For over a century, automobile racing has been a way to prove your metal’s mettle. For the latest example, see Lordstown Motors and the way it has its sights set on the San Felipe 250 Race in Baja California. But don’t go looking for the company’s all-electric pickup to show off its speed in Mexico. Instead, Lordstown is gearing up to race the guts of the truck – a skateboard chassis and powertrain – across the desert.
The main reason for testing the truck in this unfinished state is to make sure the finished product will be able to haul the gear and deliver the power truck buyers are looking for. Lordstown said that it has full confidence in its four-hub motor powertrain, “so we’re putting it to the ultimate test.” That means joining the 290-mile race that starts and ends in San Felipe, Mexico two months from now.
If everything goes as planned, Lordstown will have durability and validation details it can share with potential commercial fleet customers, the company’s initial market. The desert test should give Lordstown’s engineers more data to back up the company’s claim that the Endurance truck “is not only one of the safest, most efficient trucks on the planet, but also that it is the toughest [and] most robust.”
“We feel that it is quite a significant milestone for the electric vehicle community that an electric pickup truck can compete in an environment as demanding as Baja California,” Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns said in a statement. “Our goal is to be the first electric vehicle to ever complete the San Felipe 250, and with the superior traction, weight balance and advanced software control of our hub motor-based Endurance, we are confident that we will do just that.”
Lordstown released a video last December saying they had gotten the skateboard to an alpha prototype stage and would get to the beta stage in January. A Lordstown spokesperson told me that the vehicle that will be raced in the San Felipe 250 is currently being built and no pictures are currently available. The 2021 SCORE International San Felipe 250 is part of the SCORE World Desert Championship race series and takes place April 17 in Baja California, Mexico. The 2020 edition of the race was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When it’s available to buy, the 2021 Endurance will be a full-size electric truck that will offer a range of 250 miles, a powertrain with “the equivalent of 600 horsepower” and the ability to tow up to 7,500 pounds. Lordstown said it is on track to start building the truck in September, with the first configuration being a crew cab with a medium-length bed. The truck will start at $52,500, but that drops to $45,000 after an available federal tax credit.