Remember the first time you heard an angry V-8 Trophy Truck romping through the desert? Like a freight train late for a delivery or an irritated elephant trampling the savanna, the rage of a race truck literally shakes the ground—and converts many into off-road believers. Well, as they say, the only constant is change. Soon the ground will shake silently as a pickup truck based on the Lordstown Endurance electric pickup truck will race in the 2021 SCORE International San Felipe 250.
Lordstown Motors Corporation plans to build the Endurance at its 785-acre, 6.2 million-square-foot Lordstown Assembly Plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The plant was formerly a General Motors site from 1966-2019. Touting its ability to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of hard workers, the Endurance will target the commercial fleet market and is ambitiously set to start production in September.
Lordstown is entering its Endurance Beta skateboard in the grueling desert race, meaning its race vehicle will run the company’s electric chassis platform (hence “skateboard”) but not necessarily the pickup truck body. While we don’t know much about the aesthetics, it’ll have to be equipped with all sorts of race vehicle tidbits to pass tech inspection while also being robust enough for gnarly race conditions. Lordstown started testing its Beta skateboard in January; the progression goes prototype, Alpha, Beta, pre-production, and then production.
Steve Burns, chief executive officer of Lordstown Motors, believes that finishing the 290-mile single loop race will be a testament to the “superior traction, weight balance and advanced software control of our hub motor-based Endurance.” Indeed, just completing a SCORE race is a big deal for any entrant, as desert racing has a tendency to absolutely annihilate vehicles. It would be a huge accomplishment for Lordstown.
It’s doubtful the Lordstown’s San Felipe adventure will be issue-free. It’s the first time racing for Lordstown, and growing pains tend to accompany firsts. Will the electric platform withstand dust, silt, rocks, water, debris, and heavy abuse? Remember, the chassis is by no means at production specs yet. Will the four in-wheel hub motors hold up? Will the vehicle as a whole escape mechanical failure and its drivers avoid error? If the Endurance has a range of 250 miles, how will the Beta skateboard manage 290 miles of racing? Will the team do some fast charging or quick battery swaps during pit stops, or will the setup have some sort of enhanced range? Although no electric vehicle has attempted the San Felipe 250, others have attacked the desert. Rivian, for instance, entered its R1T in the 2020 Rebelle Rally.
We don’t know who Lordstown is partnering with for this San Felipe 250 endeavor. The off-road race scene is replete with qualified partners, as are the peripheral spheres of drifting, road racing, motorcycle racing, and so on. Love it or hate it, electric racing is all the hotness right now. One specific candidate is possibly Greg Faust of Foutz Motorsports, who previously teamed up with Ford to campaign the F-150 Raptor. After all, Foutz Motorsports is clearing out spare Raptor parts from previous race programs to make room … for what, exactly?
The 2021 SCORE International San Felipe 250 takes place on April 17, 2021, and starts and finishes in San Felipe, Baja California. Lordstown’s grit will be revealed during this race of endurance.