise her first child, who is still in the womb, with her car-savvy husband. I touched the culture of the place. “The noise really tells you what the driver is doing, whether he’s on the accelerator or not.”
But when the flag is waved, all the action is there. According to Pankow, there’s a saying in auto racing like “Scraping is racing, which means scraping fenders, scraping doors.” Electric cars crashed along his 1.2 km course, drifting corners and three him vying for position on either side of a 100-foot jump to entertain some 16,000 spectators over the weekend. rice field.
The Group E final had to be restarted after Norwegian driver Andreas Bakkerd landed his first jump slightly sideways and fell off the track. Although his car was towed away, he walked away from the crash as the announcer described the atmosphere among the fans as “electric.”
As Pankow puts it, those at the helm of Nitro Rallycross course changes should pay for the loss of racetrack acoustic vibrations to “encourage change in buying passion and desire.” He believes the ‘Nitrofied’ scene with bigger jumps, more horsepower, star drivers and a dash of ‘let’s not take it too seriously’ is the future. I am convinced that
For the sport’s biggest stars, who are always on the lookout for new challenges, the absence of explosive burning of fossil fuels leaves a doorway to other tactical information that will change the game in exciting new ways.
Pastrana, who won Friday’s final and was in good spirits after a disappointing sixth-place finish on Sunday, said: “There’s a lot more to hear. The weekend saw Swedes Robin Larsson and Oliver Ericsson. Finishing off the top two steps of the podium, Ireland’s Chris Meeke finished third.
The Group E cars will then debut on January 20-21, 2023 in Canada on an all-ice and snow track.
I can’t wait for Pastrana.
Joan Meiners is climate news and storytelling reporter for The Arizona Republic and azcentral. Before she became a journalist, she had a PhD in ecology. follow on Joan’s Twitter @B Cycle Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.