It's not supposed to happen like this. There's even a law against it. After spending many months building what is possibly the most complicated piece of machinery ever to rest upon two wheels, something, possibly everything, is supposed to go wrong when you take it out on the asphalt for the first time. For the Swigz Pro Racing team, this was not the case.
During their only bit of track time at Infineon Raceway – 8 laps in total – before they go up against the gassers on January 9th, nothing exploded. Everything worked. Good news indeed for team owner and rider Chip Yates, who might be seen as something of an underdog with his fancy, though as yet, unproven machine. Hopefully that luck will hold when he faces off against the heavyweight V-twins in a six lap sprint at the Auto Club Speedway.
So, how did it feel? According to Chip, "the acceleration is absolutely like nothing I have ever felt before – it is mind boggling." Pretty amazing considering that, according to the team's data, he didn't even open up the throttle all the way. He still had 30 percent more wrist twist available. Of the available 295 pound-feet of torque, he only called upon 199. Have a look (and listen) at what he's bringing to the party in the one-lap video waiting for you after the break along with his account of the day.
[Source: Swigz Pro Racing]
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Today was an EPIC day for our hardworking team (Ben Ingram, Robert Ussery, Jimmy Summers and me)!
Thanks to the incredible vision and generosity of Infineon Raceway in beautiful Sonoma, California, we enjoyed the use of their world class track today all to ourselves!
We successfully tested our electric superbike and had no problems, failures or issues - it simply worked right out of the box!
The day started cold and with a completely wet track, so we worked in the garages on our test plan and at noon, the track was dry enough that I took my World Supersport 600cc gas bike around for a session of sighting laps.
We then took the electric bike out and went very cautiously for a lap and brought it into the pits for inspection and download of our MoTeC data. With things looking good, I went out for 2 complete laps and then came in again for a scheduled data check and to balance our battery pack with the Manzanita charger and BMS.
We then recharged and balanced our battery pack, and I went back out on the World bike during the recharge down time to keep the fans and media who were there entertained and to collect some additional track data.
Finally, I took the electric superbike back out for a continuous session of 6 complete laps in one session. I was still going very cautiously in the corners, but I steadily increased the pace and started opening the throttle on the straights - the acceleration is absolutely like nothing I have ever felt before - it is mind boggling and even on the "dragstrip" straightaway out of the carousel where you would think I have plenty of room to gas it, the data showed I was only opening the throttle to 70% max! The data also showed that I only used something like a max of 270Nm of the available 400Nm torque of the UQM Technologies motor!
In summary - we did it! We developed and successfully tested on track what amounts to a legitimate superbike with insane acceleration capabilities. We can't wait to get back to the race shop and make improvements based on the data and my riding impressions from the 8 laps I got done today during the beautiful weather window we got in the afternoon.
Here is the video from one of my laps in the last session I ran - we are producing more videos of today but this is raw footage that we wanted to release ASAP!
Thank you everyone for your continued support!
Next event is us historically taking on the gasoline superbikes in the WERA Race Weekend at Auto Club Speedway January 9th 2011.