Racing boats have taken a step forward with the RaceBird. It is a type of boat that uses innovative hydrofoil technology, which allows it to rise above the surface of the water with minimal resistance and maximum energy efficiency.
E1’s innovative electric foiling raceboat has now hit the water for the first time this week on the River Po close to San Nazzaro in northern Italy. The RaceBird prototype successfully completed a series of tests and performance runs with ex-powerboat champion Luca Ferrari behind the wheel. The RaceBird engineers conducted a number of technical tests and systems checks to assess the overall performance and reliability of the boat and the various electrical components.
Testing will continue for several weeks and consist of straight-line tests, qualifying runs, and race simulations, with the focus on setup and performance analysis and gathering data on the foiling and handling characteristics in different racing conditions.
The RaceBird vessel is the brainchild of Norwegian designer Sophi Horne and was co-created together with Brunello Acampora and expert engineers from Victory Marine and SeaBird Technologies. In September last year, the public got its first glimpse of the full-size RaceBird, which can reach speeds near 50 knots (93 km/h). The 100% electric RaceBird is powered by a 150 kW Kreisel battery and an outboard motor produced by Mercury Racing. The electric raceboat has enough instant torque and acceleration to quickly lift onto its foils and glide above the water at higher speeds.
“Putting the RaceBird on the water for the first time is a pivotal moment for the E1 world championship,” said Alejandro Agag, Co-Founder & Chairman of E1. “We’re now one step closer to making electric racing on the water a reality. I remember very well the same scenarios we encountered during the early stages at both Formula E and Extreme E, and just like on those occasions, this is a major breakthrough in E1’s journey. Seeing the RaceBird fly proves to me that we can use this exciting, new sporting platform to drive technological innovation in the marine industry and create something spectacular for fans in the cities we visit.”
The E1 engineers also used the water testing as an opportunity to evaluate different elements of the racing format, including trialing autonomous buoys and cornering profiles, as well as testing the positioning of onboard cameras to be used in future broadcasts of the E1 World Electric Powerboat Series.
The debut season of the E1 world championship is scheduled to begin in Spring 2023. However, the team says the fans won’t have to wait long to see the RaceBird flying on the water, with the first public display set to be announced soon.