Electric NASCAR set to debut at Busch Light Clash on Feb. 4

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The first fully electric NASCAR will make its public debut during the Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum event in Los Angeles on February 4th. And, yes — we know that it’s not called “a NASCAR,” but just go with it.

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR, natch) confirmed that it was working on an electric version of its tube-frames silhouette racers last year, but precious little is actually known about the car, or what series the car will eventually race in.

In fact, the only things we really do know about NASCAR’s electric race car are that:

  1. it’s electric
  2. it’s not really a “car”

An image of the electric NASCAR project car leaked late last year on the r/NASCAR subreddit (below) with rear fenders and a window line that looked an awful lot to some commenters like the Ford Mustang Mach-E crossover.

The electric NASCAR prototype car was reportedly subjected to more than 340 laps of half-mile oval action at a over three days at the half-mile short track in Martinsville, Virginia, with Sportsnaut reporting that David Ragan drove it to “within a few tenths” of the current Cup Series racecar, which is believed to share the same base chassis and suspension beneath the composite body shell. Despite that similarity, however, it’s important to note that this isn’t a vehicle that’s likely to have much of an actual racing career.

“This car is to be prepared for the future. We’re not sitting here today and announcing a bunch of cars for a racing series,” explains NASCAR Vice President of Vehicle Design Brandon Thomas.. “Think of this as a concept car.”

We’ll all know more about the new electric NASCAR racer when it makes its formal debut a week from Sunday.

Electrek’s Take

Next-gen NASCAR racer; courtesy NASCAR.
Next-gen NASCAR racer; courtesy NASCAR.

The next-gen car shown, above, isn’t electric. That said, we can learn a lot about how NASCAR presents forward-looking concepts by looking at that car, and applying those lessons to the electric crossover concept we expect to see next week.

For starters, the next-gen NASCAR concept features generic markings that don’t immediately suggest a Ford, Chevy, or Toyota vehicle. That’s important to avoid accusations of favoritism, but also important from a marketing perspective, as it allows other manufacturers the opportunity to project their own styling cues (in the form of headlight stickers and window cutouts) onto a generic shape and making it easier for them to draw a “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” type of correlation between a NASCAR entry and the models on their showroom floors. As the American market moves away from coupes and sedans, though, a crossover body shape might be a more attractive marketing prospect … and that, more than the electric drivetrain, is likely to be the real “concept” on display at the Clash.

If the public responds well to a body shape that could be stickered up to look like Mustang Mach-E, Chevy Blazer SS, or Toyota bZ4X, maybe it could also be made to look like a Chrysler Airflow, Kia EV6, or VW ID.4, too. And that may be the point.

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