By Scooter Doll

Nascent eVTOL racing league Airspeeder has successfully completed what it is calling the “world’s first electric flying car race” during its inaugural EXA Series event. Two EXA team pilots went head to head in South Australia using remotely operated eVTOLs, kicking off a development league that will eventually feed into global Grand Prix series. Check out the video recap of this historical event kicking off electric flight racing.

Airspeeder is an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) racing league headquartered in London that was first announced in November 2021. The league exists as an entity of Alauda Aeronautics – an electric aviation company based in Adelaide, Australia, where the league’s technical HQ is located, alongside its testing grounds. Alauda designs, engineers, and builds the league’s eVTOL racing aircraft called “Speeders.”

Airspeeder successfully completed its first remote-piloted eVTOL drag race in 2021 as one of its first big steps toward building a competitive league that will consist of multiple teams competing around the globe. These remote-piloted races will comprise Airspeeder’s flagship EXA Series to begin, and will eventually evolve into a series of Grand Prix taking place in the air above different countries.

The pilots themselves have forgone over 270 test flights and hours of simulator races in preparation for this initial flying car race, kicking off the league’s inaugural EXA circuit race. Following the arial event across a 1 km digital sky-track, Airspeeder has crowned the winner of the “world’s first electric flying car race” – Zephatali Walsh.

flying car race

Walsh wins first ever electric flying car race as EXA expands

Airspeeder shared news of its inaugural race in a press release this morning, alongside a video recap of the head to head competition that took place in the sky. For the first time ever, Airspeeder pilots Zephatiali Walsh and Fabio Tishcler were given full license to race their 4.1 meter long eVTOLs blade-to-blade around a 1 km long digital sky-track circuit. Per the release, here’s the tremendous technical preparation that went into the relatively short race:

To support this historic first race, they had to build Race control stations, pilot control station, cutting edge 5G networks, Augmented Reality (AR) Sky Tracks, an engineering and team control station, akin to that seen in elite traditional motor racing. In addition they had to develop race rules and a full suite of safety, logistics and race management protocols.

As you’ll see below, the race itself was an exciting way to kick off Airspeeder’s EXA series of remotely-operated races, which saw three overtakes in the first lap alone. The competition consisted of two sessions that included rapid battery swap “pit stops.” In the end, it was Walsh who took the inaugural crown, but not without a fight. 

Here are some of the stats from the two sessions:

SPRINT 1

MetricTime – Team Silver (Walsh)Time – Team Black (Tishcler)
Fastest Lap0:44.173 seconds0:39.784 seconds
Top Recorded Speed99 km/h (61.5 mph)102 km/h (63.4 mph)

SPRINT 2

MetricTime – Team Silver (Walsh)Time – Team Black (Tishcler)
Fastest Lap0:39.917 seconds0:43.038 seconds
Top Recorded Speed100 km/h (62 mph)99 km/h (61.5 mph)

Airspeeder founder Matt Pearson spoke to Walsh’s victory, and what this inaugural race means for “flying cars” and future eVTOL racing events:

Every transformative moment in human transportation has been accelerated by motorsport. As we stand on the cusp of the 21st century’s great leap forward in delivering on the promise of flying cars, the role competition plays is as important as ever. For this reason, in winning the world’s first flying car race, Zephatali Walsh hasn’t just made motor sport history but writes his own chapter in the genesis of a mobility revolution. This is just the start, this first race offers only a glimpse of our promise to deliver the most progressive, transformative and exciting motorsport in the world. We look forward to delivering many more races and breath-taking moments.

After four years of development leading to this event, Airspeeder explains that this is merely the beginning. Upcoming remotely-piloted EXA races will soon feature several more competitors including former F1 and Formula E star Bruno Senna, who can be seen doing commentary in the video below. 

Furthermore, the league states that the growing grid of pilots in the EXA Series will serve as a development and feeder program for a series of Grand Prix in 2024 that will feature human pilots racing from within the Speeders, rather than remotely from the ground. 

More to come as this league continues to pave new ground sky-track in creating a virtually new sport of flying car races. For now, here are some of the highlights from Australia. 

Via Electrek.com