NOT EXACTLY ELECTRIFYING
It's a tricky time for motor racing, right now. On the one hand, traditional combustion race cars face a serious relevance challenge. After several false starts, the road car market finally looks set to make a major move to alternative power.
If that really does transpire, then the connection to any combustion-powered racer will be comprehensively severed. Indeed, the state of F1 currently is likely a microcosm of this existential angst. On the one hand, introducing some kind of hybrid power was inevitable. But the loss of screaming naturally aspirated powerplants in favour of the dull warble of the turbo V6s is pretty grim.
It's into that context that Porsche moves its top flight competition efforts from the WEC and Le Mans to the pure-electric Formula series. Porsche is moving into electric cars, so we'd better all get used to the idea. However, there's probably also an argument for keeping combustion race cars for the foreseeable.
For starters, shipping race cars around the world is far from environmentally friendly, regardless of what powers them. That aspect – the idea of the sustainable race car – is just naive. The technological link is pretty tenuous too given it’s road cars dictating the direction and not the other way round. Instead, perhaps the notion of the actual spectacle can help preserve combustion cars. Yes, let's have a bold new era of electric and maybe even autonomous race cars. But let's keep the old nags going, too. Because there's nothing quite like them.