In recent years, IWC has been promoting its pilot’s watches via Formula One racing. While this combination doesn’t always make sense to us, the brand’s latest collaboration ties it all together: Recently, the watch manufacture announced “a new engineering and timekeeping partnership” with Airspeeder, the world’s first electric flying car racing series.
The global racing series, planned to debut this year, was conceived by Matt Pearson, who is also the CEO of Alauda, the world’s first performance electric flying car manufacturer. As part of these races, eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) craft manufactured by Alauda will be managed by individual teams. Each remotely piloted flying car will travel at heights of up to 40m off the ground and at top speeds of up to 200km/h.
The latest iteration of Airspeeder’s pilotless vehicle is the Mk3, which has a retrofuturistic aesthetic combining the style of 1950s classic cars and modern racing drones. According to the company, which developed its first protoype performance eVTOL in 2017, the Mk3 is “the world’s first fully functional electric flying racing car”.
The Mk3 features an octocopter layout, airfoil-profiled rotor arms, carbon-fibre composites and the latest EV battery technology. In addition, it has advanced safety technologies that have not been used in eVTOL craft, such as LiDAR and radar collision avoidance systems that allow for closer but safe racing. These are especially important as Airspeeder is currently working on the Mk4 — a manned version of its flying car.
Rather than a race for the heck of it, Pearson sees this new motorsport as the way to “accelerate the advanced air mobility revolution and transform passenger, logistical and even medical transportation”. As a Bloomberg article noted, the widespread adoption of bicycles and motorcars took place after the establishment of related, large-scale sporting events.
IWC CEO Christoph Grainger-Herr says, “It’s fantastic to play a part in bringing Matt’s bold vision to life. The Airspeeder team are true pioneers of aviation and they are bringing together two things that are close to IWC’s heart. We are proud to collaborate on an endeavour that will make such a progressive impact on society.”