NCCC bans hybrid Corvettes from sanctioned events, then unbans them
The new Chevy Corvette is the best yet at taking curves, right? The National Council of Corvette Clubs (NCCC) put the Kentucky Kid to the test again, but with a curve in the rule book instead of on the track. On November 22 of last year, the council amended section 1.8.14 of its NCCC Competition Program Rulebook on November 22 with the line, "Electric Vehicles/Hybrids using lithium type battery packs are prohibited in Competitive events. If driven to NCCC events, they should be parked 30 feet minimum from structures or other vehicles." The NCCC didn't explain at the time, not publicly, at least, why it made the change. All anyone outside the club who read the rule book knew was that if they drove a hybrid, it needed to be treated like it might explode at any time. Note, this was months before the online debut of the Corvette E-Ray, and the rule book didn't limit the restriction to Corvettes.
Seems no one picked up on the change until Corvette Forum did in early April. That happened the same week Grassroots Motorsports noted that Summit Motorsports Park in West Virginia amended its competition rules to say, "We have halted the use of Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicles in all motorsports disciplines." Summit wanted to welcome all powertrains, but explained its "tactical pause" as "purely based on ensuring we establish an EMS response policy and procedure based on technical knowledge provided by the electric and hybrid electric vehicle industry community to better support the motorsports community." The track wanted to learn how best to deal with and equip itself for incidents involving vehicles using high-voltage batteries. That's a great reason, because high-voltage battery fires require different tactics, and often a whole lot more water, to extinguish.
It's possible the NCCC was working off a similar premise. Motor Trend said an NCCC member told the outlet last week that late last year, "members were informed about an incident where a local fire department responded to a battery fire at an event but refused to put it out and let it burn, causing the event to be canceled."
We still don't know the NCCC's rational, but we're happy to report that the political fires have been put out with no harm done to an E-Ray or any other hybrid. Corvette Blogger said it spoke to Corvette product manager Harlan Charles, who said the Corvette team had been in touch with the NCCC and the ban was the result of a misunderstanding. Then, last Friday, the president of the NCCC issued a statement reading, "National Council of Corvette Clubs has adjusted section 1.8.14 of our event rules to allow for the inclusion of hybrid vehicles in NCCC events. The rule was originally intended to only apply to fully electric vehicles. The Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray will be allowed to compete. I believe the quickest Corvette in history will be a great addition to our future events."
The EV ban still stands, though. So when those battery-electric Corvette sedans and crossovers arrive, we could be having this convo again. Until then, the next sanctioned event will be the NCCC's 64th Annual Convention in Bowling Green, running from June 24-30. Hybrids welcome.
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