“The love for motorsport is still there but we see that there must be a change.” That’s what Thomas Voigt Co-founder and CEO of World RCCO E-Sport AG told us when we chatted about the World eX Championship and diversity.
As we have seen from the announcement last month, Romain Grosjean’s Esports team will join the World eX grid next year. Already, big names have been drawn to this exciting concept. We wanted to help you learn more about what the championship is, and what it aims to do.
The RCCO World eX championship is the sim racing series for electric prototypes. It has big goals for what it wants to achieve, with their slightly different approach. “Motorsport can show the people that electric cars can be good, that they can be fun and that they can be the right technology,” Thomas says.
World eX aims to combine “sim racing, gaming and esports with real motorsport, and to promote this new way of mobility or electric cars or whatever’s coming [next] in the future”. Racing Concept Cars Organisation (RCCO) has been around for thirty years as a slot car racing series. “Four years ago we started to ask manufacturers to design electric cars for us.” Thomas says.
“That day the idea already started to transform this into the digital world,” Thomas adds. “When you do slot car racing it is a very local thing which is expensive to spread around the world. But with the digital world, you have many more possibilities.
“It would be easy to make a limitless car, with unlimited horsepower but what we wanted was to make a car which could be possible in reality.
“So that’s very important to us that it’s not a complete fantasy car. We could build this car [in real life] the way it races in the virtual world.”
An Entertainment Show
“What we want to do is an entertainment show,” Thomas explains. “We also want to educate people. Bring more behind the scenes information on this technology change and also of future technology”.
We have seen a number of changes but there is still so much work to do. Thomas recalls Formula E’s beginnings, “They had a hard time getting it running, getting acceptance and a lot of people were laughing about it at the beginning. And it’s still not that easy.”
“I believe very much that we will have the same trouble, with people who don’t like electric [cars]. We are doing it with a purpose because we want to change their minds,” Thomas notes.
But times are changing.
“From month to month it’s getting easier,” Thomas says. “More electric cars are being sold in various countries, so there is more acceptance.”
When asked about the championship’s approach to diversity, Thomas answered “we welcome complete diversity and we are also talking to the FIA at the moment about their Purpose Driven pledge. What we’ll try to do is grow it naturally”.
For World eX it’s all about selecting the right teams and drivers for their concept. They will have 10 permanent teams and twenty permanent drivers “because we want to make them popular, like ambassadors for sustainability and electric racing,” Thomas adds. “So therefore we need good characters.”
“We’ve talked to a lot of teams and drivers around the world,” Thomas says. “Because what we want is the best possible group of people we can get together. Already with the second team we’ve selected, there is already a woman on board.”
One of World eX’s latest announcements saw Beitske Visser being announced as entering the 2021 season with German eSports team BS+ Competition.
World eX has also approached drivers with disabilities, “more women are welcome and people from different backgrounds, we are completely open and we hope we get a lot of teams with this diversity”.
Because it’s so entertainment driven “they also have to be good characters in the end,” Thomas says. “All of this must fit together, it's quite a big puzzle we are working on. But we are making good steps.”
A further complication is that “the drivers we have must also understand sustainability - that’s not so easy as well because a lot of them are still petrol heads and not 100% convinced,” Thomas states. “So this takes time and it will be a bit of time before we have the grid together.
“Of course, the classic racing driver who has been doing petrol car racing forever, it is a big step to change. But we see with all the guys doing Formula E, there were also a lot who were skeptical.
“But all of them have fun racing in Formula E. Yes, it's slower but the racing is good.”
Thomas summaries, “So that’s our basic concept. To have entertainment, good people, sim racing and information about future technologies and sustainability - that gets through in a different way to people.” This is such a fresh concept and an interesting way to reach people who so far have not engaged with electric racing and the gravity of the Climate Crisis.
We also chatted about how diversity will progress in the future. It will grow “not only in motorsport but in every form of living, or every industry or company”.
“But in the end, of course, it's not enough to [just] put women or people from different backgrounds [in race seats] as they have to qualify as well,” Thomas answers. “I think it’s quite a long term process so it’s good that it is really accelerating.”
The Future of Motorsport
“Things like F1, will they survive with the manufacturers not being electric or green?” Thomas asks. “Maybe it's enough for them to go the alternative fuel way, but I don't think so.
“In the end, let’s say running 20 F1 cars for one and a half hours is not such a big problem for the environment.” Thomas says. “But if billions of people are driving petrol engines then that’s a problem.” World eX hopes to encourage people to consider the benefits of electric vehicles, and convince them to make the switch.
“But I think it [motorsport] will change a lot who is doing it; who is supporting it; and who is watching it,” Thomas adds. “The purpose will maybe be different. I guess we will have less category racing in the future which in a way will also be good because in the past years we also had too many racing series’ which completely divides interest.”
Whatever happens, it is clear that the future of motorsport will certainly be different to how it exists today. We can’t wait to see how it will develop. But, for now, we’ll look forward to watching World eX in 2021!