Racing revolution: eSkootr's claim to transform motor sport

Electric racing

Sprint knockout races, urban pop-up circuits, a message of sustainability championed by a diverse field – how much does eSkootr indicate the future of racing?

Jordan Rand eSkootr rider

Might eSkootr point to the future of motor sport?


The DJ booth is pounding out trap ditties, multi-coloured lights are swivelling round the cavernous Printworks venue, and you’re trying not to be distracted by the break-dancers in your periphery.

But you have to keep your focus on the five still figures at the top of a neon-lined ramp, because they are motor racing pioneers, taking part in the first ever round of the first-ever championship for a brand new form of the sport.

Last weekend, saw the inaugural round of the eSkootr series, which brings electric scooter riding off streets, pavements and cycle lanes, and into a gaudy racing arena, broadcast internationally and streamed live by the BBC.

It’s a glimpse at what 21st century motor racing looks like when you start with a blank sheet of paper.

“Sitting at windswept Silverstone in an anorak, this is not”

And it is loud. Not the custom-made 65mph, two-wheel drive S1X scooters which whistle by, but the pounding music underneath the flashing lights. Sitting at windswept Silverstone in an anorak, this is not.

Silence consumes the arena for a moment, before the five competitors in racing leathers squeal down the ramp towards for an eight-lap, elbows-out tear on electric scooters round a 600m temporary track set up in and around an old newspaper printing warehouse.

There’s a bit of argy-bargy as the slightly awkward machines make their way round the tight and twisty course, but with only one real passing place, the race is over almost before it’s begun – freestyle scooter rider Matis Neyroud makes the crucial pass mid-race, and eventually comes through the various knockout races (there’s 13 races in total across the day) to win the first ever event.

The whoops from the crowd seems to suggest those in attendance are entertained.

eScootr Round 1 2022 Printworks

Field gets the jump off the starting ramp


The whole event feels like a CBBC game show on a larger scale, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The young and diverse crowd represents this, but with many parents and older couples filling out the attendance too, a city-based race with music acts and plenty of catering has an obvious appeal, with tickets costing £10.

It’s racing for the masses, in many more ways than is immediately obvious.

This year’s six-round inaugural championship will go on to visit Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain and the US before crowning its first champion, but it’s what comes next that could see the series genuinely revolutionise racing.

Related article

On the tiny 11in wheels of the twin-motor S1X scooter carry the hopes of more sustainable motor sport; a genuinely affordable route to professional racing; better protection for all scooter riders; and technology that could make electric scooters part of everyday life without filling A&E wards with mown-down pedestrians.

“This is redefining the future of racing,” says Hrag Sarkissian, a tech entrepreneur who co-founded the series with Formula E champion Lucas Di Grassi, Le Mans-winner Alex Wurz, and former A1GP driver Khalil Beschir.

“Micro mobility is gripping the whole sector and electric scooters are definitely the most fun to ride. This is why we want to race electric scooters because it’s so relatable to this younger generation, and what better way to accelerate development and than racing?”

While Formula 1 succeeds in bringing younger fans in to motor sport, without a multi-millionaire backer youthful enthusiasts can only dream of joining their heroes on track.

The eSkootr series promises a route to the top for any young rider who shows promise, with plans in the pipeline for a junior version of the S1X which, from the age of seven, can be ridden and raced at local kart circuits, as well as in regional and national championships.

Linked to your personal profile on an app, the idea is to start off with arrive and ride sessions on a reduced-power machine. As you gain experience, logged on your profile, additional power is unlocked, and as you progress up the ladder, professional teams can see your data, identifying talent from anywhere in the world.

“We want to build a sustainable sport from the beginning,” says Beschir. “The teams have to pay riders and there will also be prize money at the end of each season.”

eSkootr Round 1 2022 Printworks

Tight and twisty track not exactly conducive to great racing – but it’s work in progress


Each team has bought into a franchise, with owners that include the heavy-weight boxing champion Anthony Joshua, Aston Martin F1 reserve deriver Nico Hülkenberg and Carlin, which competes in multiple single-seater categories.

