Allegedly the Electric Camaro built by Napoleon Motorsports and driven by FD rookie Travis Reeder, is not able to drift, at least this weekend.
*This is a developing story
It’s official, the electric Camaro is NOT running this weekend. According to Donut Media, “The Napoleon Motorsports Electric Camaro is not allowed to race at Formula D due to a city ordinance that doesn’t allow electric vehicles to race against gasoline powered vehicles. Electric cars are allowed on the track, but since this race is in the streets of Long Beach, the city ordinance bars the Camaro from racing.” A Change.org petition has been started.
Napoleon Motorsports also gave confirmation
And since no one can cite what city Ordinance is being violated seeing some traffic coming in from Jalopnik (Hi, guys!), here’s my guess. Section 18.48.290 of the LBMC states that if a Fire Code Official deems their needs to be hired firemen and fire engine at an event because of special circumstances, like, in this case, having an electric race car that literally wrapped up its by build very recently competing, the event must pay firemen to be present.
This particular ordinance amendment was part of a larger ordinance and was adopted on 11/22/2016, after the last Formula E race happened in Long Beach.
Perhaps, in the past, having extra firemen on call was more than enough for Formula Drift and Formula E, but, in light of recent electric car fires like this one in Fremont and with, I’m assuming, an untrained Long Beach Fire team not ready to handle electric car blazes, the city of LB could not provide hired firefighters trained to handle an electric car blaze hence the Camaro does not run.
A new era of drifting was about to kick off this weekend thanks to Napoleon Motorsports and the much-hyped Electric Camaro they brought along but it looks like Travis Reeder will instead use his backup car, a Nissan S13 if things don’t turn around for the team before FD Long Beach kicks off this weekend (Apr 5-6). According to sometimes rumormonger but oftentimes true Formula Drift Instagram account @FormulaDerp earlier today (Apr. 4, 2019) it looks like a lack of communication, safety training, no permits filed or a combination of all three is to blame for Napoleon Motorsports Electric Camaro not being able to run on media day.
I’ll let you read the entire post for yourself below.
View this post on Instagram
BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: the @napoleon_motorsports electric camaro has been denied turning laps by ……. the city of Long Beach FD. They may need a permit to operate it on the track. Turns out that the LBFD aren’t equipped for fighting an e-car fire: they also cancelled Formula E here. It doesn’t help that they can barely fight regular car fires as it is, like Federico’s Ferrari last year. Ultimate irony that a vehicle with zero emissions in the strictest state for automotive enthusiasts needs special permissions to race on a closed course with other unregulated gas burning vehicles. ??? ••• #FDLB #shocking #municipalcashgrab #ClassCextinguishersplease #formuladrift #electricfeel
Although some fans found it odd that Napoleon Motorsports did not drift at all during media day, a day before the actual drift event, supposedly rookie drivers don’t drift during media day so that’s a non-story.
The fact is electric car fires are a thing, is something new to Formula D, and safety first is always a priority above else. Electric car fires can’t be fought like traditional car fires, you have to have specially trained people to specifically deal with such disasters.
My guess is that, with Acura now handling the whole Indy Car Long Beach weekend instead of Toyota, minutiae like filing the right permits to have emergency crews on hand to fight electric fires, filed in a timely manner, wasn’t filed. If permits were filed, like they should, the city of Long Beach could’ve communicated with the proper race series the situation and a contingency safety plan could’ve been drafted.
One week is not enough time to train a team to fight against electric fires.
The electric Camaro is here, it’s going to drift, just not this weekend during FDLB.
Source: Formula Derp
[…] Update 4/5/2019: Electric Camaro won’t run at FDLB thanks to Long Beach ordinance. […]
[…] Breaking: Electric Camaro not allowed to drift at FD Long Beach yet, allegedly a safety issue […]
To the Racing Community, Workers, Community Fire and Rescue and anyone else who might be concerned about electric vehicles on our tracks, courses and even on our public roads…
What just happened to Napoleon Motorsports at the Long Beach Formula Drift event seems to be heavy handed and out of bounds. In a City that has hosted Formula E races where a full field of Electric cars ran a street circuit for a weekend it seems implausible that the Long Beach Emergency crews have no idea what to do with one Electric car in the event of an accident or fire.
The fact there was an ordinance in place, prior to this particular event in Long Beach, that prohibits the mixing Gas and Electric racing cars, indicates there was plenty of knowledge and consideration as relates to Electric race cars before the decision to disallow Napoleon’s entry was made.
It could be about permits not being pulled or education not being provided or Fire suppression equipment not being suitable. Regardless, electric vehicles of every stripe are here to stay. We truly need to embrace Electrics and work with the innovators in this exciting new way to make racing move forward and continue for a long time.
I know this a s 30 year veteran of motorsports who went from a regular club racing service provider to becoming the team principal for a fully electric effort that has already logged thousands of miles on our 3 EV Sports Racers. We chose our batteries to be safe and stable, we have an AC powerplant that is proven and reliable and we have driven in the rain, ice, dirt, sunshine, and in all temperatures and altitudes over the past 5 years.
We crashed a car off of Pikes Peak, leaving the course at over 90 miles per hour, with a blunt impact into a boulder, with no more injury and incident than a long, expensive tow. There was NO fire. We drove this racecar into the trailer with a jack under the front (or what was left of it). We have overheated wires. We’ve melted insulation. We have crashed the cars, raced side by side (andfrequently in front of) gas powered cars and even burned up some wires and a few battery cells to complete the chaos.
How did we handle a battery fire in EVSR? We had a cell in our pack catch fire during a qualifying session…at which point we finished our session, came into the paddock, removed the bodywork and battery cover, doused the cell with drinking water, and were ready for the next session in 20 minutes with a reconfigured pack, minus one cell. It smelled terrible; but when plastic bumper covers, rubber hoses, belts and tires, or, worst of all, gasoline ignites on a racecar, it doesn’t smell any better and it’s just as hard, and probably harder, to extinguish.
All vehicles have aspects that are inherently dangerous. Those hazards vary from vehicle to vehicle but in the end, properly engineered EVs pose no greater threat to driver, spectator or First Responder than their gas-powered counterparts.
Project Manager, Electric Vehicle Sports Racer
Plugging in and Kicking Gas!