There are quite a few buzzes here in there about NASCAR going all electric. But the true buzz is that getting a business to run in China is not easy. Knowing the right people is the key to making that happen. Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR’s chief international officer, stated that they have to start planting their footprint in Asia. He believes that Asia is a huge market, thus making Asia their priority.
In trying to do that, Stefanyshyn said that they have to find the right partner in order to understand the basic and political system. Being in the racing field, he stated that NASCAR needed a connection that is going to bring government connection and share market knowledge in order to establish a national racing series in Asia.
NASCAR races in the United States are done on oval speedways which are not many on other continents. Stefanyshyn said that over time, they would improve and evolve these tracks according to their customers’ preferences. They are not afraid and limiting in their type of racing. Stefanyshyn stated that they would be fan-centric. Asia providing a lot of road courses will sure be interesting to put some ovals.
Although some people have trouble with oval racing, a small oval is actually beneficial for the fans, enabling them to enjoy the race by seeing the whole arena with the cars going by, letting them see the bumping and grinding, in other words; letting them see NASCAR. This advantage sure will be NASCAR’s strength, especially going into a new market. The only problem is estimating how long it is going to take to evolve road courses into small ovals.
Going into electrification, NASCAR has been turned on its head by it. They are supporting and is supported by major automobiles manufacturers, and with the evolving industry, NASCAR evolves also. Stefanyshyn said that they understand the push toward electrification in vehicles. He understands that the Chinese government stated that by 2035, electric vehicles are the only vehicles that will be available for sale in China.
Understanding that, Stefanyshyn said that they, with partners, would develop a strategy o introduce racing in China with the internal combustion engines, the way of NASCAR classic racing. Not saying that they are not open to changes, Stefanyshyn openly believes that they will have to evolve, pushing themselves to adapt to the newest market. However, based on facts, Stefanyshyn reminded us that what is predicted will not always happen in our future.
People need to be flexible these days. They need to have options open to survive and to thrive. That means going along—sometimes creating—the appearing future. Stefanyshyn said that manufacturers need to have an electric message and prepare a lot of options, as many as they can. And then comes another important aspect, and that is speed; how fast will the future—the electrification—actually happen.
With challenging economics, making that reality depends on the country a lot. Until electrification becomes a way out of expensive gas, it might happen. But say you live in a country where gas is extremely cheap, why would people turn to electric vehicles then?
So, the future for NASCAR in terms of electrification, said Stefanyshyn, is that it will take time. It’s going to happen, just not tomorrow. NASCAR’s fundamental question to this topic is: what would be the reasoning behind their electrification.