NHRA launches new EV drag-racing class for 2022

Phillip Thomas

The NHRA Summit Racing Series is about to have a whole new racing class that will likely cause a lot of stir in the drag racing world, though it won’t create much noise on the track. The class, set to debut for the 2022 season, will allow electric vehicles to compete against one another in the quarter-mile.

eCOPO Camaro Concept drag racing

Electric vehicle racing is nothing new. Chevrolet showed off the eCOPO back in 2018, Ford tested the CobraJet 1400 at NHRA events in 2020, and Don “Big Daddy” Garlits himself has been toying with an electric dragster for years. There are some interesting benefits to an electric drag car. For one thing, an electric motor should offer more consistency, considering that atmospheric conditions don’t come into play like they do with a combustion powerplant. The batteries and motors aren’t cheap, but neither is a race engine, and an electric setup has fewer moving pieces that can break or foul or jam. What’s common in drag racing, no matter the powerplant, is the skill required to read the track and get the perfect launch.

CobraJet 1400
Phillip Thomas

Like their internal-combustion counterparts, EV drag cars will need parts to continue racing in top condition, and Summit Racing Equipment, the title sponsor of the aforementioned racing series, hopes to offer the same kind of support to EV racers that it has to fuel-burners for the last 50+ years. Likewise, the NHRA sees the benefit in giving racers a safe place to test and develop their cars, whether it’s a Sportsman drag car like the CobraJet 1400 and eCOPO or a Tesla.

Phillip Thomas

“The NHRA is excited to provide the OEMs a platform to showcase their EV technology, production, and racing efforts,” said NHRA’s vice president of competition Ned Walliser. “Adding an EV category to Summit Racing Series expands our involvement in EV racing and better solidifies our effort to provide a platform of Speed for All.”

The NHRA is still cooking up class rules, but it hopes to have everything ironed out soon so that teams will have ample time to prepare for the 2022 season. As more manufacturers seek to get enthusiasts interested in electric vehicles, we may see new brand rivalries emerge on the drag strip.

Phillip Thomas
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