An electric rallycross series could be launched to run at the same meetings as Formula E single-seater races, Autocar has learned.
The move would be part of a manufacturer-led initiative to promote electric cars. Supporting Formula E is favoured because the sport already attracts big crowds in city centres, where electric cars are most likely to be bought. Competing with cars with familiar body shapes is also seen as crucial to promoting the fact that the technology being developed and showcased in Formula E is relevant to road cars.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, head of the Volkswagen Group’s motorsport strategy, said: “It is one possibility we are looking at. The idea of electric rallycross is perfect; the cars are spectacular and the races short, so the cars can be charged between them. It could be the perfect complement to Formula E.”
It is not clear if the proposal is to run the rallycross cars on the same all-asphalt tracks as the single-seaters, or if an off-road section would have to be integrated into each track. However, the US-based Global Rallycross series has previously demonstrated that city-centre venues can also feature short off-road sections, plus spectacular jumps.
Earlier this month, Audi confirmed it will field a factory team in the next Formula E season, taking control of front-running squad Abt Schaeffler. However, Dürheimer hinted that more than one VW Group brand could compete in Formula E, with the brands sharing the costs of development.
Sources have suggested that the second team could represent Skoda, which is leading the VW Group’s development of small electric cars and which unveiled the Vision E crossover concept at this year’s Shanghai motor show.