What to Know About Taking Your EV to a Track

Fast electric cars use electricity fast.

Pink Porsche Taycan parked on the race trackPorsche

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That new electric car of yours is begging you to find its limits, but engaging Sport Plus or Ludicrous mode on the street could cost you your license. If you're fortunate enough to have a Porsche Taycan Turbo S, a Tesla Model S Plaid, or even something a little more tame, a successful day at the track is within reach with a little preparation. Below are things to note before taking your electric vehicle (EV) to a track.

Start EV Racing Small

Might we suggest dipping your toe in before diving into the deep end? Consider doing an Autocross or Sports Car Club of America Solo event before heading to a full-fledged track. These are usually held on weekends in local parking lots; the courses are short, and drivers generally run one lap at a time, which should give you a chance to acclimate to the car's dynamics while sussing out the effects of repeated max-power requests on your battery life.

An evening test-and-tune event makes a good entry point to track-driving and will also give you an idea of battery depletion when going all out. Because they’re shorter than a full track day, you may not need to charge your EV to get home.

If you're just looking to rip some launch-control starts in a safe, controlled environment, check out the local drag strips. That might be enough to scratch the itch, but for those who get serious about straight-line EV performance, know that the NHRA recently added a new EV class for its Summit Racing Series.

What to Bring to an Electric Race

As with any track driving, a valid helmet* is a must. If it's feasible, look at bringing a set of track wheels and tires (plus a jack and torque wrench). Your EV isn't just extremely quick, it's likely heavier than a comparable internal-combustion car, and that puts added stress on the oft-expensive, EV-specific tires. Having a set you can play with and another that will get you home provides added peace of mind.

Figure out how you'll get your car to and from the track. Driving? Cool, just be sure you have a plan B if something happens while you're out there. Have a trailer available? Great, that means less worrying about charging and range.

What to Do at the Race Track

If you're driving to the track in your EV, first confirm that there's somewhere to charge up, preferably on the grounds or close by. Consider the number of EV charging stations and how many other EVs will be on hand when making your plans. It pays to arrive early to top off your battery before the fun begins.

If you towed your EV to the track with a Ford F-150 Lightning, you could use the truck's bi-directional charging feature to restore some electrons in your track car. Just make sure to leave enough juice in the truck to get it to an EV charging station.

This may go without saying for EV drivers, but pay special attention to your charge level during and after each stint on the track. The faster you go, the quicker the battery will deplete. Do a little math to make sure you have a buffer before going out for that last session.

Getting Back Home From the Race Track

You've been careful and the car is still in one piece with enough juice to get it back onto the trailer or to the nearest EV charging station. Job well done, but you're not home yet. For those with a long drive home, consider booking a nearby hotel with an EV charging station to allow you and your car to recharge after your strenuous day at the races. You've earned it.

*Check back soon for an upcoming article covering track day safety tips and preparing for your first event.

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David Gluckman
David Gluckman has over a decade of experience as a writer and editor for print and digital automotive publications. He can parallel park a school bus, has a spreadsheet listing every vehicle he’s ever tested, and once drove a Lincoln Town Car 63 mph in reverse. When David’s not searching for the perfect used car, you can find him sampling the latest gimmicky foodstuffs that America has to offer.