Wednesday, November 25, 2009

FIM to Debut Electric Motorcycle Racing Series

rob_barber Photo: Ron Barber, winner of the pro class 2009 TTXGP: Flickr / SkyFire PDL

Electric motorcycle racing has hit the big time with the announcement that the organizers of MotoGP are launching an electric racing series next year.

There’s no word yet on who’s racing or what rules they’ll have to follow, but the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme has four races on the calendar and says more are coming. It says the e-Power International Series reflects its growing concern about the future of the sport and the need to promote alternative energy. “The FIM, as the governing body of motorcycle sport, must take into account current environmental problems,” FIM president Vito Ippolito said in a statement.

The series will be organized by the FIM’s Road Racing Commission. The first race is slated for April 18 during the Le Mans 24 Hours, with others scheduled for Sept. 12 in France and Nov. 14 in Qatar. The date of the fourth race, during the Albacete 8 Hours in Spain, is to be announced.

By launching the series, the FIM has pulled the rug out from under the TTXGP eGrandPrix motorcycle race. The TTXGP held its inaugural race in June on the Isle of Man; it drew 13 teams to an event endorsed by the FIM. Race founder Azhar Hussain said his organization had been working with the FIM, sharing technical expertise and inviting FIM officials to help draft rules for the 2010 race. “We are disappointed that, despite our best efforts over many months to establish a truly inclusive series, the FIM has decided to launch one independently of TTXGP,” Hussain said in a statement. “TTXGP’s culture is to work together with those with knowledge and experience in motorsports and technology to ensure that the very best of innovation and technology drives our sport forward. FIM’s unilateral decision means that our energies are divided and the force diluted; the real victim in this may well be the pace of innovation and change for our industry.”

Hussain has developed the Mavizen TTX02 to provide ready-made machines to anyone wishing to race in the TTXGP. TTXGP is also coming to California, with a race slated for May 14 to 16 during the AMA Motorcycle Sonoma Showdown weekend at Infineon Raceway near San Francisco.

Whatever happens with the FIM e-Power Series, Hussain said TTXGP is a go for 2010. “TTXGP will continue to push the boundaries in the midst of challenge,” he said. “We continue to successfully build the most competitive, well-promoted and technically advanced zero-carbon championship in the world.”

Source: Wired Magazine: Autopia