EV Drag Racing Gets IHRA Checkered Flag

Electric drag racing provided plenty of high-profile excitement in the world of electric vehicles (EVs) this year. As technology improved and mechanics got better and better at squeezing every drop of speed from their motorcycles and cars, speed records seem to fall regularly. According to the National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA), eight new quarter-mile records were set in 2011 (including by the Lawless “Rocket,” pictured below). Now as the year closes, the electric drag racing world received another spark as the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) has formally recognized electric drag racing.

What this means for the NEDRA and high-amp racers is that electric cars, dragsters and motorcycles can now run in IHRA events and set class records at IHRA tracks. According to a report on the AutoblogGreen website, electric dragsters will be subject to IHRA competition rules that will give race officials guidelines for pre-and-post race inspections to ensure fair competition, equipment and certifications.

lawless drag bike

image via Lawless Industries

This is a coup for the Washington-based NEDRA as electric vehicles are now recognized by the two largest drag racing organizations in the world. The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), the largest drag racing sanctioning body in the world, recognized electric vehicles a few years ago. Now, with the IHRA giving the nod to EVs, the dragsters are welcome at virtually every race and track in North America. The NEDRA, however, will still be the official body that registers and keeps  EV drag racing records.

With more tracks available, more races to run and another sanctioning body to legitimize the sport’s accomplishments, the real winners here are the race teams, drivers and EV racing fans. And with more opportunities to show their speed,  the number of teams should also increase. But even bigger winners here just might be folks who have no interest in racing and would never consider attending an IHRA or NHRA race. With more teams, more cars and more mechanics scouring EV technology for improvements and operating as a real-life testing ground, knowledge is bound to trickle down to the industry in general, making for better performance for consumer EVs.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.