If you’ve found yourself daydreaming about an electrified version of your favourite NASCAR vehicle, it might be a good time to check out @JoeGibbsRacing on Twitter. The team shared a video of its all-electric Toyota TRD Camry, which, unlike the usual NASCAR lineup, produces almost no sound beyond the tires screeching during hard breaking.
While the Camry is certainly a sight to see, it is not used for racing — instead, the Joe Gibbs Racing team uses it for pit stop practice. According to the team, their practice car used to resemble the Gen 6 cars the series raced for almost a decade; that is, until NASCAR moved on to a more “sophisticated and expensive” Next Gen car this year, the Gen 7.
It’s electric ⚡️ ⁰⁰A look at the electric car that our pit crews are going to practice pit stops with here at the shop. ⁰⁰#NASCAR #racing #electric pic.twitter.com/qnx0Zaf4lO
— Joe Gibbs Racing (@JoeGibbsRacing) December 12, 2022
According to the team’s athletic director, Matt Osborn, the Toyota TRD Camry is significantly more affordable to build, quieter, and “greener”. Osborn also told Road & Track that it was much cheaper to build than a “real” NASCAR Gen 7 car for a pit practice car, and should require less maintenance over the long run. Even more compelling is the fact that the elimination of traditional engine noise helps pit crews coordinate better, as they can communicate and hear each other without disruption during pit stops. The lack of exhaust gases means it can also be used indoors.
This is what a typical training day looks like for Jackman @kellenlmills during the #NASCAR offseason. #practice #training #pitcrew pic.twitter.com/YIzw5sdhQu
— Joe Gibbs Racing (@JoeGibbsRacing) December 16, 2022
If you’re wondering if NASCAR is likely to sign-on for an all-electric future, it still seems unlikely that it would happen any time soon — but never say never. According to an alleged leaked document, NASCAR is currently looking to set up its own electric racing series, with a demonstration race expected to be held on February 5 at the 2023 Busch Clash in Los Angeles. If the documents are correct, the electric NASCAR racers will run on a 900-volt architecture and have in excess of 1,000 horsepower thanks to a trio of electric motors.