Say hello to the E1 Electric Powerboat Championship Racebird!
It looks like something straight out of Star Wars and will be the vehicle of choice for a new offshore powerboat racing series!
Electric motorsport is slowly but surely gaining a significant foothold in the world. We saw it first with Formula E, then Extreme E and then with the FIA's announcement that it would be introducing an electric GT championship. Now it seems that electric motorsport is venturing off the land and onto the sea for the first time, as the world's first fully electric racing powerboat has been unveiled!
The E1 Racebird will be the boat of choice for the new E1 electric offshore powerboat racing championship, founded by Formula E and Extreme E founder Alejandro Agag. Agag came up with the championship in conjunction with his good friend Rodi Basso (a former NASA, Ferrari and Red Bull F1 engineer) when, so the story goes, they were taking a walk by the river Thames in London during the world's enforced COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. The two of them agreed that maritime propulsion needed more than a healthy nudge to catch up with the automotive industry in terms of adopting electric powertrains and devised the E1 championship as a way to help achieve that.
"The E1 Series is the world’s first and only electric powerboat racing series," the E1 series' official website states. "The series was established to create an exciting, competitive racing platform to promote sustainable electric watercraft and reduce the environmental pressures being placed on the ocean, rivers and lakes.
"The UIM E1 World Electric Powerboat Series will see up to 12 teams competing on the water in spectacular global race locations. The pilots will tackle tight and technical circuits, reaching speeds close to 50 knots (93 km/h or 58 mph) behind the wheel of the RaceBird powerboats designed by SeaBird Technologies and Victory Marine."
As you can see from the official renders, the E1 Racebird really does look like something that could have come straight out of Star Wars! The extremely long front end and futuristic-looking curves and angles really do make it look like something that the Rebel Alliance would send into battle against Emperor Palpatine and his evil empire. Maybe that's a touch deliberate? Regardless of whether it was intentional or not, the boat certainly looks very cool and it'll definitely cut a very imposing figure as it speeds through the water!
Will people actually tune in to watch this new electric racing series? We'll just have to wait and see. Formula E has certainly proven to be a huge success and Extreme E, whilst it does have its drawbacks, is being pretty well-received as well by motorsports fans. Will Agag's seemingly magic ability to create great racing out of fully electric motorsports prevail once again? Knowing his track record, I would absolutely bet on it! Let's just hope that it doesn't get too gimmicky...