Tuesday, March 5, 2013

AFM approves Brammo electric motorcycles for racing in gas bike races

Brammo announced on Tuesday a historic agreement with the AFM allowing Brammo's Empulse R, Empulse TTX and Empulse RR electric motorcycles to compete directly in AFM races.  For the first time electric motorcycle racers will be able to compete for points and championship position in regular gas bike racing.  The agreement not only covers Brammo's own team, Team ICON Brammo, but any owner of qualifying Brammo motorcycles who qualifies to be an AFM competitor.

The motorcycles must meet AFM's technical requirements, and the organization has adopted TTXGP's rules.  Electric bike teams must also follow other TTXGP safety rules including a cool-down area in the pit, fire safety blankets, and the corner workers will have insulated gloves.  The important rule is that riders must meet a lap time threshold in order to compete in a given race.

The Brammo Empulse TTX and Empulse R bikes will be allowed in these classes:
  • 250 Superbike
  • 500 Twins
  • 450 Superbike
  • Clubman Lightweight
  • Formula 40 Lightweight
  • Formula AFemme
  • Formual 50
The Empulse RR bikes will be allowed in these classes:
  • Formula 1
  • Formula Pacific
  • Clubman Middleweight
  • Formula 40 Middleweight
  • Formula AFemme
  • Formula 50 
  • 750 Superbike
The AFM doesn't expect a given rider will enter in all those classes, and typically riders only enter 2-4 races per weekend.

According to Jon Forman, AFM SF Chapter Director, owners of electric bikes from other manufacturers will also be allowed to compete. What AFM has done is pre-determine which classes Brammo's motorcycles can race in.  For the other electric motorcycles, the AFM will have to determine on a case-by-case basis which class the bike can race in.  Interested racers should contact the AFM ahead of time to discuss technical requirements, class eligibility, and permission to run their bike.

Electric motorcycles have run in gas bike races, won, and gotten points previously.  The two occasions I know of are when Team Electra ran in an AHRMA event at Barber Motorsports Park in October 2010, and won, convincingly (see Team Electra in history-making win of electric motorcycles against gas bikes), and in early 2011 when Chip Yates participated in WERA racing and also won (see Chip Yates electric motorcycle takes podium finishes in WERA gas bike racing).  In both cases the respective team owners, while they won points in the respective championships, withdrew their win and gave up the points in order to avoid perturbing the results between the gas bike racers.

What is different in this case is that AFM has opened the door to full participation in gas bike racing by electric bike owners.

The Empulse R can be bought today from Brammo's dealership network.  The Empulse TTX will involve an aftermarket kit to ensure the Empulse R conforms with TTXGP regulations.  The Empulse RR is Brammo's non-production prototyping platform.  While the R and TTX can be bought and raced by teams other than Brammo's, the Empulse RR will only be raced by Team ICON Brammo.

Team ICON Brammo
TTXGP 2012 World Championship at Daytona International Raceway
Brian Wismann, Director of Product Development for Brammo, said: “This announcement is a true milestone in the history of electric motorcycle racing as an opportunity for our bikes to compete amongst their gas powered counterparts on even terms rather than just as an exhibition or in a single race. It’s going to be a challenge to be competitive as the gas bikes have about 100 years of development time on us, but we’re excited about the chance to pit the Brammo Empulse against the best efforts from Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha.”

Berto Wooldridge, President of AFM Racing said; “What caught AFM's attention about Brammo's approach was that they were not asking for a separate class, but were instead looking to have a chance for their bikes to compete within the existing class structure and go head to head with gas-powered bikes of similar performance and power-to-weight. We believe this to be a historic moment in motorcycle racing and are happy to have made it possible.”

No comments:

Post a Comment