Chevy Spark EV Feels Right at Home on Willow Springs Raceway


At a recent Track Day event hosted by the Motor Press Guild, the Chevy Spark EV hit the Willow Springs Raceway for some action.

Spark EV Right at Home on the Track

Spark EV Right at Home on the Track

Other vehicles were there too, including the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Ford Focus ST, and Scion FR-S.  So, how did the Spark EV stack up?

Well, it wasn’t a race, so there will be no times to compare here.

Rather, the vehicles were driven individually around the track.

Here’s what says of the event:

“…there was a reason GM put the Spark EV on the track: Its electric motor puts out 400 lb-ft of torque. That’s about the same amount as the 5.7 liter V8 in the Dodge Challenger R/T, and it propels the Spark EV to 60 in 8 seconds. Floor the Spark EV’s accelerator at around 20 MPH, and it will break the tires loose.”

“…How was it? Well, you can probably guess that it was pretty quick — maybe not quick enough to pass the other cars on the track, but quick enough to nip at their heels. The Spark EV’s low-rolling-resistance tires weren’t exactly happy in the corners — my whole run was a cacophony of squealing rubber — but the suspension stayed surprisingly composed.”

“The Spark EV’s battery pack is in the rear of the car, a convenience that happens to give the car a near-50/50 weight distribution. That, combined with those skinny tires, makes for a rather comedic effect: Once the Spark EV hits its limits of traction, it’s anyone’s guess which end will break loose first.”

“And believe it or not, running on the track wasn’t all that hard on the Spark’s battery. There’s a lot of foot-to-the-floor acceleration, but there’s also a lot of braking, which generates power to charge the battery. I probably ran 3-4 miles on the track, and only used up 5 miles of range.”

“The bottom line is that I expected the Spark EV to be totally inept on the track — and yet it drove like it belonged there. I drove some pretty awesome metal at Willow Springs, but the Spark EV was the highlight of my day.”

The highlight of the day…That’s the Spark EV.  Now, if only we could get GM to make this racetrack-ready EV available nationwide, then we could all experience it.

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7 Comments on "Chevy Spark EV Feels Right at Home on Willow Springs Raceway"

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sounds like some different tires are in order!
Maybe a fender clip.

“Now, if only we could get GM to make this racetrack-ready EV available nationwide, then we could all experience it.”

Yeah. I hope, for their sake, they are only holding back on this car because they have a next generation, 100+ mile EV about to come out. Otherwise, they will be left behind once again. IBM will destroy Volt sales with the i3 Rex.

So, a $45k car will destroy a $28K car?


BMW…IBM…OPD (old people’s disease).

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

And howsabout putting the motor in the back (or having at least 2, differently geared)?

Maybe when there’s a more electric-oriented platform rolled out..

I’m sure the Spark needs lots of help to become a proper RC; like tires, suspension, stronger diff, and motor controller tweaks to let the torque out of the bottle on ramp ups. But, hats off for giving a much restricted street car a go.

The article may be misleading… says they were at “Willow Springs Raceway”, which implies that they were at the original 2.5-mile road course, but from the picture it looks like they were actually at one of the small tracks, like “The Streets of WIllow Springs”. There’s no way the Spark could hang with the other cars on the big track… a nearly stock ’85 Corolla GTS I raced would get close to hitting its top speed of ~110mph at the end of the back straight (much less powerful than the Spark EV), and the Spark EV is limited to 90mph. My guess is that the other cars would hit 130+mph on the big track, so the Spark EV would be grossly outmached there.

That being said, it’s quite encouraging to see that the Spark EV kept up on a small track… would be even more fun to race a Spark EV vs Focus EV vs Leaf vs 500e at the same venue.