Formula E driver Lucas Di Grassi is gearing up to promote a new electric scooter championship in which he says anyone can go from “zero to hero”, but which has attracted a huge line up of athletes who have made their name in other sports.
The racing legend is co-founder of the eSkootr Championship which officially launched on Tuesday, with the opening round of the world’s first-ever micromobility racing series to take place at Printworks London in the middle of May with 30 male and female riders racing at over 100km/h on the specially designed S1-X eSkootr.
Billed as a racing event “with purpose and real world relevance at its heart,” the eSkootr Championship (eSC) confirmed the location of its opening round on Tuesday at an event held at the London landmark, The Shard.
Di Grassi flagged the upcoming event on LinkedIn, saying, “ESC is everything we want from a modern motorsport: fun, sustainable, democratic and participative. Anyone can go from zero to hero from anywhere on the globe.”
The eScootr Championship had previously announced in February the inaugural season calendar set to debut in London, but little else was made known about tracks or host cities, with only the six host countries named – the UK, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, and the United States.
More details were given on Tuesday, however, with the announcement that the first race would take place at Printworks London, a nightclub and events venue in Rotherhithe, South London.
Set to take place over May 13 and 14, the kick-off race will play host to 30 male and female riders coming from sporting backgrounds as diverse as speed skating, monster trucks, snowboarding, and BMX.
Amongst the riders to compete are multiple World Champion and former Team GB speed skater, Elise Christie, BMX World Championship bronze medalist, Tre Whyte, and Olympic Games Snowboard bronze medalist, Billy Morgan.
The 600-metre specially designed track will weave in and out of Printworks London and allow the specially designed S1-X eSkootr to reach racing speeds of over 100km/h.
Coverage of the racing series will be available to view via eSC’s network of broadcast partners in over 100 territories worldwide with a projected reach of over 350 million homes, as well as for free on the eSC fan hub.
“We will use our racing to help advance the technology, safety, and regulations of everyday e-scooters, and to create debate around micromobility and its benefits for more sustainable and accessible urban transportation,” said Lucas di Grassi, co-founder of the ESC and its sustainability ambassador, who will likely miss out on the inaugural eSC race as he will be piloting his ROKiT Venturi Racing Formula E car at the Berlin E-Prix.
“The riders will be using the specially made S1-X eSkootr, which is capable of reaching speeds of 120km/h thanks to twin 6kW motors and 1.33kWh battery capacity and weighing only 35kg.
Interest has been high for the eSC, with over 500 athletes from around the world applying for the eSC Rider Programme in the 12 months since it was launched. After an intensive period of testing and training, the final 30 riders were selected to compete in the series, and will now be selected by the 10 teams entered in the championship through a rider draft.
“It’s an amazing feeling to say I’m a professional eSkootr rider,” said Elise Christie, a British former short track speed skater who retired as a ten-times European gold medallist and multiple World Championship winner.
If testing is anything to go by, the racing will be breathtaking, but it’s also the Championship’s vision for using sport as a platform for more sustainable mobility in cities that I’m proud to be a part of.
“From competing on skates, I enjoy racing in close proximity to other competitors and think fans will be surprised by how close we get to each other on track in eSC. That, combined with the speed and the lean angle of 55° will make for incredible viewing and I can’t wait to get out and start competing at Printworks in a few weeks’ time.”
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.