Victory Motorcycles to make electric racing debut at TT Zero Challenge
Victory Racing will make its professional debut in European motorcycle racing at the 2015 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. A newly formed two-rider team on prototype electric race motorcycles will take on the infamous Mountain Course on June 10.
In order to tackle its first ever electric motorcycle race, Victory has teamed up Northern Irishmen William Dunlop and Lee Johnston. Dunlop is a seasoned Isle of Man TT contender and nephew of the Island’s biggest legend, the late Joey Dunlop. Johnston enjoyed his first Mountain Course win during last year’s Classic TT and proved his current form after winning the North West 200 Superstock class on a BMW S1000RR on Saturday, May16 – a race where William Dunlop finished fifth.
The prototype race bike is an evolution of Brammo’s Empulse RR, after the Oregon, US company was bought in January by Polaris Industries, owner of Victory Motorcycles. The Empulse RR won the North American series of the FIM eRoadRacing World Cup in 2013 in the hands of Eric Bostrom. Dubbed as the “world’s fastest motorcycle” at the time, the latest Empulse RR prototype is powered by a liquid cooled high performance GVM PMAC motor made by Parker Hannifin Corporation. Gary Gray, Product Director Motorcycles/Business Leader for Polaris Electric Motorcycles, revealed in a recent interview to motorcycle.com that the race prototype has a new battery pack offering 20 percent more capacity, now up to 17 kWh, while the motor has been detuned to 150 hp in order to last the full 37.73 miles (60.72 km) of the Mountain Course. As raced in eRoadRacing World Cup, the full power version produced 173 hp and was able to sustain race pace for approximately five laps in a race track with a 14 kWh battery pack.
Victory has never raced in an electric motorcycle class before, while Brammo raced at the inaugural Isle of Man TTXGP in 2009, finishing third with a race version of its Enertia model. The Empulse would be launched several months later, in early 2010.
The main opponent Victory Racing has to overcome is Team Mugen, the Japanese outfit that dominated last year’s TT Zero with John Mc Guinness and Bruce Ansty riding its Shinden San race motorcycle to first and second place respectively. In March Mugen revealed Shinden Yon, the evolution of last year’s TT racer. It features an updated oil cooling system that allows for a 15 hp increase, bringing the maximum output to 149.6. With McGuinness and Ansty once again on Shinden Yon’s saddle, the 2015 TT Zero could prove to be more competitive than ever.
Lee Johnston describes his experience with the Victory electric motorcycle in the video below.