New All-Electric Formula Drift Competitor
Smoking, squealing tires and roaring engines are the trademark of a pro drift race. Massively powerful cars sliding around corners, in near-choreographed beauty, elicit oohs, aahs and cheering from both rabid and first-time fans. This is what they come for.
But what if one of those sensory factors are missing? Napoleon Motorsports and its EL1 Camaro say come to a Formula Pro Drift race and see for yourself.
Napoleon Motorsports, based in Magnolia, Texas, is doing something no one else has ever attempted: Win the Formula Drift series with an all-electric car. The EL1 Camaro, the first electric car to compete in Formula D, has changed the conversation from how to make a gasoline-powered engine go faster to: Hey, we are the future, and we are here!
Start with Stock
The EL1 started as a stock Camaro, was stripped of its interior, exterior and running gear, and rebuilt to Formula D specifications. The body panels are carbon-fiber, and after including the 800-pound, 38.4-kilowatt-hour/420-volt battery, the 514-horsepower EL1 comes in at 3,000 pounds. A highly modified Tesla drivetrain is configured into the rear of the Camaro, driving the rear wheels.
Getting up-close with the team at the 45th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach gave Clean Fleet Report the opportunity to learn about the future of the EL1. Justin Napoleon, marketing director at Napoleon Motorsports, said: “Change is inevitable, with combustion engines only going to be around for so long. Now, understand, this is coming from a diehard V8 engine guy!” He went on to say that “where technology is currently with EVs, there are a lot of unknowns, and drifting offers a perfect testbed to develop this car.”
Whether it was the electric engineering and construction by Turnkey Industries, the body panels by Anderson Composites, or the cage and fabrication done in-house, Justin was proud of where they had come in developing this one-of-a-kind race car. He stressed they aren’t sitting back with the EL1 being the end-all of electric race cars, stressing they are not limited to Formula Drift, with a much bigger program that goes farther than racing and motorsports.
Napoleon Motorsports will campaign the EL1 in the 2019 Formula Drift series, racing against such brands as BMW, Cadillac, Nissan and Toyota, with an International field of male and female drivers. When the EL1 takes to the track in the hands of Travis Reeder there will be tire smoke, tire screeching, side-by-side door-to-door sliding around corners, but no engine noise. If you haven’t been to a Formula D race, go check it out.
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