In a groundbreaking moment signifying a new era in both motorsport and aerial mobility, Zephatali Walsh claimed victory on December 9, 2023, securing the title of Airspeeder’s EXA Series 2023 Champion. This historic achievement unfolded in the world’s first flying car race, where Walsh outpaced formidable opponents Lexie Janson and Bruno Senna in Airspeeder’s inaugural three-speeder showdown. The challenging wet and windy conditions at Stonefield Airfield, South Australia, added an extra layer of complexity, testing both pilot mettle and the capabilities of the Alauda Aeronautics Mk3s.
Zephatali Walsh’s triumph not only highlighted his racing prowess but also showcased the adaptability and resilience of the Alauda Aeronautics Mk3s in adverse weather conditions. The race, witnessed by over 100 spectators, unfolded with precision and excitement, capturing the attention of those present and making history in aviation.
The success of the groundbreaking event was made possible by the support of esteemed sponsors, including the South Australian government, Intel, Acronis, IWC, Saltwater Games, and Telstra Purple. Their commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation contributed to the spectacle, marking a pivotal moment in motorsport innovation.
The EXA Series, a remotely piloted race serving as the development and feeder series for the Airspeeder fully crewed Grand Prixs starting in 2024, showcased the potential of electric flying car racing. The race featured cutting-edge technology, setting a new standard for immersive experiences with innovative onboard cameras streaming 4k live footage from all speeders via RF.
The races, strategically unfolded over two sessions with rapid battery-swap pit stops, added a layer of excitement and showcased the technical complexities of flying car racing. Qualifying for pole position was a high-stakes battle, with Bruno Senna securing a pole starting position after claiming the fastest qualification time.
In Races 1 and 2, Zephatali Walsh’s consistently impressive performance, including the fastest lap in Race 2, highlighted his exceptional skills and adaptability in varying race conditions. Despite facing challenges, Bruno Senna and Lexie Janson’s struggles underscored the unpredictable nature of flying car racing. The twists and turns in the competition emphasised the technical component and strategic decision-making that contribute to the exhilarating nature of Airspeeder EXA races.
Beyond making motorsport history, Alauda Aeronautics, the technical team, and manufacturer of the pioneering Speeders that compete in EXA and Airspeeder races, has created an engineering and digital ecosystem for electric flying car (eVTOL) racing. The technical package proven in these inaugural EXA races will underpin future crewed Airspeeder races and serve as a place for the eVTOL industry to develop vehicles with real-world passenger and logistics applications.
This collaborative approach to the development of both sport and wider ecosystem will underpin the eVTOL mobility revolution, extending to every one of Airspeeder and Alauda’s commercial and technical partners. The staging of the race was supported by the Government of South Australia, which has nurtured an ecosystem of the world’s leading space and advanced aerospace companies.
As the Official Intelligence Partner, Intel played a pivotal role in processing the immense volume of data throughout the competition. These EXA races serve as the feeder series for Airspeeder crewed races set to take place in 2024, marking the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the world of motorsport.