TTXGP & FIM Create New Electric Motorcycle Racing Series

03/05/2013 @ 1:43 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

TTXGP & FIM Create New Electric Motorcycle Racing Series Brammo TTXGP Infineon race Steve Atlas 635x457

Suffering falling outs with both the Isle of Man TT and the FIM, the TTXGP electric motorcycle series has had to reinvent itself since its first event in back in 2009. A massive collision of three parties all trying to control the next big thing in motorcycle racing, fans of the electric motorcycle racing eventually saw it split over three competing series: the TT Zero race at the Isle of Man TT, the FIM’s e-Power Championship, and of course the TTXGP series.

The resulting fracture created a lack of cohesion in the sport, and created a situation where the heavy-hitters in the electric motorcycle industry would cherry-pick the events they attended, often with no formidable competition alongside them at the starting grid. This not only created a disparity in performance between competitors on any given race day, but also denied enthusiasts the chance to see real head-to-head racing amongst the brands that were dominating the newswires.

A major division in these different electric motorcycle racing series is about to heal itself though, as the FIM and TTXGP have finally come to an agreement on a future joint electric motorcycle racing series.

The plan set forth by the FIM and TTXGP is one of stepping stones, as for 2013 the series will be billed as an FIM World Cup series, and will be a support class at four races in the USA, as well as four races in Europe, with a final race that will be held in Asia, to crown the World Champion (this calendar is very similar to the current TTXGP setup).

For 2014, the series will be bumped to a championship calendar schedule, with six races that will be held over three continents (we imagine those again will be North America, Europe, and Asia). Lastly, in 2015 the series will be given World Championship status, and will run as a stand-alone event with a global calendar, much in the way the TTXGP series was originally envisioned.

“Through this agreement, we are taking another important step towards the growth and promotion of clean electric road racing,” said FIM President Vito Ippolito. “The FIM is committed to furthering sports events for electric motorcycles which will certainly be a major component of the motor sport of the future.”

“This partnership with the FIM clears the way for a single destination for all the world’s innovators to drive the next generation of technologies for competitive motor sport beyond the grid,” added TTXGP Founder Azhar Hussain. “We look forward to working with the FIM on this exciting project.”

As of this time, the new series is still without a name, and its 2013 events list is still forthcoming. That being said, this is a major step in electric motorcycle racing, which until recently has been easy to pass off as a sideshow mired in egos, politics, and a healthy amount of land-grabbing…and that is without commenting on what was taking place on the race course.

With the FIM able to put the electric races at premier venues and events, and the TTXGP marketing the new series to EV enthusiasts and petrol-heads alike, the new forthcoming series appears to take the best aspects from each party’s previous attempts at running an electric motorcycle racing series.

Electric motorcycle racing still has many hurdles to overcome, both from a logistical and operations point-of-view, but also from a racing product perspective, but today’s events are certainly one step, of many still to come, in the right direction.

Source: FIM; Photo: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. Bob says:

    Good news that they kissed and made up. However, there still seems to be a lack of electric motorcycle teams. Brammo has been consistent, but what about Zero, Csyz, Mission, Flying Banana…etc? They don’t seem have the engineering skills/resources/time/money to actually get out there and race. Heck, even Brammo’s bike bucked two riders (nearly killed a guy) last season – sorry, not gonna pony up 16 grand for a half baked machine. This sport is very much in its infancy and I looked forward to it actually maturing.

  2. So will we see the TT-Zero merged back in as well? And re teams will Honda, sorry Mugen, compete in the new series?

  3. Bob,

    The Brammo rider that got “bucked” did not almost die or even come close. He walked away from the crash and was later diagnosed with some cracked vertebrae. He came back in the next round, won the race, and went on to win the National championship as well as the World TTXGP Championship. Using your logic, 100% of gas bikes racing are “half-baked” as they have all been crashed at one point or another.

    Here’s a video filmed directly following Steve’s impressive victory at Portland International Raceway.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilMQA-fgreg

    Agreed that it’s nice to see the series mature.

  4. Dr. Gellar says:

    This really is great news…not only in that the FIM and TTXGP have finally reunited, but that they are apparently giving teams and manufacturers about two years to get all their ducks in a row for when the series becomes a World Championship in 2015. It’ll be really cool to see who’s on the grid for this series by the time that happens. Hopefully we’ll see some full-time commitments by some if not most of the current top teams.

  5. Bob says:

    Brian, crack vertebrae sound awfully serious. Am I wrong? I recall seeing the rider in a neck brace. IIRC, another rider was throw from the same bike because of a similar malfunction. My point is: the bike had some sort of electrical/software glitch that caused the wreck. Gas bike accidents wreck b/c of rider error, NOT electrical/software glitches. That is the distinction I was trying to make.

    Sorry to be an internet critique, but I have to give my honest opinion on these machines. When I see them running error free, race after race, then I will be sold. I noticed your team had quite a few glitches at Daytona, so I still think there’s a ways to go. Correct me if I’m wrong. I realize it must be a lot of work to get these machines working flawlessly, but that is what the public demands out of a commercial machine. I think you guys are very near that point, and wish you all continued success.

  6. protomech says:

    Bob: the second crash was due to a radiator leak, iirc. Not sure about the first crash – but bear in mind the RR is still very much a continuously-developing prototype GP bike, not a production race replica. If you haven’t seen prototype bikes (regardless of propulsion system) crash due to a “glitch” of some type, you haven’t been watching..

    If you want to see electric bikes running error free, race after race, then take a look at the production eSuperStock class. Zero raced 4 of their street bikes in every race except the final of the north american TTXGP. Zero glitches. Zero errors.

    Granted, the Zero streetbikes are much slower than the prototype racebikes. But that will improve with time; both Brammo and Zero are expected to race production streetbikes this year, with double the power vs last year (~25 hp 2012 up to 54 hp 2013).

  7. Westward says:

    Ice bikes don’t run error free, so why is it electrics have to? In recent times both Pedrosa and Dovi had serious faults with their Honda bikes, injuring one and potential injuring the other. Even Spies had a crucial engineering failure on his Yamaha M1 that could have killed him, and at all places the Corkscrew decent at Laguna Seca.

    I think the TTXGP should have a relay system, where the pilot has two bikes and a set amount of batteries to complete a certain numbers of laps, forcing the pilot to pit and switch bikes on the fly. Thus the pit crew has to setup the newly pitted bike with fresh batteries to complete the last leg of the race.

    Now if a manufacturer can come up with the technology to extend the charge capacity to avoid having to pit, then more power to them (pun intended). However the number of laps required should to set 3x beyond current storage capacity, making for two switches.

    This would add a dynamic to Electric races that would differentiate further from conventional racing..

  8. ttxgpfan says:

    @Bob, I have interviewed Brian and have an interview with Eric Bostrom that is being edited out right now for my podcast (not to distract from A&R). We talk about the concerns you express about the RR. I think the production bike is anything but half baked from all of the owner reviews over on the Brammoforums. I will say that EBoz said one of the reasons he has decided to stay with the team is that because the street Empulse is so good it proved to him they can and do learn from their track experience. But the easier thing to do is watch Shelina Moreda on the Empulse TTX taking on Moto Zero this year. I have little doubt you will see nothing but absolute reliability. I suspect the RR will be much more reliable as they figured out that their problems were all about the encoders which is an inexpensive part.

    I share your frustration about the other teams not showing up. With most of the races being at FIM events this year there should be big enough crowds and hence enough sponsorship money available to get them to show up. According to EBoz, Brammo is going to have something for them this year.