Ford F-150 Lightning to become first electric truck to pace a NASCAR race

Fans at the NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway on April 9 will see an unusual vehicle leading the pack ahead of the race start.

The Ford F-150 Lightning has been selected to be the official pace car this weekend.

“Ford is fully invested in electrification and the response to Lightning has been so overwhelming that it was an easy decision to bring it to a NASCAR event,” said Jeannee Kirkaldy, motorsports marketing manager, Ford Performance. “One thing we definitely know is that our fans love trucks and we’re confident that feeling will only grow when they see Lightning out on the track leading the field to green.”

The announcement makes it the first electric pickup truck to take on the role of pace car, but not the first electric vehicle.

That honour also belongs to Ford. All the way back in 2012 an even more unlikely pace car was selected for a race in Richmond, Virginia – an electric Ford Focus.

The Mustang Mach-E has also had the honours at Talladega Superspeedway in April last year.

The Lightning should have no problem setting the 35mph pace. The electric truck produces 563 hp and 773 lb-ft of torque, and can reach 60 mph (96 km/h) in about 4.5 seconds.

It should also be able to complete the race if it wanted to. The Lightning has a range of 320 miles, while the race itself will only cover 210 miles.

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