Ben Collins (The Stig)
What happens when the masked marvel of the highly popular and highly anti-electric car BBC Show Top Gear leaves? He starts racing electric cars, of course.
Since his fiery departure from the prime-time entertainment show after he unveiled his identity, racing driver and stuntman Ben Collins has spent his time promoting his autobiography, joining a rival television show Fifth Gear, and writing in an occasional motoring column.
But in a press release last week it was announced that Collins will soon be donning a crash helmet again. Not as an anonymous automaton, but as a regular competitor in the EVCup.
Set to launch this summer, the EVCup will be the world’s first motor racing series exclusively using electric cars. Much like the TTXGP, the highly successful all-electric motorcycle race series, the EVCup aims to promote electric vehicle motorsport.
With six dates planned for European races starting mid Summer 2011 and a U.S. exhibition race still in negotiation, the EVCup will consist of 3 distinct classes: City EV class, Sports EV class and Prototype.
Specially race-prepared THINK City EV cars will form the basis of the City EV Class, while the Sports EV Class will consist of Westfield iRacers capable of 115+ mph. Both classes will race in a traditional fashion with all competitors racing against each other.
The Prototype class will take the form of time-trials, with each vehicle racing against the clock rather than each other.
Talking about the his participation in the cup, Collins said that motor sport was still the best way to develop new technology, regardless of fuel.
“Electric Vehicles represent a new dawn in motoring by running on clean energy that can be sourced as locally as organic sausages. It’s surprising that mankind has taken so long to embrace the technology. Motorsport still offers the purest research and development platform to deliver the true potential of electric power and dynamic energy recovery; perhaps to a level that will shame the carbon combustion engine the way rubber tyres did the wooden cartwheel. EV is developing fast and the current crop of road cars are superb to drive. With a dedicated racing series that encompasses both road and racecar development, the next steps will be more like a quantum leap.”
The Think City racer
While his former employer, Top Gear, may have had a backwards view of electric cars, Collins has shown several times since his departure from the show that he has a soft spot for them.
First, he took the 2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport for a spin arounds the U.K’s Brands Hatch, where he posed for photographs with the $109,000 sports car.
Then he raved enthusiastically about the 2011 Nissan LEAF in a column for notorious U.K. tabloid newspaper The Sun.
Collins is not alone in his praise of electric vehicles either. As more and more cars come to market, motoring aficionados worldwide are shedding their gas-guzzling personas to sit behind the wheel of this new wave of all-electric motor sport.
We can’t wait.[EVCup]