So, you’ve heard of flying cars, right? Well, have you heard of flying race cars? If the Jetsons had sci-fi Formula 1, then we might be getting quite close to recreating that ourselves. In 2019, Matthew Pearson had a dream. He saw what the world of motorsport has done to advance regular road-going cars. So, it’s only natural then that flying race cars could have the same effect.
This time, it’ll be to formulate the first all-electric flying car racing series, the Airspeeder EXA. Here’s what Matthew Pearson, the founder of both Airspeeder and Alauda Aeronautics, had to say…
Nothing drives innovation like racing. The world is ready for advanced air mobility and we are proud to make history by introducing the world’s first racing series for flying electric cars. Airspeeder and EXA represent the future of motorsport and a compelling and exhilarating showcase of the potential of electric flying cars as this generation’s defining mobility revolution.
Think of this as pod racing from Star Wars, but you’re a lot (lot) higher up. More specifically, these aren’t so much “cars” per se, but are eVTOLS. Or, ‘electric vertical take-off and landing’ craft. The first eVTOLs have already gone through testing in the deserty hinterlands of Southern Australia. Among them is Alauda Aeronautics’ Mk3, which just had its first, and historic lift-offs.
The Next Evolution Of Motorsport
The crafts themselves are quite impressive. Perhaps not entirely surprising, given that the brightest minds in the world from the likes of Brabham, McLaren, Jaguar, Boeing, Rolls Royce (not the car company), and F1 themselves are helping along. Design is reminiscent of race cars from the 50s and 60s, with the silhouette blurring somewhere between a modern F1 car and a fighter jet.
Though my eyes are leaning more towards a Spitfire. Like an oversized drone, the Alauda Mk3‘s electrified powertrain can output 320kW, or 423bhp. While it doesn’t sound like a lot compared to a conventional race car, the Mk3 itself only weighs a lithe 130kg. Plus, it can carry a load of 80kg at a time. A sprint from 0-62mph takes just 2.8 seconds, and could climb up to 500m above ground.
For context, it has a thrust-to-weight ratio of 3.5, higher than the F-15 fighter jet’s 1.2. The first un-crewed Mk3 – of which 10 have already been built – will be prepped for a three-race Gran Prix. Up to four teams will be joining, with two remote pilots each. The battle for the eVTOL championship will be decided sometime in 2021. For you, the viewer, the races will be streamed online.
For now, let’s see what Mr Pearson has to say about what the future holds for eVTOL racing…
EXA delivers on the promise of a future first shown in science fiction. We are proud to introduce a sport that redefines what humans and machines can achieve together. These historic first flights are just the start and we are all excited to begin a momentous new chapter in motorsport’s rich legacy.