FIA President Jean Todt was among thousands of visitors who were introduced to Airspeeder – an exciting new airborne race series unveiled at Goodwood Festival of Speed.
During a tour of the festival’s Future Lab, Todt was introduced to founder and CEO of Airspeeder Matt Pearson to find out more about the technology in development and the philosophy behind the new motorsport series.
With an aerial display, an immersive Virtual Reality experience and the unveiling of a new technology for a motorsport of the future, Airspeeder is celebrating the global launch of its flying race cars at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Featuring a Mk II prototype Speeder flight, showing what full-size multicopter competition will look and sound like, as well as four days introducing the public to Airspeeder, the motoring extravaganza showed the opportunity for the first flying sports cars when manned flights begin at the end of the year.
A static display of the Airspeeder Mk IV, the world’s first manned octocopter, oversaw the immersive technology of FoS Future Lab – with the VR system giving visitors a glimpse of what the first pilots will experience when the race series takes off in 2020.
During the opening the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed at the Goodwood Aerodrome, The Duke of Richmond introduced Airspeeder to the media.
Speaking after the opening the Duke of Richmond said: “Airspeeder’s aim is to deliver a new global sport to turbocharged the vertical take-off and landing industry and build the most exciting vehicles in the world. This feels like the inception for a whole new technology and it’s great to have Matt Pearson and the Alauda team here with us to show where we’re headed.”
Taking the format of Formula E, the drama of air racing and the spirit of F1, Airspeeder is a race series for the future – using the crucible of contest as a proving ground to develop the technology needed for exciting yet safe competition. To that aim, demonstration flights are scheduled to begin in the Mojave Desert later this year.
Initially, each Airspeeder Grand Prix will feature head-to-head racing between ten pilots competing for five teams, and every race is likely to involve around 30 minutes of flat-out action and include one pit-stop for a battery swap. Held at landmark locations around the world, the races will be broadcast to a global audience in a way that allows them to interact and engage with the sport.
Inspired by some of the iconic competition cars from motor racing, the Mk IV manned octocopters, or Speeders, will hit speeds of up to 200km/h and offer a power-to-weight ratio superior to that of a fighter jet. At four metres long and weighing roughly 250kg they will be propelled by eight 50kw motors driving 60-inch blades, with power provided by swappable 500kw lithium-ion polymer battery packs. Each Speeder will be packed with technology, include collision avoidance systems and augmented reality system to allow pilots to see other racers if they are out-of-sight underneath the level of the fuselage.