Kris Meeke is unfazed by the prospect of racing an electric vehicle for the first time in Nitro Rallycross, saying “all motorsport has a steering wheel and a set of pedals”.
The veteran of 104 World Rally Championship rounds will make his debut in the discipline next month filling in for Jenson Button at Lydden Hill.
The form of competition might be new for Meeke, but so will the type of car.
“Other than a normal road car, my brother has a Tesla, I’ve never really driven an EV before. I’ve never raced one, so this is my first venture into this,” he said. “There’s so much to learn. Driving your whole life with a combustion engine in motorsport, you know that elasticity of the engine, you get that intrinsic feeling of how it performs, whereas this is just something completely different.
“The car’s instantaneous torque up to the equivalent of 1000 horsepower, it’s certainly going to be the future of rallycross. It’s who can adapt to it in the shortest period of time. But that’s what we’re here to learn and the first event at Lydden Hill (June 18-19) is not too far away.”
But despite the vast difference of machinery and the discipline itself, Meeke is confident that his extensive experience in developing top rally cars will prove to be a sizeable benefit for himself and the XITE Energy Racing team.
“All motorsport has a steering wheel and a set of pedals,” he said, “and rallycross is probably the most similar to rallying – albeit with more cars around you. Racecraft is a big thing which I openly admit I don’t have much of except having done one round of the World Rallycross Championship back in 2013.
“I have a lot to learn, but hopefully I can bring something to the party in terms of helping the guys with the set-up of the car. For sure, over one lap on my own I can be fast but it’s about engineering a result with cars around you.
“I’m excited, it’s something new to me. Rallycross is something I’ve always been intrigued by and any machine that puts out the equivalent of 1000 horsepower… if that doesn’t get your juices flowing then I don’t know what does!”