The success of the TTXGP for electric motorcycles held on the Isle of Man on June 12 has quickly spawned a world championship, feeder series in the UK and United States, a UKP10,000 Technical Package for teams, and the likelihood that a complete electric racing bike will be on the market in Q1, 2010 for under USD40,000. Having been sanctioned by the governing body for motorcycle racing, (the FIM) to create a world championship in 2010, TTXGP founder Azhar Hussain is working to create both a five-race global series with rounds in Europe, Asia and the Americas. A four-round U.K. National series and three-round American National series for 2010 are being planned, with the biggest news being the availability of a technology starter pack later this year - the UKP10,000 kit will include an AGNI electric racing motor, race batteries, controllers and all electronics – just add your own frame and running gear.
The FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) announcement just two months ago that it had decided to create an FIM World Championship Series for electric bikes in 2010 was a momentous one – the first time in history that an official global motorsport body had sanctioned a zero emissions motorsport event, and it has given the already progressive TTXGP organisation remarkable momentum.
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The new championship will be run inside the FIM Road Racing Grand Prix Commission, and the project will be led by UK entrepreneur, Azhar Hussain, the founder of the TTXGP.
“Everything is moving so very fast,” said Hussain. “We're clearly already the number one brand globally in clean emission motorsport, but we believe our grass roots strategy of making the kits available globally for under UKP10,000 will prove to be the real innovation.”
“The kits are based around the motor, batteries and controller used by AGNI to win the IOM TTXGP this year and it means that anyone anywhere in the world can put together a competitive electric motorcycle and compete in a national series, which in turn feeds and strengthens the world series.
“Our aim is not just to get enough bikes on the grid at an international level, but to get healthy national series going across the globe, fostering innovation. Gottleib Daimler and the Renault Brothers made their name in the first internal combustion engine races a century ago, and I have no doubt their equivalents in the coming electric era will emerge from this series. AGNI already has become a global name on the basis of the team win at the Isle of Man.
“The UKP10,000 Tech Packs will be available in December and I'd suggest people should be quick to let us know they're in the market for one as the news that has leaked so far has produced a remarkable response."
The FIM Series will provide an international platform for the development of electric bikes and the technology behind them, and already the amount of development being focussed on electric bikes has significantly improved the breed. “All of the teams which competed at the first race on the Isle of Man are now telling me they'll be running 100 mph laps by next year's event,” Azhar Hussain said earlier today. “Peak speeds will increase from around 105 mph this year by between 10 and 20 mph for next year according to the leading teams, all of which I'm talking to constantly about next year and beyond,” said Hussain.
“The level of innovation and progress is far higher with electric bikes than with normal bikes. You won't see a 10-20% improvement in lap times in any other form of motorsport, so it's an ideal time for innovative companies and engineers to get involved and make their mark.
“The five world championship rounds will be shared between the major continents, with Europe getting one or two events, two rounds in Asia and at least one in the Americas,” he said. When asked if that meant a South American round was a possibility, he said that America would be the venue for one or two rounds of the TTXGP Motorcycle World Series in 2010, being the only country to get two electric Grands Prix.
It is believed that Hussain is in talks with the promoters of various rounds of the FIM Endurance Championship and the World Superbike Championship to stage electric TTX world championship races as support events to the existing world championship events. “The format for each of the rounds will be the same,” said Hussain, “with the 2010 events being held over a distance of 25 miles and distances will be increased accordingly in future years.
“In 2010, there will be one practice session, one qualifying session and the 25 mile race – maybe 10-12 laps of an average length GP circuit – at each world series event.
“We haven't finalized the rounds of the championship just yet, but we're close to that announcement and I can say that all rounds of the 2010 world series will be televised."
When asked if the groundbreaking Isle of Man TTXGP event would be retained in 2010, Hussain said that it would remain as a stand-alone event and would not be a part of the world series.
“The TTXGP gives us the ability to try things and push the edge of the technological envelope,” said Hussain. “For instance, next year we'll be running Pro 1 and Pro 2 classes at the Isle of Man, and the Pro 2 class will be raced over two laps. This means the teams which can run two laps on one battery will have an advantage in that they won't need to make a pit stop, while those that can only manage one 37 mile lap will be able to do a pit stop and swap batteries.
“How the races evolve over time is yet to be seen, and we'll be obviously working within the boundaries set by the progress of technology. Batteries are evolving quickly in energy density, and peak power is also likely to make some significant leaps forward in the coming years, but we're working very closely with the FIM and the rules which evolve from the series will become the world championship rules for the future."
Hussain's strategy of building his world series based on integrating continental level championships is evolving as planned.
“The United States electric bike series is still in the negotiation stages, but it is likely to be a three round series with national championship status.The British electric series will be run over four rounds with races to be held at Brands Hatch, Mallory Park, Anglesea and Donnington."
Perhaps the most stunning news to come from our chat with Hussain today was the veiled reference to a full electric racing motorcycle being prepared for launch by a major American corporation.
The bike will reportedly sell for under USD40,000 and will be based on the winning AGNI machine of 2009 – in effect, a race replica of the first winning electric race bike. The replicas will be prepared in a batch of 50 machines and will not be road legal – they are being prepared as race bikes. Expect a February launch for the new bikes.
Hussain was an unknown when he decided to create the TTXGP slightly more than 12 months ago. Now the former iPod accessory distributor has a global name and a series of national and international championship series growing beneath him, all with prospects far greater than most motorsport series.
How has his last 12 months been?
“It's been the adventure of a lifetime so far, and we've only just begun. Anyone who wants to see our successful start for zero emiision racing grow to the next level and come to their country should email or call me.
“Electric cars and bikes are the way of the future on our roads, motorsport needs to be seen to be environmentally responsible, and indeed needs to move in context of the community if it is to remain relevant.
“It's an idea whose time has come.”