Australian drone pilot and former surfer Zephatali Walsh has made motorsport and aviation history on the salt flats of South Australia by becoming the winner of the world’s first flying car race, also known as Airspeeder.
In a remotely piloted contest between the groundbreaking 4.1 metre eVTOL Alauda Mk3 machines, it was Drone Champions League pilot Walsh who defeated beat fellow-competitor Fabio Tishcler in a dramatic blade-to-blade race above the pink salt flats of Lake Lochiel near Adelaide.
“As pilots, we’ve been developing this sport behind the scenes over hundreds of hours of simulator, engineering and testing work and through this process we have been united as a group of pilots in one common goal – to deliver this historic first race,” commented Walsh after a momentous first victory.
“As soon as the lights turned green, we became racers competing for a place in the history of this sport and flying cars as the coming transportation revolution. I couldn’t be prouder to know that forever more I’ll be the first winner of an electric flying car race and I look forward to retaining my crown as we go racing around the world in the coming months.”
The Airspeeder Series, partnered by Acronis, has only been in development for little over four years, the first flights taking place in June 2021 before a first successful remotely piloted drag race at almost the same time last year.
It all led up to this historic first remotely piloted contest, two of the very best in the business of drone pilot racing recruited to fly the futuristic looking eVTOL Alauda Mk3 over two aerial laps of a 1km digital sky-track.
And it was certainly a spectacle to behold indeed with no quarter asked and none given, Zephatali ultimately sealing the victory courtesy of a daring move that saw him overtake Tischler who had gone wide at Turn 1. Flying barely a metre below his competitor, Zephatali pulled off a dramatic move that led to a historic maiden victory.
“Every transformative moment in human transportation has been accelerated by motorsport. As we stand on the cusp of the 21st century’s great leap forward in delivering on the promise of flying cars, the role competition plays is as important as ever,” commented Matt Pearson, Founder, Airspeeder.
“For this reason, in winning the world’s first flying car race, Zephatali Walsh hasn’t just made motor sport history but writes his own chapter in the genesis of a mobility revolution.
“This is just the start, this first race offers only a glimpse of our promise to deliver the most progressive, transformative and exciting motorsport in the world. We look forward to delivering many more races and breath-taking moments.”
A COLLABORATION OF THE GREATEST TECHNICAL MINDS & INDUSTRIES
Alauda Aeronautics’ Technical Leadership Team is drawn from the greatest minds of the tech, automotive and aeronautical industries including IWC Schaffhausen, Ferrari, McLaren, Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce, Boeing and Airbus. It is the first in the world to be in production with performance electric flying cars.
The Alauda and Airspeeder teams were also able to draw upon expertise from Acronis and Teknov8 in securing and managing vital telemetry and race data with the ultimate goal to create the digital architecture that will drive the 5G enabled infrastructure needed to ensure the safe management of autonomous and piloted eVTOL vehicles in urban environments.
This historic first remotely piloted race will be followed by Grand Prixs with wider grids flown over a multitude of locations and track lay-outs. These EXA races will serve as the feeder series for Airspeeder crewed races set to take place in 2023.
eVTOL Alauda Mk3 TECH SPECS
LENGTH – 4.1 meters
CONSTRUCTION – carbon fiber construction full-scale racing quadcopter.
PERFORMANCE – 320kW, equalling an Audi SQ7 performance SUV. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 2.8 seconds and the Speeder can climb to 500 meters.
WEIGHT – 2,500kg while an Airspeeder racing craft (without pilot) weighs just 130kg. It can lift a weight of more than 80kg, proving the viability of the powertrain for piloted races.
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