On January 9, 2011, history will be made as an electric superbike races directly against gasoline-powered motorcycles for the first time in modern road racing. Chip Yates will be campaigning his 232bhp SWIGZ.com Pro Racing superbike in the WERA Heavyweight Twins class at California’s Auto Club speedway, competing head-to-head with with bikes like the Ducati 1198 and KTM RC8.
Chip is making this move, in part, because both of the major electric racing series (TTXGP and FIM e-Power) recently changed their rules to include a 250kg maximum weight limit that now excludes his 265kg racer. The Heavyweight Twins class has been chosen as the power to weight ratio of the electric bike puts it squarely in the middle of large-capacity v-twins.
“We expect to work hard to show the world that electric technology can achieve laptime parity with gasoline superbikes,” states Chip. “We’re not going on track to make up the numbers; we’re going out to compete in order to raise our game and catch up to these gasoline guys.”
The GSX-R750-based electric bike currently makes 194bhp and 295lb/ft of torque, but will benefit from a 20 percent increase in power after this first race weekend in early January. The team expects to announce more race dates then.
“Our scheduled power increase will make our electric superbike more powerful than a MotoGP bike and will bring us extremely close to power to weight parity with the best 1,000cc Japanese superbikes,” says Chip. “Those two facts are a simply outstanding reflection of the potential in electric power.”
Chip will be rolling the bike out at Infineon on December 15 for all-day testing. The public is welcome to attend.
You can read more about the team’s innovative front wheel Kinetic Energy Recovery system here.