Volkswagen is pushing to add a class for electric cars in the FIA World RallyCross Championship and and the Global RallyCross Championship, according to Autocar. The company currently competes in World RallyCross competition using a race car based on the Beetle chassis. It has about 550 horsepower in competition trim. VW uses a racing version of the VW Polo in the Global RallyCross competition.
Volkswagen’s head of technology, Franck Welsch, says electric cars in those racing series would be a way of show off how advanced electric car technology is becoming. In effect, the idea is little different than the “Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday” philosophy that was once a major part of NASCAR racing, back in the days when the cars on track actually had some relationship to production cars.
“I can certainly imagine a championship done with all-electric cars,” Welsch said. “The races are around six minutes long, which allows for short, intense bursts of competition and then charging. Today these cars are super-powerful, have torque from hell and use all-wheel drive. Electric drivetrains could deliver that. If the championship moved that way it would be perfect for us. We are already in discussions with organisers to that effect.”
Welsch also confirmed that his company will continue in the World Rally Championship for at least the next “two to three years”, with an all-new Polo launching to meet the new regulations in 2017. “We like being three time champions very much, and hope to add to that even when the competition intensifies in the coming years [with the arrival of Toyota and a newly-developed Citroen].”
Racing electric cars seemed a rather silly idea when Alejandro Agag first proposed the Formula E racing series for open wheel electric cars 5 years ago, but now that series is well established and attracting a great deal of interest from organizers and fans. Just last week, another racing series was formed called the Electric GT World Championship. That series is set to begin in 2017 and will feature lightened rear wheel drive Tesla Model S P85+ cars, at least for the first season.
Welsch and Volkswagen are smart to pursue a category for electric cars in rallycross competition. Anything that de-mystifies electric cars has got to be good for the fossil fuel free revolution. It also would help divert the attention of the public from Volkswagen’s sorrowful diesel cheating scandal woes.
Photo credit: AutoBlog