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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Red Bull Global Rallycross to create all-electric series for 2018 season [VIDEO]

Stohl Racing 400 kw AWD Peugeot 207 S2000 EV rallycross car

Electrification is starting to have a strong presence in many forms of motorsports, from Formula One through Le Mans proto-types (LMP1) to French national ice racing and now the Formula E series that is exclusively for battery electric vehicles. EVs will now be added to Red Bull GRC race weekends as a distinct, standalone series, joining the Supercar and GRC Lites classes in the series’ race program. The United States Auto Club (USAC) will work in conjunction with Red Bull GRC to serve as the governing body for the new series.

Red Bull GRC has just wrapped up its sixth season, with the Supercar class now featuring four automakers: Ford, Subaru, Honda and Volkswagen.

It’s unclear which automakers will compete in the EV series, but with the European based works backed teams from Volkswagen, Audi and Peugeot have publicly declaring their interest in all-electric rallycross, so you can bet that automakers will use it as a place to showcase their electric technology.

VW already competes in Red Bull Global Rallycross with factory Beetle GRCs and in FIA World Rallycross with Polo RXs. Both cars squeeze around 560 HP out of their tiny engines and reach 100km/h in just 2 seconds.

“Today these cars are super-powerful, have torque from hell and use all-wheel drive,” said VW head of technology Frank Welsch. “Electric drivetrains could deliver that.”

“Red Bull Global Rallycross is pleased to add to our rallycross platform an electric series,” said Red Bull GRC CEO Colin Dyne. “The 2018 season will be a landmark year for us as we welcome electric vehicles to the grid for the first time. The electric car is one of the hottest topics in the automotive industry, and manufacturers across the globe have recognized its immense potential. We want to embrace this technology by welcoming it into our series as we continue to grow and expand.”

Rallycross would be a perfect platform to develop in-wheel motors and torque vectoring.

Updated: Volkswagen will end its WRC programme at the end of 2016. Despite developing an all-new Polo WRC to 2017 WRC regulations, the project will be mothballed. Volkswagen's sister company Audi axed its WEC programme last week after 18 years; officials confirmed it plans to switch its focus to Formula E.

Following recent comments from Audi/VW it now looks increasingly likely we will see both contesting Rallycross in the not too distant future.

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