Welcome to the future of motorsport.
While electric cars are becoming an increasingly common sight on the road, combustion-powered cars are still dominating motorsport. However, Formula E is slowly starting to attract a wider audience as more manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes are entering the sport. Formula Drift is also joining the EV bandwagon, as this year’s season will feature a tire-smoking fully electric Chevrolet Camaro drift car created by Napoleon Motorsports.
It’s called the Camaro EL1 and started out as a standard Camaro before its conventional engine and transmission was removed and replaced with an electric powertrain with a 38.4 kWh battery and an electric motor producing 515 hp and 800 lb-ft of instant torque. More than enough to torture the rear wheels. It’s the first car of its kind to compete in Formula Drift, which meant the rules had to be changed to allow electric and hybrid cars. Behind the wheel will be professional drifter Travis Reeder.
To reduce the weight, Napolen Motorsports has made extensive use of carbon fiber to offset the 800 pounds of batteries in the Camaro. Remarkably, the EL1 only weighs 3,000 pounds, which is no small feat considering the standard Camaro isn’t exactly lightweight.
Since the Camaro EL1 doesn’t have a traditional manual gearbox, the driver won’t be able to clutch kick, which is one of the most important techniques in drifting. Luckily, Napoleon Motorsports has found a way to overcome this setback, as combining the handbrake with the immense torque of the electric powertrain will get the car sideways with ease. Obviously, the car will be silent in contrast to the excruciatingly loud combustion-powered cars it will compete against, but the sound of screeching tires should make up for it.