80 Day Race is planning an extraordinary competition in which participants circumnavigate the globe, covering 40,000 kilometres in 8 legs sustainably. Co-founder and General Director Frank Manders has revealed in a Q&A on their website that the host city for the start and finish has been secured.
The Dutchman also mentioned that conversations with new teams, media firms and potential partners are in advanced stage. Official announcements are expected in the next few months.
Competitor Storm Eindhoven has revealed its electric motorcycle design recently. What has impressed you the most?
Frank Manders: “First of all it’s a stunning bike! Luckily it’s not all looks, it delivers on engineering ingenuity as well. From the innovative Smesh gearbox, to the very smart battery cartridges the design is very clever. But what really blew everyone’s mind was the projected range of over 350 kilometres! So far that has not been achieved by any motorbike manufacturer, so hats off to this team of bright young engineers.”
What are your 80 Day Race highlights from the past few months?
“We are continuously working on securing partners for 80 Day Race. Our efforts have resulted in securing the host city for the start and finish of 80 Day Race. Many talks with cities around the world are under way, so we are confident that we can start plotting the 80 Day Race route soon.
“Next to that we’ve managed to inspire a few additional teams that are now working on projects to participate in 80 Day Race. We hope these developments will soon allow us to present these teams to the public as I’m quite excited about the pedigree these teams bring!
“Our efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by media companies and we are very excited that we have discussions with several broadcasters about the global television coverage of the race.”
What are the most frequently asked questions you have received?
FM: “The first thing a lot of people ask is if they have to race with one vehicle for the whole race. ‘Traditional’ racing always prescribes one vehicle for an entire race. In the case of 80 Day Race, we want to accelerate innovation. We believe that there is no ‘one solution fits all’ in the development of sustainable mobility. So in 80 Day Race a team is allowed, not required, to run a different vehicle in each leg. This doesn’t make the racing easy though, as on average a leg is 5,000 kilometres, so equivalent to three times the Mille Miglia!
“Another question we get is how to utilize other modes of transportation, like air or sea vehicles. Although technically it is possible to use sustainable vehicles without combustion engines they currently face cost constraints. Think about the very exciting Solar Impulse 2, or a fast sail boat as seen in the America’s Cup or Volvo Ocean Race. They all come at a considerable price. So in the first edition of 80 Day Race, we will only race land based vehicles. In the second and third edition of the race we will open the race for these other modalities as well, thus accelerating the developments in these areas as well.”
What has been emphasised in the rulebook and how soon can we expect it to be published?
FM: “We developed the concept of 80 Day Race with a clear vision of bringing back adventure, stimulating innovation and embracing the possibilities of new technologies. That also means we have a rulebook that allows for a lot of different approach to the challenges of the race. Of course that sometimes means you have to focus on the goals and the spirit of the race, which might lead to a few changes of the rules. Currently we are looking at the final version of the rulebook with a team of external experts, when this final review is done the rulebook is finished and can be presented.”
What can we expect in the next three months?
FM: “Over the next months we will be able to introduce a new ambassador as well as host the press conference revealing the start and finish city. I’m very excited about the new ambassador as he shares so many values with 80 Day Race. He is a very strong competitor in rally raid racing, likes the adventure we offer and believes he needs to personally invest his time and effort in creating a more sustainable future.”