TTXGP has always been known for being ahead of the pack. In a brand new sport where innovation and technological development are at the heart of the race, how should TTXGP develop rules that encourage innovation and invite new participants while preserving the safety of riders, race stewards and fans?
TTXGP began addressing this questions when, in early 2009, it commissioned an independent panel of international experts in all disciplines relating to emissions transport technology brought together from its membership by the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology). In 2010, TTXGP decided to cast its net further by starting a Rules Wiki as a forum for all interested parties to weigh-in with ideas about the rules. After the success of last year’s Rules Wiki, TTXGP has again enlisted the help of the very best Wiki Moderator, EV enthusiast Harry Mallin, to give you an opportunity to have your thoughts heard and us an opportunity to ensure we have the widest possible thought leadership and contribution in 2011:-
Harry said “The Wiki is updated with the current set of technical rules ready for everyone to contribute to, peruse, and debate. You may have joined it in 2010, but it’s time to stop lurking and let us know what you want the Rules to be for 2012.
The 2011 Rules caused a little controversy with the creation of two classes and with the reduction of the weight limit from 300kg to 250kg to encourage innovation in design and efficiency of power delivery, while sustaining the promise of an exciting and competitive field. Rather than talking about the implications from the sidelines, here’s your chance, yet again, to actually have a say in what the rules for electric motorcycle racing ought to be. Please share the wisdom and passion that comes from years of development and work in research labs, universities, and garages and on racetracks and roads all over the world. Your contribution is both valued and necessary.”
TTXGP – be part of it.
I recently asked Azhar Hussain, CEO of TTXGP about a recent dust-up involving the 2011 rules (which should be out any day now) and a claim by one of the teams which had planned to participate in 2011, that it would be excluded from the races because of a new weight limit. (More on the specifics of the weights, the rules, and the claims, later).
TTXGP responded with this message:
TTXGP are very surprised and disappointed to learn via twitter that Swigz are choosing not to join TTXGP in 2011.
TTXGP 2011 will consist of two classes: Formula GP (maximum weight: 250kg) and Formula 75 (maximum weight: 200kg + 7.5kWh limit). The race length is 20miles. wiki.egrandprix.com was a key channel for rule deliberation. The rule book is open sourced, Harry Mallin of eMotoRules was involved in pulling together the suggested changes for rules of TTXGP 2011. They were then peer reviewed by the independent technical committee from the IET.
TTXGP is not a one man, one company show. Be Part of it is more than a tagline.
It was apparent over the 2010 season that a single class could not meet the best interests of the teams, fans or sponsors. The field was too wide. In this case TTXGP consulted widely, acted responsibly, in the best interest of the sport, community and majority of teams.
The economics of running a racing series means that classes have to be connected to number of entries. Our concern was to create classes that will have the highest number of entries and give the participants a level playing field. We are by nature committed to removing limits where possible.
TTXGP launched the Electric Motorcycle Motorsports in the world stage in 2009. In that time we, as an industry, have learnt a great deal that could move forward the progress and innovation. A key motivating factor for us and the current teams is to build vehicles that have real world applicability. Driving down mass for higher speed leads to higher efficiency and better design and fits in with the goals of the teams and the series.
To date, the rule changes have had a positive response and the teams are encouraged that we have created some sensible classes that will grow the field. Racing needs to both push and constrain to create real world innovation and a thrilling spectacle, in this case we are satisfied that we have struck the right balance for the greater good.
Using the conflict of interest with respect to Mavizen is a moot point. Mavizen exists purely to provide technical support, spare parts, expertise and on occasion, complete platforms to those that need it. No team is required to use Mavizen, though over the year, it has proved crucial to many.
In addition to the class changes, 2011 will also see solutions for logistics and a focused effort to promote the TTXGP teams across the world.
We wish Swigz well in whatever they decide to do.
On January 11, 2010, the TTXGP Technical Rules Wiki went live, opening a portal into the future of rulemaking for motorsports. We invited all interested parties to come and help shape the rules for electric motorcycle racing and announced that the guiding principle would be to “include on merit by default, and then to look for reasons to exclude.” In other words, when the Wiki “closed,” the hope would be to include all changes unless there were good reason (e.g. safety-related) to forgo the change.
While that still remains the guiding principle, a slight change has been made to the idea of “closing” the Wiki. If you recall, the Wiki was going to be closed sometime in August, 2010, at which point the Technical Advisory Panel would begin sifting through the contributions for the final draft of the 2011 Technical Rules. The original announcement said little about the fate of the Wiki after August 2010.
The success of the Wiki (over 19,000 visits to the main page alone in the past six months) has led the TTXGP to decide to encourage the continuation of fan and team interest in the rules by leaving the Wiki open indefinitely. It will continue to remain a vital, growing, and changing document. In the interest of drafting the rules for the 2011 TTXGP racing series, however, a “snapshot” of the Wiki will be taken on August 15, 2010, the day of the final race of the North American TTXGP racing championship, at VIR in Southern Virginia, USA.
If you have any ideas that you think should be considered by the TTXGP Technical Advisory Panel when it meets to determine the 2011 Rules, you have a limited amount of time to get those ideas submitted. There are two ways to do so:
Find the rule you think needs to be “tweaked” (or submit a new rule) on the Technical Rules Wiki at wiki.egrandprix.com
Submit your idea on the TTXGP Webstorm at ttxgp.brightidea.com/webstorm. If you’re familiar with internet forums, you’ll recognize the layout of the webstorm. If “wiki” editing doesn’t intimidate you, perhaps the Wiki is your tool of choice. Either way, you have approximately 2 weeks left before the Wiki Snapshot is taken. Be the change. Be part of it.
