Enthusiasts around the community are stunned, but should they really be?
Front 3/4 view of 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray 3LZ coupe in Riptide Blue, driving over a bridge in front of a city. Pre-production model shown. Actual production model may vary. Model year 2024 Corvette E-Ray available 2023.
Since this breaking news has had a few days to marinade in the community, it’s been revealing to sit back and watch reactions on social media sites like Facebook and the Corvette Forum, which broke the news. The overwhelming consensus is a sense of bewilderment and rejection. Soon-to-be owners who haven’t even sat in their E-Ray yet are left feeling indignant, wondering how their revolutionary hybrid Corvette can be shunned by the racetracks.
It’s interesting this news of the rejection is hitting all the outlets hard now because the National Council of Corvette Clubs actually made the rules change last November. This is straight from their handbook, section 1.8.1, item 14, which reads:
And yes you read that correctly, not only is the E-Ray banned from events sanctioned by the NCCC, but you can’t even park your shiny new E-Ray near other structures or vehicles. So in addition to E-Ray owners being banned from the prom, the cool kid at school is also kicked out of the cafeteria and left to eat with the nerds outside.
To add insult to injury, in addition to being banned from the hundreds of autocross and time trial events overseen by the NCCC, Grassroots Motorsports reported earlier this month that Summit Point Motorsports Park has banned both all-electric and hybrid vehicles from activities on their grounds. A statement from Edwin Pardue, their Director of Motorsports Operations, reads:
“Summit Point supports the growth of Electric and Hybrid vehicles in motorsports. Summit Point Motorsports Park’s decision to take a “tactical pause” in halting the use of electric and hybrid electric vehicles in all motorsports disciplines at our location is purely based on ensuring we establish an EMS response policy and procedure based on technical knowledge provided by the electric and hybrid electric vehicle industry community to better support the motorsports community.
To our knowledge, Industry best practices supporting emergency response procedures to electric and hybrid electric vehicles in motorsports are under development. We hope to be a frontrunner in development of the industry standard to ensure that we can support a safer response to all stakeholders in the future.”
Are these decisions really surprising? Once you get past the emotion, the decision seems quite logical, given the recent lithium battery fires highlighted on the national and local news, and how difficult they are to extinguish, requiring exponentially more water than ICE fires. It’s headlines and images like this that have the racetracks and sanctioning bodies erring on the side of caution.
Ironically this will probably get sorted out before E-Ray hits production, and is the E-Ray really a track Corvette to begin with? With its nearly two-ton weight (I asked here if it was too fat), and a small 1.9-kWh lithium-ion battery that will constantly be recharging, how many owners will be taking them to the track? The level of outcry across the internet is really due to being told you can’t do something, versus actually wanting to do it. The majority of enthusiasts wanting a track-ready Corvette will opt for the formidable track-ready Z06, or wait for the ZR-1.
We have an active community on our Facebook page, I would love to hear what you think. Are all these stories about the E-Ray getting banned big news or has it been over-hyped by the internet? Douglas B.