The Isle of Man announced today that they will be adding the TT Zero clean emissions class to the historic Isle of Man TT race program. The Zero TT, like the rest of the IOMTT, will be run by ACU Events, Ltd and will use the FIM rules concerning electric motorcycles. Additionally, promotions for the Zero TT will be handled by the Department of Tourism and Leisure. Of particular note in this announcement is the Isle of Man’s dropping of TTXGP, which will not be involved in the 2010 series, but the DTL’s Martyn Quayle said in the press release that he acknowledges TTXGP’s hard work in the first zero emissions race at Isle of Man in June of 2009.
Early indications surrounding the announcement suggest that the decision by the Isle of Man to setup the TT Zero racing class stems from the Isle’s desire to distance itself and the historic race from the TTXGP brand, which has been in controversy both publicly with its split from the FIM, and privately with members of the motorcycle community. Given the TT’s heated history with the FIM, it is also of particular note that they will be adopting the international organization’s rules and regulations for the running of TT Zero, which could be a further indication from the Isle in distancing itself from the influence of TTXGP.
Despite this news and the rumors surrounding it, TTXGP still has three series they are running in the United States, UK and Italy that culminate in one Championship race in Spain. To-date, TTXGP has signed up a number of riders to compete in their races, and has begun opening-up their rulebook for 2011 in a wiki-style collective.
The announcement today further fractures the electric motorcycle racing world, and it remains to be seen where teams will flock to in order to race against each other. With 2010 shaping up to be mostly a local racing affair, the IOMTT provides an opportunity for teams around the globe to meet for one race where they compete against each other (similar to the premise behind TTXGP’s Championship set to be held in Spain). While the Spanish Championship round will feature only the top teams from each local series, the Isle of Man continues to provide a platform where all teams can race against each other.
What remains to be seen is how these two race series will affect each other and the budding industry, and also what this announcement means for teams that have signed an exclusivity contract with TTXGP. Will they be precluded from taking part in the TT Zero? Only time will tell on this one. More news as we get it.
Press Release from The Isle of Man Department of Tourism:
Following the success of the inaugural clean emissions motorcycle race on the Isle of Man in 2009, the Isle of Man Department of Tourism and Leisure has confirmed that a clean emissions race will be part of the 2010 TT.
The clean emissions race in 2009 has been widely credited with accelerating the development of clean emissions transport and many of the technical innovations that were introduced in the Isle of Man are expected to become an integral part of future mass market transport. The event was conceived with the support and involvement of numerous departments of the Isle of Man Government as part of the Island’s Freedom to Flourish programme.
The 2010 clean emissions race has been renamed ‘TT Zero’ and will become part of the core TT programme. It will feature riders who are also competing in the other TT classes. The one-lap race will be open to clean emission motorcycles and will take place on Wednesday, June 9th, at 4.30pm, following the Royal London 360 Superstock and Supersport Races. There will also be qualifying sessions on June 5th and 7th.
As with the core TT Races programme TT Zero will be run by ACU Events Ltd, using the latest FIM regulations. However TTXGP Ltd, who promoted the 2009 event, will not be involved and the DTL will become the race promoter for the clean emissions race as well as the core TT Races programme.
As well as the usual prize money available to teams and riders, the Isle of Man Government has also created a £10,000 prize fund for the first TT Zero Race team to record a 100mph lap (160.93kph) around the 37.73-mile course. This landmark was achieved for the first time by a conventional bike in 1957, when Scotsman Bob McIntyre lapped the TT Course in 22 minutes 24.4 seconds for an overall average of 101.03mph. Rob Barber and Team Agni recorded a fastest lap time of 25 minutes 53.5 seconds (87.434mph) in the 2009 clean emissions race.
Tourism and Leisure Minister Martyn Quayle said:
“We have enjoyed a very successful partnership with TTXGP Ltd and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work last year. We look forward to welcoming many of the electric bike teams and riders back to the Isle of Man in 2010 as well as to seeing new challengers pitting their wits against the Mountain Course.”
“We are delighted that the Isle of Man was the first country to run an electric bike race and the fact that there are now events scheduled around the world is a tribute to the Island’s entrepreneurial, innovative spirit and shows what an achievement it was for the Isle of Man to run the groundbreaking inaugural event. We are now building on this fantastic start by properly integrating the clean emissions class into the race programme – this really does send a clear signal that electric motorsport is fast evolving and that the TT Races remain at the forefront of motorcycle sport.”
Regulations and entry forms for the TT Zero Race will be released on Friday January 29th and will be available to download from this site. The closing date for entries is Friday, March 26th.