The E1 Series, brainchild of Formula E and Extreme E founder Alejandro Agag and touted as the world’s first electric powerboat championship, has revealed the design of RaceBird, the spec racer its teams will use.
The powertrain is yet to be confirmed but the craft will measure 7m in length and 3m in width and, at speed, will ride on 400mm-high hydrofoils. Thanks to an all-composite hull, which will be constructed using a combination of carbon and natural-fiber materials, the RaceBirds will weigh in at 800kg each. The vessels will be built in Pisa, Italy, by Victory Marine and have been co-designed by Sophi Horne, the founder of SeaBird Technologies, a startup dedicated to sustainable marine craft based on foiling technology.
According to Horne, the RaceBird is a blank-canvas design. “We didn’t really have a reference and started from a blank paper, thinking about efficiency and safety regulations from the UIM [Union Internationale Motonautique – the governing body of powerboat racing]. We also thought about the race format, how we would take electric boats to the maximum of design and technology, and [to that end] there is a purpose behind the whole design. As the name suggests, there is inspiration from seabirds, and that is where the glide mode comes from, [with the boat] gliding above the water to maximize efficiency,” she explained.
Brunello Acampora, founder of Victory Marine, echoed Horne’s opinion: “After 30 years of designing powerboats, this is a very innovative vessel but it is sustainable innovation. We think that the choice of a foiling craft for powerboat racing, which is highly unusual, will make for something that is very interesting in terms of racing, but also very efficient and very safe.”
When the series commences racing in 2023, it will follow a similar format to Agag’s Extreme E, visiting remote locations around the world utilizing the same floating HQ – the RMS St Helena – as the land-based championship. However, 50% of the 10-race season will consist of rounds in cities with waterfront access.
Up to 12 teams will take part, with competition taking the form of head-to-head time trials in a knockout format. The organizers hope to attract talent not only from powerboating but also from other disciplines such as land-based motorsport and yachting.