TTXGP CEO, Azhar Hussain, recently gave an interview to the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Assoaciations (FEMA) and, among other subjects, had some comments to make about the Technical Rules Wiki:
Azhar Hussain: Because the space for innovations is so incredibly huge, we also decided to rely on a Wiki to come up with the rules for the TTXGP 2011.
FEMA: Who makes the rules for the TTXGP races?
A.H.: Usually within a racing organization there is a committee setting the rules. In popular racing series, like MotoGP and Formula 1 the rules serve to keep the races exciting but also to tap development costs. The more sophisticated the rules, the smaller the space for innovation. A small space for innovation in turn leads to a reduced risk of spending money for research and development as well as reducing the goals for wider applicability.
High recognition within the racing community is usually an important condition to become part of the rule setting committing. The result is insiders making the rules for insiders, output from outside is not captured and new ideas can hardly take form and the series becomes remote from wider social, commercial and technical objectives. In order to avoid such phenomena we came up with the idea to create a Wiki to decide on the rules for the TTXGP in 2011. We invite contributions atwiki.egrandprix.com.
FEMA: A Wiki is an online platform that allows people to post and to edit and to comment texts or ideas on certain topics, just like Wikipedia. Does that mean that the rules for the TTXGP next year will be decided upon by whoever gives his or her input?
A.H.: In our sector, development and innovation takes place incredibly fast. In order to not miss anything, we invite everybody to participate setting the rules for the TTXGP 2011. Everybody who is interested in motorcycles, battery technology, electronics and mechanics is invited to join. We think this is the best way to keep track with recent developments. Finally a committee of experts will evaluate all the suggestions made and tailor manageable rules and standards. That’s how we try to keep our room for innovation as open as possible.
The rest of the article is filled with great information and insights on the world of electric motorcycles and electric motorcycle racing, as well.
I’ve been writing about, tweeting about, and moderating the TTXGP Technical Rules Wiki for a few months now, and up until yesterday, it represented somewhat of an abstract idea to me. It wasn’t connected to anything I had actually witnessed or experienced. I’m not a motorcycle racing fan or, more accurately, I wasn’t a motorcycle racing fan until recently, and I hadn’t ventured very far into imagining what the experience of being at the racetrack would entail.
I was blind, but now I see.
I’m sitting trackside right now, typing away, as the I.C.E.-powered bikes scream past. To have a conversation here is a challenge. To make a phone call, I had to retire to the Men’s room. It is loud.
In about 15 minutes, that will change. The first of two qualifying heats for the TTXGP electric bikes is scheduled to begin. The bikes are beginning to line up at the fence, ready to head out to the track.
The camaraderie of the teams has been amazing. Yesterday, one team had burned up their motor controller. A member of another team offered him a spare one.
I’m going to publish this now, and will update after the first qualifier. All I can say right now is that I’m humbled to be a witness of, and a participant in, history being made.
Another team striving to get to the TTXGP grid is requesting help from the grassroots racing fan community. Square Wave Racing (SWR) has posted a donation page on Indiegogo.com: http://www.indiegogo.com/Join-the-Electric-Revolution. Here’s some information about the team:
ABOUT Square Wave Racing (SWR) needs your help getting to the first TTXGP Zero Emission motorcycle race for 2010!
SWR developed a powerful and competitive electric motorcycle hand-fabricated from a local garage. The team is a true motley crew formed for two reasons only….. promote the electric revolution and win TTXGP races! We need your help though. We are looking for any help or assistance with transportation and shipping costs to get all the way from Columbus, Ohio to the Infineon Raceway in California.
SWR is a partnership between fabricator/team principal John Wild and Sean C. Ewing and Jordan Rhyne of Rhyne Electric Powersports (REP). This partnership was formed to design, build and race an electric motorcycle.
For us, electric vehicles are the future. Electricity from the grid is generated at tightly regulated power plants in large quantities. It is produced more cleanly and efficiently than power produced by a gasoline burning engine. There are zero emissions from the electric vehicle itself. Electric vehicles are quiet, which is a pleasant feature as our world becomes more crowded
Those are the official reasons for going electric racing. For us there are other reasons that are more exciting.
Super bike and MotoGP racing use motorcycle designs that have been refined for decades. The rule books enforce a uniformity of pattern that benefits the established motorcycle producers but slows improvement and keeps the cost of developmentREALLY high. Essentially, only the factory teams have the ability to spend enough money to make the tiny, subtle improvements that make a bike lead the points for a season. If the rules would allow free development motorcycles might begin to look different and change in unexpected ways.
The organizers of the TTXGP have designed their rules to encourage creativity and unconventional thinking, which is very attractive to Rhyne Electric Powersports andSWR. We want to try new ideas, not just polish the well tested and proven ones. We believe that we can imagine solutions to the problems that limit electric vehicles and advance the state of the art very quickly. Also, because the state of the art is currently rather crude, significant improvements can be made for relatively little cost. This is the first year for electric motorcycle racing in North America. We only began our collaboration in February of this year, so making the first races with our donated motorcycle chassis will be a tremendous achievement.
LOCATION Columbus, Ohio, United States
These guys are building a great-looking bike and seem to have a creative and talented team in place. Check out their bike’s project page at http://www.squarewaveracing.com/ and Rhyne Electric Powersports page at http://repowersports.com/ to check them out. Then, drop by their donation page and help them out.
See you at Infineon, guys!