Tyres are black and round, right? Well, of course there’s more to it than that, but when I got chatting with a friend last weekend about the likelihood of all-electric rallycross taking off as a sport, the challenges presented to tyre manufacturers by motorsport became ever more apparent - and the solutions they develop ever more relevant to all of us.
The theory, being pursued by senior folk at Volkswagen and Peugeot, is that rallycross is the perfect form of motorsport to showcase electric cars. The races are short and spaced out throughout a day, so the batteries don’t need to be massive and can be regularly charged, and the racing is hugely spectacular and therefore a great showcase for the technology.
As such, they are lobbying rule makers to change regulations and make it a reality. It’s a controversial move that has many purists up in arms - not least because of the risk such a formula would pose to the noisy, flame-spitting delights of today’s rallycross supercars.
Conventionally powered supercars already pump out around 700bhp with 1000lb ft of torque. But my friend, who knows a thing or two about this, speculated that an optimised electric rallycross car could be capable of 1000bhp and 2000lb ft of torque, all of which could be available from the moment the green light flicks on at the start of a race.