FIM's e-Power race at Laguna Seca still not confirmed

reikiman's picture

The FIM in their infinite wisdom has created their own electric motorcycle race series, e-Power. The two races held so far have been pretty anemic with a small field and lackluster performances. Not to diss the individual team efforts because I haven't been at any of those races. However the race results indicate the overall performance levels weren't even competitive with the bikes who have raced in the US TTXGP. More importantly the small field of racers is the really lackluster thing. Some bloggers watching the scene have called the e-Power races 'lame' and called for FIM to give up on the e-Power plan. However, on FIM's e-Power schedule is a race at the Laguna Seca race track which might be a different show than the ones they've put on so far.

The reason is because Laguna Seca is in the back yard of the SF Bay Area, an area that is for some reason a hotbed of electric motorcycle development. Within easy distance of Laguna Seca are the majority of the teams racing in the US TTXGP (Lightning Motors, Electric Motorsport, ElectricRaceBikes.com, Volt Motorcycles, etc) as well as Mission Motors, Zero Motorcycles, Motoczysz, and Brammo. Those teams could be enticed by FIM to race in an e-Power race occurring in their back yard.

The puzzle however is that while FIM's e-Power site lists the event on the e-Power schedule, it is not listed on Laguna Seca's website. Is the race actually going to happen?

I sent an email to the Laguna Seca press office and they just confirmed a couple facts. First, yes indeed there is no set agreement yet that the e-Power race will be held that weekend at Laguna Seca. I suppose FIM is being overly hopeful by listing it in their e-Power schedule. In any case, Laguna Seca's press office says they are still in negotiations with FIM, AMA and Dorna over holding the e-Power race at Laguna Seca on that weekend.

That's all they would confirm. So if you will indulge me in some informed speculation ...

First issue is the business model of holding races. The race weekend organizers have a set period of time (a weekend) to fill with events sufficient to draw race fans to the race weekend. Race weekend organizers generally jam in as many hours of action packed racing excitement as they can, and obviously they want to know every event in the weekend will draw ticket sales. At the end of the day race weekend organizers are a business whose objective is to sell tickets.

Hence a proposal to add a race to a given weekend has to meet up with the business model of the race weekend organizers. Will that race draw ticket sales or will it sap interest away from the weekend? Further, if the weekend's schedule is already full, how does one accommodate a proposed addition to the schedule?

I'd imagine that if electric motorcycle racing was proven to draw ticket sales there would be little question about adding the e-Power race to the schedule. But the field of electric motorcycle racing is rather young and unknown. Given FIM's pathetic e-Power races I expect it would not give confidence to the organizers of the race weekend at Laguna Seca.

It's been learned that FIM is paying the 5 e-Power race teams to fly to the US for a Laguna Seca race. Further FIM has sent emails to the teams who have participated in US TTXGP inviting them to participate. This means that at the minimum FIM has the 5 teams who participated in prior e-Power races. Will there be any other teams join them? As I said Laguna Seca is in the back yard of the hotbed of electric motorcycle development, would any of those teams decide to race at e-Power?

That remains to be seen. Fortuitously that weekend (July 24, 25) is not on the US TTXGP schedule. However it is squeezed between two US TTXGP events, one at Mosport Canada (July 11), the other at Virginia International Raceway (August 15). Given that most of the US TTXGP teams are based in Northern California, to participate in the remaining US TTXGP races plus the FIM e-Power race means several cross country trips within 5 weeks. First is the trek to Mosport for a TTXGP race, then a trek back to Laguna Seca for a race, then another trek to Virgina for a TTXGP race. That sounds like a grueling five weeks. Especially for teams with little sponsorship funding themselves from their own money.

The question then is, what is FIM's purpose in pushing for the Laguna Seca race? Is it to build up e-Power's reputation or is it to throw a monkey wrench into the TTXGP race series?

See:

Lightning strikes second round of TTXGP 2010 with Lightning Motors win

With the TTXGP underway, what's happening with the e-Power and TTZERO races?

Zero/Agni wins at Infineon after battle royale with Lightning Motors

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Comments

I think you have the wrong information.
If you check the results of the USA TTXGP en e-Power.

At the e-Power championship the lap times of the 5 competitors are very close, between the first and 5th only maximum 5 sec.

If you compare this with the TTXGP is this only for the first 2.
And the 5th is already 16sec slower each lap.

The fastet lap time of the e-Power championship is just 20 sec slower then the lap times off the world endurance Superbikes.

Have patience the e-Power race at Laguna Seca will be a great electric race event.

Please check thing good before you write about it.

reikiman's picture

Hi Thijs, thank you for the clarification. One problem I have is that the FIM website doesn't have that level of detail (per lap laptimes). However looking at the total race time between #1 and #2 spots in both races is within 20 seconds, a detail I must have missed before. That does indicate the top bikes in the FIM e-Power races are pretty evenly matched.

The US TTXGP races by contrast have had a long range of speeds from the Lightning/Agni axis of power and the ones at the bottom of the pack. There probably should be 2 or 3 classes of motorcycle given the range of speeds showing up, but there aren't enough motorcycles competing at this time to support having multiple classes.

The "lame" word is one I borrowed from Ivar's blog posts. I probably didn't make it clear enough - but what I'm most looking at in using the word "lackluster" is that the small number of bikes showing up at the races. It's been 6 bikes each race so far as I can tell.

My bigger concern is that having multiple race series divides up the attention of the racing teams. And that the whole sport might suffer while in its infancy because of being spread too thinly.

In a way it's not about the performance of individual teams. It's the bigger business fracas between the various organizations.

- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
- Electrified Electra To

Yes there is not much information on the FIM website.
The difference between 1 and 2 was 12 sec, it still more then a normal motorace but with more competitors the gap will be closer.

For now there are not more electric racebikes in Europe.
5 equal racers is a good start for a Championship now it can grow.


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