Lightning Motorcycles has signed two-time Isle of Man TT race winner Cameron Donald to race in the 2013 TT Zero and the FIM’s e-Power championship.
The Australian native, who won races in both the Superbike and Superstock classes at the 2008 Isle of Man TT, will ride the latest version of Lightning’s electric motorcycle, a bike our own Troy Siahaan calls the fastest motorcycle he’s ever ridden.
Donald becomes the latest established road racer to sign up to race electric motorcycles. Last September, Miguel Duhamel rode the Lightning to victory at the Le Mans stop of the e-Power series. Earlier in 2012, overall Isle of Man TT lap record holder John McGuinness rode the Mugen Shinden in the TT Zero, and on this side of the Atlantic, Eric Bostrom rode for Brammo in the TTXGP’s North American Championship.
“This is unbelievable, it’s like Eric Clapton coming to play your birthday party.” says Richard Hatfield, chief executive officer and founder of Lightning Motorcycles. “This really changes things for the electric racing world.”
The acceptance from established racers who have built impressive resumes on gasoline-powered racebikes adds some much needed credibility, turning the heads of some who might otherwise dismiss electric motorcycles as a sideshow. The electric motorcycle industry is looking to move beyond the early adopters and become part of the mainstream, and attracting the attention of established racing names is an important step.
Art Haynie, director of marketing for Lightning, says the team’s performance at Le Mans made a strong impression on the gasoline-powered motorcycle racers who were there for the Le Mans 24-Hour World Endurance Championship round.
“Our bikes sound like an F-18 fighter jet when they go by, and when we ran our first practice laps at Le Mans, the gas bike teams heard that sound, and they flooded out of the pits to run and see what it was,” says Haynie “It was really nuts, after that, all the teams started filling up our pit asking lots questions, and asking to ride it.”
The 2013 TT Zero will be held June 5 on the Isle of Man’s Mountain Course. The 2013 FIM e-Power schedule has yet to be announced.
[Source: Lightning Motorcycles]