Airspeeder EXA: first pilots named for 'flying racing car' series

18 Jan 2022
Airspeeder EXA

The new Airspeeder EXA Series that is due to launch this year features an entirely new breed of racing machine: remote-controlled Electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) craft. They’re basically a mash-up of flying Formula 1 cars and racing drones. 

The unusual 125mph and 320kW machines have raised plenty of questions (we’ve tried to answer some of them here), but one big one has remained unknown until now: who will race them?

Well, we now know the first three competitors to sign up for the series, and they’re as diverse a bunch as you’d expect: there’s a touring car driver, a drone racer and a video drone expert.

Airspeeder - eight things you need to know about the series for flying cars (that aren't cars)

The racing driver is Australian Emily Duggan, a 29-year-old who has competed in the Super3 touring car series that sits below Australia’s top Supercars championship. She’s also won titles in a one-make Australian series and competed at the fearsome Bathurst circuit.

The drone racer is Zephatali Walsh, an Australian Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) racer who competed under the name Zephatalien for Raiden Racing in the Drone Champions League. With Walsh in its line-up, Raiden Racing topped the world championship standings last year.

First Person View (FPV) drone pilot Fabio Tischler has also signed up to the series. While he lacks competition experience compared to the other two drivers named, the German has established himself as one of the world’s leading pilots of drones for filming, working for the likes of Red Bull, Toyota and GoPro.

Airspeeder founder Matt Pearson said the three drivers were selected from “thousands of applicants” that were received. He added: “his is the start of a new generation of motorsport led by some of the most talented and dynamic competitors from a wide range of motorsport and advanced air mobility backgrounds.”
Series bosses said that the selection process involved more than just considering competitive instinct and driver skill, but involved evaluating the ability of competitors to adapt to the unusual technical requirements of the series and help refine the racing.

The Airspeeder machines that will feature in the EXA Series are being built in Australia, where they have been undergoing extensive testing. The new pilots will now undergo a training and development process that will include logging more than 2000 collective hours in an Alauda Aeronautics 6-DoF VR simulator to adjust to the nuances of the eVTOL craft that will feature in the series. Airspeeder say they will combine the thrust-to-weight ratio of an F16 fighter with the cornering ability of an F1 car.



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