National Council of Corvette Clubs lifts competition ban on E-Ray
First it was banned, and now it isn’t.
The National Council of Corvette Clubs, which encompasses about 250 clubs in 16 regions and more than 19,000 members, lifted the ban on the Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray from Council-backed competition events. Not only was the E-Ray barred from on-track competition, but the rules also required E-Rays (plus all other hybrids and EVs) to park at least 30 feet from buildings or other cars.
The cause for concern is lithium-ion battery fires, which can’t be extinguished quickly or easily using normal methods. Multiple racetracks are figuring out how to navigate the risk of these incidents, which can be much more difficult to extinguish than conventional battery fires.
According to CorvetteBlogger.com, General Motors became involved last week, likely sensitive to the kind of publicity the as-yet unreleased hybrid E-Ray was getting.
“Prior to Friday’s reversal,” the website’s story said, “we spoke about it with Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles, who says they had already discussed it with the NCCC and that it was all a misunderstanding. He said the rule change was passed before the E-Ray was revealed, and Chevy’s engineers maintain that the battery packs in the E-Ray are very safe for competitive events. Harlan points out that these same kinds of performance hybrids are currently racing in the top classes at IMSA and Le Mans.”
Apparently that was enough for the NCCC to reverse course. Club President Deb Murphy sent out the following memo to members: “National Council of Corvette Clubs has adjusted section 1.8.14 of our event rules to allow for the inclusion of hybrid vehicles in NCCC events. The rule was originally intended to only apply to fully electric vehicles. The Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray will be allowed to compete. I believe the quickest Corvette in history will be a great addition to our future events.”
Murphy told Hagerty.com that it was “an error in our rulebook. Hybrid was NEVER meant to be included.”
So the E-Ray gets a reprieve for on-track activities, assuming, of course, such events won’t be held at a track the bans electric and hybrid vehicles.