For this year’s debut season, eSC started from scratch — “There was no such thing as an eSkootr race,” says Sarkissian. The 30 participants were whittled down over months of tests that saw athletes from the likes of motorcycling, skiing, skating and BMXing trying their luck in the new discipline.

Neyroud comes from a freestyle scooter background, but joining him on the podium was British Superstock rider Daniel Brooks and Asian Crossfit champion Anish Shetty, all showing a variety approaches and skills.

Also in the field is Nicci Daly (niece of former F1 driver Derek) and Olympic medallist snowboarder Billy Morgan.

The diversity of approaches was was clear from trackside: former figure skater Jordan Rand explained her style to Motor Sport with a change of feet in each corner, with others more static. The lean angle of Neyroud as he swept to the win was thrilling to watch, whilst some of the back-markers were slightly more sedate.

“We’re going to see the level of the sport increase over time,” says Hrag. “We’re going to see a new [riding] style that’s going to have the best bits of what we see now. We’re going to see improved stamina, endurance and lap times. This is the interesting part of creating a new sport from scratch.”

The competition will undoubtedly close up in time, but the series has more to offer than just racing thrills.

Matis Neyroud eSkootr rider

Freestyle scooter rider Matis Neyroud dominated proceedings


Accident data will be used to develop improved safety: to optimise crash helmets, designed for cycle riders to better protect against the type of falls suffered by scooter riders.

And there’s also light on the horizon for pedestrians braving the — currently illegal — pavement slalom beloved of office workers, teenagers and guerrilla delivery drivers on electric scooters.

The series will actively develop technology that slows scooters down on cramped or congested streets, in the hope that they can be used safely and legally on the roads. “If we have narrow or dangerous sections, we will apply speed limits controlled by GPS or what we call crowd control: if the scooter sees a very busy, very narrow space it automatically slows down without the rider being involved,” said Wurz at the series launch earlier this year.

Related article

“This technology can be perfect for the city, so when we walk and someone comes from behind, we are not surprised at them swooshing past at 40 or 50km/h. [Instead] the scooter starts to make a little bit of noise so we are warned and is actually doing 10 or 15km/h.”

Beschir says that the series is already working with cities and believes that it will be possible for riders and pedestrians to co-exist, helping to reduce car use. “With all the testing and crash testing and the mileage we’re gonna do, we can definitely have enough data to help any city who wants to work with us.

“You are talking not just of scooters on the street, but what lines are riders going to use? Who is riding them? What is a safe age? What speed limits should there be?”

But it’s not simply a love of racing and micro mobility driving the series. The co-founders and their mystery financial backer are hoping that it proves financially lucrative, with teams being charged franchise fees, fans attending events and competing themselves. And if they can encourage cities to make scooter riding legal, then they’ll benefit from selling or licensing the race-developed technology to the large consumer market.

“We have international broadcasters for the world championship but our business model is not only based on that,” says Beschir. “It is more based on the consumer, on the fan, on the grassroots and on the [team] franchises.

eScootr team owner Nico Hülkenberg

Team owner Nico Hülkenberg with series founder Khalil Beschir

Nico Hülkenberg

It’s a business built from the top down, and it will only work if its flagship world championship series succeeds.

For now, it’s much more open than most race events, with spectators able to get close to the action thanks to the lower speeds on track. They also have the chance to wander round the pit area, seeing the scooters up close and personal with a chance to chat to team personnel. F1 Paddock Club this isn’t.

Each sprint is a quick dopamine rush that feels like it’s over almost as soon as it’s begun, a continuing theme. Such is the loud music and booming commentary which dominate the aural atmosphere, you can stand metres away from the action with your back turned and barely realise it’s happening – it’s easy to be distracted by the action on the big screen or a particularly handy football trick artist.

Come the end of the day, the first-ever eSkootr event appears to have been a resounding success overall. It’s difficult to see it denting motor cycle or single-seater racing, but in creating its own niche it certainly adds to the rich and colourful motor sport landscape – and there’s nothing wrong with that.