It’s basically Formula E for micromobility
A group of Formula One and Formula E drivers are starting a new racing series that will pit competitors against each other on ultra-fast custom-built electric scooters. The series — dubbed “Electric Scooter Championship,” or “eSkootr” — is set to launch in 2021, and the launch video shows riders whizzing through city streets on Tron-style vehicles and wearing matching neon-accented gear.
There are, unfortunately, few other details about the series, like how it’s being funded or who the competitors will be. All the organizers say is that the “category’s affordability removes the high barrier to entry seen in most other motorsport series, and its versatility means the series can recruit from a truly diverse cross-section of competitors – including racing drivers, cyclists, skaters, snowboarders, motorcyclists, and even esports racers.”
Whoever does compete will be putting themselves in a remarkably risky position, though, as the scooters are allegedly going to be capable of outrageous top speeds of around 100 kilometers per hour (about 62 miles per hour). They will feature large platforms, fat tires, and full suspensions in order to handle going that fast — at least, according to the launch video. But those kinds of speeds carry great risk even with a purpose-built vehicle and top-tier protective gear. As for where the scooters will come from, organizers say they have “already partnered with a recognized high-technology provider” to build them and will “reveal the prototype later this year,” though they don’t name the company.
The mission behind the series tracks very closely to that of Formula E, the all-electric racing series that launched in 2014. Formula E is not just about pushing the boundaries of electric vehicle performance. Almost all of its races are run on temporary street circuits in some of the world’s biggest cities, with the goal of promoting clean energy technology in the places where it’s most needed.
The same goes for eSkootr:
At each venue city, the series will bring together representatives from government, industry and civil society to help define policies and practices to build a more sustainable and deliverable vision of future urban transportation.
It will show how densely populated areas can efficiently build protected, sustainable city networks where escooters, ebikes and bicycles all share space together.
And it will introduce a fresh mobility landscape to city commuters who have spent decades travelling clogged and congested routes by motor car.
This shared vision should come as no surprise to Formula E fans, as one of eSkootr’s organizers is season 3 champion Lucas di Grassi. The Audi team driver was instrumental in getting Formula E off the ground, serving as its first test driver and later as its biggest brand ambassador. Now, he’s doing the same for this new scooter series.
It’s possible that eSkootr races could be run on Formula E’s street circuits as a sort of support series, though the organizers don’t say that explicitly in the announcement. Formula E has long sought a steady support class to help fill out its all-in-one-day race schedule. In season 1, that slot was occupied by the “School Series,” which featured students building and racing small electric cars on the full-size street circuits. An autonomous racing series called Roborace was supposed to eventually take over as the undercard, though that effort has mutated, and Roborace is now more of its own thing (and is also helmed by di Grassi).
Jaguar, which competes in Formula E, has organized a support series made up of I-Pace electric SUVs for the past two seasons. But that series is getting the axe this year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.