We are not Honda! We are Mugen!
Asphalt & Rubber’s Jensen Beeler showed me the way to the Mugen pit, but it wasn’t hard to find as it was conveniently located as close as could be to the hot pit. The only pit closer was McGuinness’s main ride, Honda. Winning 18 races at the TT has its privileges. (correction, 19 as of Monday’s Superstock race) There’s a very good chance the TT Zero could be McGuinness’s 20th race win. 6 more wins and he’ll be level with the winningest rider Joey Dunlop.
Once at the Mugen Shinden pit we spoke with Mugen’s European manager Colin Whittamore, who explains in the video the true relationship between Mugen and Honda, which so many people confuse because of Mugen being founded by the Honda founder’s son Hirotoshi. He also told us a little about the bike- It’s a 90kW AC motor, with 15-20 kwh of battery power. The bike is almost completely carbon fiber to offset the weight of all those batteries. What McGuinness showed us in practice yesterday is that the Shinden has plenty of power to get the job done.
After the video, Whittamore told us why Mugen is racing electric motorcycles. Whittamore explained that Mugen has always been about building motors, so it made sense for them to begin developing electric motors. He told us Mugen wants to be in this (TT Zero) for the long haul, that he envisioned a much deeper TT Zero grid five years from now.
Whittamore also explained that the second bike they had was simply a built-up set of spares, which they had no intention of racing or even using for today’s 45 minute practice session. Tune into TT News at 10:45AM UK time to listen to the race commentary. Like all TT races, the video footage will be made available later. Please contact itv4 to request they stream the TT races worldwide, as BBC Sport does with the races they show.