So while I was musing about a hopefully up coming interview about Daytona and energy usage, I started thinking. Now Mike Edwards would warn you that this is a very dangerous thing, and frankly he’s right. But I’ve never let him being right stop me. Any way, it has been a long time since I have mused about rule changes. If you listened to my Christmas Special you would have heard Azhar Hussain, the CEO of the TTXGP talk very little about some important changes that are hopefully to come, and maybe the start of the next chapter of the TTXGP race series. But as everyone is well aware of by now, it’s always an honest effort by anyone involved with the series, but often times things just don’t come to fruition. Although, I do feel optimistic about the news we should hear later this month.
But to the rules. And lets see if you agree. Right now the races are about 20 miles long, there is a TTX75 award for teams limiting their pack to 7.5kWh, and the eSuperStock award. Brammo ran 5 laps flat out at Daytona with 2 more laps in reserve, a situation I didn’t see coming at all. I really thought the fuel would have to be managed probably with a 5 lap race, but definitely a 6 lap race. But that turned out not to be the case at all. The race would have had to have been 8 laps long before making the engineers nervous about the “fuel load.” Funny enough the racers would have had no such worries. I love racers. So why not make the races longer? The FIM did last year. About one lap longer. But how much longer? Well, for this I turned to the TTX75 class. They were clearly faster than the eSuperStocks in 2012, but I have a feeling 2013 is going to be a very different story. But if you lengthen the race you have to raise the battery pack capacity limits. If you break down the current TTX75 class to Wh/mile, you get 375Wh/mile. My first thought was to set the max race distance to 25 miles. That’s a nice round number. That gives you a pack size of 9.375kWh. Well, that’s kind of an odd number, and puts the Empulse right in the money as far as pack size. I kind of want to assure the TTX75 bikes are faster. So lets work in the opposite direction. How about a 10kWh limit, like was suggested by Brammo some time ago. Divide 10,000 by 375 and you get, 26 2/3. So lets round that to a max of 27 miles. If you listen carefully you might hear the quiet whispers of engineers cursing me under their breath. Now understand, it is a max of 27, so the likelihood of a race actually being 27 miles long is slim to none, but if you like the way the battles between Czysz and Barney worked out the first two years at Laguna Seca, then you should be for this. With this math Daytona would have been only 7 laps, but Laguna goes from 9 to 12 laps. A five mile increase sounds good, but a 7 mile increase has that extra, “Hey that’s an actual jump” sound to it and will actually challenge the teams. Unless they squeeze more energy into their bikes for 2013 bikes, in which case it should be a sweet spot. The TTX75 bike would get a bit more expensive, but the power requirements, or limits set by the pack size would stay the same. So the same controllers and motors which have stayed relatively cheap, would work. You’d just be allowed an extra 2.5kWh nominal.
Now, there are some issues with this. If I can gleam anything from Shelina’s interview about her test day at Thunderhill, I believe this would put the 2013 Zero S 11.4 and the Empulse TTX in slight conservation mode, and not allow them to run flat out. While it would add a cool twist the eSuperStock class, and may reveal even more insight into the transmission vs no transmission argument, I am pretty sure Shelina would hit me with something heavy, hard, and most likely metallic. If I am correct and Lightning has about the same sized pack in their bikes as Brammo has now, they could have used their more powerful motors (about 90hp if I am guessing right) to motor away on the bankings of Daytona this year, and probably had themselves a World Championship, where all they had was 5 laps. Unless, of course, their aero package is really bad. So if we lengthen the races bikes like the Lightning have to resist the temptation to to go full throttle and manage their power. This evens the playing field by restricting the more powerful bikes. But, I have a strong feeling this would not be seen as an attempt push the bikes and improve the show by leveling the field which happens to benefit a team that has supported the series and showed up to every round for 2 years straight. But rather as a monopolization of/sucking up to the team that has won 2 continental and one world championship by the TTXGP, and a justification for not showing up.
So really, maybe 25 miles works out better. Laguna becomes one lap shorter, Daytona stays the same length, and the eSuperSport bikes might be able to run flat out at some tracks, while having a bit of a fuel mileage war on the others. Or maybe we should just keep the races the length they are now. I am sure Lightning would prefer to keep the competitive edge they have worked so hard for, Brammo would prefer to beat everyone at their game rather than have the rules come to them, Amarok would like to get one season of racing and data in before the rules change, and all the riders just want to rip it to the stops. Frankly I’d still prefer to see a 27 mile race limit. This isn’t gas racing, it’s elmoto racing. The tech moves at a stupid rate and it should be different; and evolve quickly too. But so what if the racers have to engage their brains while racing? The rest of the world and MotoGP have to tackle the very same thing, why shouldn’t electric motorcycle racing?
I know, I’m a heretic. We’ll just have to wait and see what the TTXGP has to say later on this month.