At the end of August 2022, we informed you that Airspeeder electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) flying race car had completed its 250th test flight. Then, its manufacturer, Alauda Aeronautics, had confirmed its readiness to move on to the actual racing with their vehicles. And now, less than two months after that declaration, Airspeeder Ltd – the company behind the organisation of racing with those eVTOL aircrat, informed that the first Airspeeder race already took place.
On 12th October 2022, the Airspeeder Ltd company informed that the historic first race between two Airspeeders – organized within the EXA series, where the vehicles are, as of yet, being flown remotely – took place on the pink salt flats of Lake Lochiel near Adelaide, South Australia.
The route of the first race was one kilometre long and, in accordance with the competition formula, it was a digital sky-track displayed to the pilots via augmented reality. The race consisted of two sessions, separated by a quick pitstop – slightly similar to those known from, in example, Formula 1 – to change the batteries in the vehicles. This introduces an additional team strategy factor to the entire competition.
Zephatali Walsh and Fabio Tischler were the pilots who competed against each other in the first official and fully competitive race of the Airspeeders. The race took place in an atmosphere of thoroughly sporting challenge. Both pilots used all their experience gained from more than 270 test flights and thousands of hours spent on simulator. The skills of both competitors were visible since the very beginning of their fierce race. They flew blade-to-blade and only on the first lap, the pilots overtook each other three times.
And it was one of such manoeuvres that decided about the victory of one of the pilots. Tischler went wide into turn number one, losing speed as a result. Then Walsh seized the opportunity and overtook his rival, flying just a metre below him. That was exactly the move, that guaranteed Zephatali Walsh the victory in the first ever official Airspeeder EXA series race and the first eVTOL flying car circuit race in history.
The Airspeeder Ltd company emphasised that the event represents another milestone not only for development of the Airspeeder vehicles, but for the whole flying cars industry and the history of motorsport. That was the first of the remotely flown Airspeeder races within the EXA series, being a prelude to manned racing planned to begin in 2024.
The first competition was commentated by Bruno Senna, former F1 and World Endurance Racing driver, currently being the Airspeeder development pilot and ambassador, accompanied by renowned motorsport broadcaster Nikki Shields. The Airspeeder EXA series will soon involve more pilots and one of them will be the aforementioned Bruno Senna. Future Airspeeder flying car races of both the remotely piloted and then manned series, will be held in locations where no one have ever raced before.
With the first official race now having taken place, all we have to do is wait and see what the future holds for the Airspeeder eVTOL flying car racing series, but it looks to be an amazing one.
All photos © Airspeeder Ltd, Airspeeder press materials were used.