Renowned as the owner of the championship-winning Team Penske Racing, Roger Penske, with a motorsport empire valued at $3.7 billion, shares his insights into the future trajectory of NASCAR. As the Next-Gen car era unfolds, where drivers Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney have clinched two championships, Penske anticipates a transformative shift towards hybrid car racing.
“I think the hybrid formula seems to be something that will make a lot of sense as we go forward because we’ve been seeing electrification kind of slow down here lately. I think hybrid is more of a bridging strategy to the future.”
Penske’s Hybrid Initiatives
Penske has already introduced hybrid technology to the IndyCar series. A groundbreaking 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine with hybrid capabilities is set to debut in the second half of the 2024 season, marking a significant step in embracing hybrid technology within the premier open-wheel racing series. Furthermore, Penske’s commitment to sustainability is evident, with the use of renewable diesel in trucks and operational vehicles as part of ongoing environmental efforts.
Possible Hybrid Sedan Race on the Horizon
Looking ahead, Penske reveals the prospect of a semi-electric vehicle (EV) Sedan race in NASCAR’s future. While fully electric vehicles may not be feasible, the idea of hybrid Sedans gracing the top stock car racing series is gaining traction.
“I think that’s what we’re going to see. I don’t see it overnight, but you maybe could have a sedan series where they could run without fully electric vehicles.”
Notably, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Steve O’Donnell recently confirmed the Research and Development (R&D) division’s efforts in crafting an EV with a distinct body design. Positive results from tests on these vehicles indicate progress, although the transition to racing fully electric vehicles remains a distant prospect for NASCAR. Drawing parallels with Formula One, NASCAR might follow a trajectory where hybrid technology and sustainable fuel take center stage.