Auto racing has always been a much about the unfiltered sound of performance as the competition itself, but a new generation of electric cars delivers an entirely different experience. Behold how quiet a gathering of 43 Tesla Model S sedans can be as they race around Richmond International Raceway. Can this quiet take on classic motorsports bring racing back to the masses?
A couple of weeks ago, 43 Tesla Model S owners showed up at Richmond International Raceway for a gathering of volt-heads (as Jeremy Clarkson would call them). A brief two-minute video shows us what dozens of electric cars lapping a race track sounds like, and…it doesn’t sound like much. Granted, these guys seem to be taking a leisurely lap, rather than hauling ass, but it’s still all very mellow. So why does this matter?
In recent years, many race tracks and drag strips have come under fire from local developers and communities complaining about noise issues. As absurd as it may sound, many of these lawsuits are forcing tracks that have been around for decades to shut down, or otherwise seriously curtail track and racing seasons. Compare how quiet the Tesla Model S is in this drag race against an old school Dodge Viper.
But as this video shows, electric cars like the Tesla Model S lack what some might call the obnoxious roar (though I love the sound of an unbridled V8, personally). This means that perhaps race tracks could start moving back into populated areas, drawing in new fans from a wider swath of the population.
It’s also a helluva lot cheaper, with each run down the track costing just 6-cents. A typical top fuel drag racer can consume 11.5 gallons of nitromethane in a single quarter-mile race, at a cost of about $16 a gallon. Racing series like the Formula E hope to showcase just that by racing through the centers of world-class cities like Los Angeles and Beijing.
I am getting ahead of myself though. For now, enjoy the sound of the future of racing.