The era of the electric race car is coming—fast. Red Bull Global Rallycross will be adding an electric vehicle racing division come 2018, the race series announced earlier today. The new standalone series will join the Supercars and GRC Lites series during GRC racing weekends.
“The 2018 season will be a landmark year for us as we welcome electric vehicles to the grid for the first time,” Red Bull GRC CEO Colin Dyne said in a statement. “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.”
Additional details will be revealed over the course of the next year, the series pledged.
The announcement did not mention whether any of GRC’s four current automaker sponsors—Ford, Subaru, Volkswagen, and Honda—would be participating in the new battery-powered rally series. Given both companies’ stated intent to push hard into the EV sector over the next decade, however, whipping up electric rally cars would seem like an obvious move for Honda and VW, at the very least.
While the idea may have been the laughingstock of the motorsports community for years, electric vehicle racing is rapidly coming into vogue. Formula E has been the most obvious beneficiary of this turn of events, with some of the largest names in the automotive industry diving into the series; Audi has announced it’s abandoning Le Mans for Formula E, Jaguar has already joined the sport, and McLaren has won the right to develop batteries for the series after rumors of a contentious battle with the likes of Porsche and Red Bull itself. But the addition of an electric rally series to the world of EV competition could open battery-powered racing to a whole new market of enthusiasts who find the dirty drifting of rallycross more entertaining than the supernatural street racing of quiet open-wheeled racers.