NASCAR to transition to hybrid powertrain by 2024

NASCAR could introduce hybrid powertrains in 2024, the race series’ president said during a recent conference.

While speaking at the Sports Business Journal World Congress of Sports, Steve Phelps said NASCAR will have “some type of hybrid engine system with an electrification component” beginning in 2024, Fox Sports reporter Bob Pockrass tweeted Tuesday (via Carscoops).

In a 2019 interview, NASCAR senior vice president for racing innovation John Probst said the series could introduce hybrid powertrains as early as 2022. At the time, he indicated NASCAR was looking to introduce hybrid cars on road courses and shorter oval tracks first, followed by larger ovals. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, 2022 will now be the year NASCAR introduces its Next Gen race cars for the top Cup Series. Marking the first overhaul of NASCAR’s formula since the 2013 season, the Next Gen cars feature new bodies with styling that more closely resembles road cars, and more modern hardware, including center-locking wheels.

Among other race series, Formula One currently uses hybrid powertrains, while the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) has included them in its top Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) class. The companion IMSA LMDh class, set to launch in 2023, will use hybrid powertrains as well.

Other series are looking into electrification as well. IndyCar announced in 2019 that it would move toward hybrid powertrains, while the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) announced earlier this year that it would create an electric class for drag racing. Formula E and Extreme E have already been established around electric circuit and off-roading racing, respectively.

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