How Racing Electric Motorcycles Could Pay Better than Going Pro

Earlier this month, I wrote about the season opener of the TTXGP, the first electric motorcycle racing series. In that article I mentioned one of the things that makes this series so special — the unique ownership structure, The TEO enables teams to own a piece of the TTXGP series. Nobody can buy into the TEO, it’s only open to competitors. Normally, teams spend a lot of money to compete, much of which is paid by sponsors, while the organizing body pays to hold & market the events, then collects all of the income from TV rights, ticket sales, and event sponsorship. If TTXGP grows as popular as MotoGP, or even a national series like the AMA, this has enormous potential.

For example, Dorna, the company which manages MotoGP, showed operating profits reported at €51.1m for 2008. For an established series like MotoGP with sizeable purses for winners, it might not make sense to share ownership amongst the competitors. But for a new series in the startup phase, it’s a great way to reward racers for their loyalty to the cutting edge. This new ownership structure rewards loyalty in a number of ways.

Units of Commitment Build the Sport

Each team is allotted a number of “Units” (like shares in TTXGP) based on how many races they compete in, and whether they are also competing in other series. In addition, teams that begin in 2010, the inaugural year, are awarded “Pioneer Units” at 300% of the final units the team earns that season. Next year that will be reduced to 150%, and for 2012, 75%. Pioneer units will cease to be rewarded after the 2012 season. These examples on their website show how many Units a team might accrue in one season.

“Teams who focus on building TTXGP exclusively are rewarded for being bold and staking their future with us. The extraordinary commitment shown by early teams is rewarded with a substantial uplift that lasts for the duration of the membership.”  –TEO FAQ

Racers Write the Rules

What also makes this series revolutionary is that they have built a Wiki to develop the rules. This Wiki is open for public comment until August, after which time they will sort through the edits and comments to develop a rule book for 2011. No other professional series allows such a deep level of participation in the governance process. The Wiki is moderated by an independent lawyer, known on Twitter as emotorules.

From their website: “TRUST.EGRANDPRIX.ORG (“TEO”) is a co-operative body open to all participants of the TTXGP World Series. It links together Teams, riders and Series owner into a single platform of shared goals and rewards. TEO is a vehicle through which the co-operation will be governed and is connected to TTXGP Limited.”

New Day, New Rules, New Game. Be Part of It.

TTXGP’s credo is: “New Day, New Rules, New Game. Be Part of It” and they aren’t kidding. The TEO has been exhaustively planned out and is still under development, so it’s worth having a look through the exhaustive website, and checking out the Wiki as well. Although the FIM has chosen to run their own series, they are running it the old way. This is clearly not as appealing to racers, as their inaugural race had a field of 4 competitors, while the inaugural 2010 TTXGP had 10 racers.

TTXGP organizer Azhar Hussain is also the organizer of the world’s first electric motorcycle race held last summer at the Isle of Man, reported here, and therefore more experienced than anyone else in this nascent field. Racing, especially electric racing, is such an expensive labor of love that race teams need all the help they can get to make it through the season. In a time when sponsorship budgets are being slashed, ownership in a potentially lucrative new series is a very enticing way to keep your eyes on the prize.

Susanna Schick

Susanna is passionate about anything fast and electric. As long as it's only got two wheels. She covers electric motorcycle racing events, test rides electric motorcycles, and interviews industry leaders. Occasionally she deigns to cover automobile events in Los Angeles for us as well. However, she dreams of a day when Los Angeles' streets resemble the two-wheeled paradise she discovered living in Barcelona and will not rest until she's converted the masses to two-wheeled bliss.