Swigz Pro Racing superbike with KERS – Click above for high-res image gallery
In a somewhat provocative statement, Chip Yates has ruled out Swigz Pro Racing competing in the 2011 TTXGP series. Citing a new rule change that reduces the allowable weight in the Formula GP class to 250 kilograms (551.2 lbs), the racer says they have "lost the desire to participate" in the series. Their 194 horsepower monster weighs in at approximately 585 lbs.
So what's the provocative part? We think the statement that there is a conflict of interest present because the principal player behind the TTXGP is also the head of Mavizen, a bike supplier to the series whose machines are already within the revised weight limit, falls within that category. The TTXGP, as you can imagine, disagrees with this assessment and has its own statement about the decision. You can find both the original press release and response after the break.
The development has ignited discussion among followers of electric motorcycle racing about the wisdom of having an upper weight limit. While the organization argues that reducing mass will push teams to increase efficiency and produce technology with more real-world applications, others contend weight is naturally self-regulating and doesn't require rule changes to accomplish. Feel free to give us your opinions in the comments section below.
[Source: Chip Yates / TTXGP]
World's Most Powerful and Technically Advanced Electric Superbike Excluded by the TTXGP from Racing in 2011
ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A. November 9, 2010 -- SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing USA announced today that the TTXGP organizers' decision to slash the maximum allowable vehicle weight by 110 lbs has excluded Chip Yates from riding his 194 horsepower superbike in any TTXGP race. The previous allowable weight maximum was 660 lbs.
SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing was one of the founding teams in the TTXGP series, but was not consulted on the rules change that now forbids bikes weighing over 550 lbs. SWIGZ team pro rider Chip Yates has publicly announced in numerous forums his superbike weight of 585 lbs. Although the SWIGZ team has been working hard to reduce the weight of the bike, the lack of rules stability combined with the TTXGP and Mavizen conflict of interest make the TTXGP an unattractive series for a team trying to develop an extreme performance superbike.
Not only do TTXGP organizers make and change the rules that govern electric motorcycle racing at their own discretion, they also manufacture, promote and sell their own electric motorcycle under the Mavizen brand name that is eligible for racing in their series. The Mavizen TTX02 has an advertised weight of 350 lbs, produces between 54 hp and 94 hp with its two electric motors and has not been excluded from racing under this new weight reduction rule change. The sales slogan for the Mavizen TTX02 bike is: "Entering the TTXGP Just Got Simpler".
CHIP YATES: "The TTXGP officials knew our bike weight and made this surprise rule change anyway. I contacted them to protest, and they could not provide a single reason why they lowered the weight and they told me that it would not affect any of their current competitors except me. We have to conclude then, that the TTXGP series is catering towards manufactured electric bikes in the scooter category putting out between 50-90 horsepower. No race fan would confuse these with a legitimate superbike, which is what we are developing to give people something to get excited about. Too many electric vehicles are slow and boring, and perpetuate the myth that electric vehicles can't be powerful and exciting. Our 194 horsepower, liquid-cooled UQM Technologies electric motor makes 295 ft/lbs of torque the instant you open the throttle and can be seen smoking its tire at www.youtube.com/chipyates"
The SWIGZ.COM Team is currently engaged in discussions with numerous event organizers and sanctioning bodies to set the 2011 schedule for racing and showcasing the electric superbike in front of real race fans and electric vehicle supporters around the world. On the engineering front, dyno testing, software development, and battery pack testing is ongoing and the superbike is expected to begin track testing in December, 2010.
CHIP YATES: "We have no shortage of invitations, special events, and races to participate in next year and can't wait to get this monster out on the track in front of the fans. The TTXGP series has taken a turn away from innovation and towards more of a spec racing series of low performance machinery that's not for us. We have developed a true superbike with real technology that shouldn't be hampered at this early stage by rule makers with a conflict of interest."
Electric Superbike Sponsors: SWIGZ.COM Dual Hydration System (www.swigz.com), Ohlins USA (www.ohlinsusa.com), Yoyodyne (www.yoyodyneti.com), McKenna Long & Aldridge, LLP (www.mckennalong.com), Swift Engineering (www.swiftengineering.com), MoTeC Systems USA – West (www.motec.com), Dainese (www.dainese.com), SolarReserve (www.solarreserve.com), Manzanita Micro (www.manzanitamicro.com), MicroStrain (www.microstrain.com), UQM (www.uqm.com), and Performance Machine (www.performancemachine.com)
About SWIGZ.COM: Designed and built in Orange County, California, SWIGZ® is the world's first dual hydration sports bottle allowing athletes to carry two drinks of their choice in a single bottle during workouts. SWIGZ® sports bottles can be purchased at www.swigz.com.
About Chip Yates: Before turning pro fairly late in life, Chip Yates was a Boeing executive in charge of transitioning advanced aerospace technology and patents to other industries such as automotive for racing and OEM applications. He personally holds 7 U.S. patents on automotive drivetrain and other technologies and is an engineer with a master's degree in business from USC. Chip has raced in the AMA Pro Daytona Sportbike series and the FIM World Supersport series. www.chipyates.com
TTXGP are very surprised and disappointed to learn via twitter that Swigz are choosing not to join TTXGP in 2011.
TTXGP 2011 will consist of two classes: Formula GP (maximum weight: 250kg) and Formula 75 (maximum weight: 200kg + 7.5kWh limit). The race length is 20miles. wiki.egrandprix.com was a key channel for rule deliberation. The rule book is open sourced, Harry Mallin of eMotoRules was involved in pulling together the suggested changes for rules of TTXGP 2011. They were then peer reviewed by the independent technical committee from the IET.
TTXGP is not a one man, one company show. Be Part of it is more than a tagline.
It was apparent over the 2010 season that a single class could not meet the best interests of the teams, fans or sponsors. The field was too wide. In this case TTXGP consulted widely, acted responsibly, in the best interest of the sport, community and majority of teams.
The economics of running a racing series means that classes have to be connected to number of entries. Our concern was to create classes that will have the highest number of entries and give the participants a level playing field. We are by nature committed to removing limits where possible.
TTXGP launched the Electric Motorcycle Motorsports in the world stage in 2009. In that time we, as an industry, have learnt a great deal that could move forward the progress and innovation. A key motivating factor for us and the current teams is to build vehicles that have real world applicability. Driving down mass for higher speed leads to higher efficiency and better design and fits in with the goals of the teams and the series.
To date, the rule changes have had a positive response and the teams are encouraged that we have created some sensible classes that will grow the field. Racing needs to both push and constrain to create real world innovation and a thrilling spectacle, in this case we are satisfied that we have struck the right balance for the greater good.
Using the conflict of interest with respect to Mavizen is a mute point. Mavizen exists purely to provide technical support, spare parts, expertise and on occasion, complete platforms to those that need it. No team is required to use Mavizen, though over the year, it has proved crucial to many.
In addition to the class changes, 2011 will also see solutions for logistics and a focused effort to promote the TTXGP teams across the world.
We wish Swigz well in whatever they decide to do.