Airspeeder, the world’s first electric flying car racing series, is set to take off later this year and it will have IWC Schaffhausen along for the ride. The watch brand has announced an engineering and timekeeping partnership with the new race series.
Combining the passion both companies share for technological progress, human endeavour, and sustainability, both IWC and Airspeeder will work together in pioneering this new form of motorsport to fast track a new era of clean-air mobility.
The idea for the race series took root just two years ago. In the summer of 2019 entrepreneur Matthew Pearson stated his ambition to create the world’s first racing series for electric flying cars. His mission was informed by the role racing historically played in accelerating the development of both ground and air mobility. The result of this was the Airspeeder series.
“It’s fantastic to play a part in bringing Matt’s bold vision to life. The Airspeeder team are true pioneers of aviation, and they are bringing together two things that are really close to IWC’s heart,” explained Christoph Grainger-Herr, IWC CEO.
“From making some of the planet’s best pilots’ watches for the last eighty years to the cut and thrust of modern automotive design and racing, we have always equipped and inspired those who dare to dream. We are proud to collaborate on an endeavour that will make such a progressive impact on society,”
Dawn Of The Flying Race Car
Despite just being two years on, Pearson and his team proudly echo the legacies of automotive and aviation pioneers like Enzo Ferrari, Karl Benz, John Alcock and Arthur Brown. They have already made history with successful first flights of a full-scale electric flying racing car, the remotely piloted Alauda Mk3.
These historic first flights have taken place at undisclosed test locations in the deserts of South Australia under the observation of Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). Throughout the development process, the Alauda team has worked with the regulator to ensure compliance to all required procedures while developing robust safety protocols.
The successful execution of these flights means that un-crewed electric flying car Grand Prix races will take place in 2021 at three soon-to-be-revealed international locations. These races will see elite pilots drawn from aviation, motorsport, and eSports backgrounds to remotely pilot the world’s only racing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) craft.
Each pilot will remotely control their Speeders in races across electronically governed, Augmented Reality enabled sky-tracks. Audiences will watch via digital streams that show the full dynamic potential of vehicles that have greater thrust-to-weight ratio than a F15 fighter jet.
Ready To Take OFf
The planned global race series will eventually see a full grid of eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) craft, manufactured by Alauda. Each racing machine will be managed by individual teams and operated by elite pilots.
Each will compete at heights of up to 40m off the ground and at top speeds of 200km/h. The air races will take place on electronically created tracks and be streamed globally, minimising the environmental impact of more complex logistics and infrastructure.
The newest vehicle, the Mk3, is the world’s first fully functional electric flying racing car. With an overall aesthetic reminiscent of classic 1950s sportscars combined with racing drones, the speeders feature an octocopter layout, airfoil-profiled rotor arms, cutting edge carbon-fibre composites and the latest EV battery technology.
New advances in safety are delivered through a suite of technologies and engineering elements never before seen on an eVTOL craft. These innovations include LiDAR and Radar collision avoidance systems that create a ‘virtual force field’ around the craft to ensure close but ultimately safe racing. Designed for maximum performance and aerial agility, they move through the air with precision and pace.
An entire grid of these remotely piloted Mk3s is currently being built by Airspeeder, ahead of this year’s competitive pilotless events. The Mk4 is expected to launch in 2022, before the inaugural crewed season gets underway.
(Images: IWC Schaffhausen / Airspeeder)