Micromobility. Last mile transportation. E scooters. Mobility. Whatever you call it, the damn things are a pox on our society. They litter the sidewalk, they’re constantly broken, they purport to be inexpensive transportation but require a smart phone to operate. There are myriad reasons to dislike the Birds, Limes, and Jumps of the world, but this electric scooter racing championship looks cool enough to nullify all the bad stuff.
Starting next year, the eSkootr Championship will pit a Tron-looking grid of scooter racers against each other in an international series on international street circuits. It’s the brain child of open wheel racers Lucas di Grassi and Alex Wurz. The series purports to promote cost, convenience, and sustainability benefits of micromobility. I don’t know about any of that, but the racing looks like it’ll be a riot.
Specifically developed for this series, racers will climb aboard scooters capable of more than 60 miles per hour. While we don’t know who is involved in engineering and building the scooters, ESC says it is a “recognized high-technology provider”. Most importantly, entering a race will be highly cost effective, lowering the barrier of entry to motorsport. ESC hopes to attract racing drivers, cyclists, skateboarders, snowboarders, motorcycle racers, and even esports champs.
Being that I’ve railed against the massively increased cost of racing in the past, I’d be a fool to say anything bad about this series. It’s a great opportunity for up and comers to pit themselves against other racers in the Colosseum of competition. I look forward to hearing more about this series in the future.
It could be assumed that the ESC series will share at least some of its dates with Formula E as Lucas de Grassi is heavily involved in that series (as well as Extreme E, the off-road electric racing series starting next year). Tight urban circuits will perhaps favor these compact racers even more than the FE cars, due to the ability to pass and carry speed through the corners. Being no more than the width of a person’s shoulders, rather than the 3-5 feet wide of a racing car, gives much more opportunity for squaring off the corner and digging as close to the apex as possible.
Lucas di Grassi, hilariously named the eSC Sustainability Ambassador, had this to say:
“As the world increasingly looks to sport for leadership in social responsibility, we’re also seeing a growing requirement for conventional motorsport to adapt, develop and diversify.
The concept of a new series, operating on a global scale with professional participants, yet running with a carbon-zero footprint and offering solutions for a better, more mobile society is a fascinating glimpse toward a more accessible and sustainable way to go racing.
As we’ve already seen with Formula E, there is considerable scope for disruption within the electric mobility space – both on and off the track. And, as the discussion around micromobility grows, the Electric Scooter Championship is perfectly placed to amplify the benefits of clean, sustainable transport solutions within our everyday lives.
This is the start of real – and important – growth for micromobility within motorsport.”
I’m sure we’ll see a lot of interesting active aerodynamics tricks in this series, as a human’s chest is very much a wind break at those kinds of speeds. Riders crouching as low as possible, slipstreaming action, or even riding with a leg slung out behind them for a long-tail effect are a possibility. And maybe it’ll pay off!
I’m also curious if we’ll see more or less contact in a sport like this than in cars. Perhaps people will be more aggressive because they’ll be wearing pretty serious full body armor, or maybe the fact that their meat robot is hanging out in the breeze will make them think twice about body checking another rider. That remains to be seen.
In any case, I’m looking forward to this bizzare two-wheeled future series. I wouldn’t mind giving it a try, but I’m definitely at a weight and aerodynamic disadvantage. This racer hits the wind like the broad side of a barn.