Jeff Zaltman, chief executive officer of Air Race E, discusses the new electric airplane race series
Electric plane racing has been launched in the form of Air Race E – how long has the event been in the planning and what format will it take?
Air Race E has been in informal planning for some years, and more formally for about a year and a half. It will follow a format akin to the sport known as Formula One Air Racing, which has a rich history: eight airplanes racing directly against each other on an oval circuit trying to be the first one across the finish line!
What opportunities are there for events professionals to get involved with Air Race E?
We are an early stage sports property with our first event planned at the end of 2020 and the official series starting in 2021 – so there is plenty of opportunity for partners and suppliers and event professionals to join in and support. Much of this will depend on where our races take place, which will be determined very soon. We welcome all queries!
What’s different about Air Race E and how will the event stand out?
Air Race E is the first and only electric airplane race. It is an exciting motorsport, which the fans can watch in its entirety, both live and on TV. Our electric planes will be racing at speeds of up to 450kph at just 10 metres above the ground – it’s lots of fun and there are many interesting pilots and crews involved!
What’s the biggest event lesson you have learned so far and how will it stand you in good stead for the new event series?
I’ve learned a lot of big lessons (and some of them I keep having to re-learn again!). Perhaps the biggest one is to always anticipate things taking longer and being harder than you expect – even after you expect that! You have to be conservative in your estimates, but bold and assertive in your ambitions.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would that be?
It would be a mix of trust yourself but accept the advice of others. This is a hard balance to strike and certainly “others” have a wide array of opinions and they are not always right either. But try to find the commonality within the feedback you receive – and always ask for feedback. Plan for the long haul, don’t bite off more than you can chew, but allow your enthusiasm to flow and drive you – that is the best sales tool you have.
Plans for the future?
I have many plans for the future and other spin-offs and objectives to realise. However, one step at a time! We are on to something big here with Air Race E and the industry needs this now. So we need to get this right and do it well, while serving our partners and our fans. The future is electric, so my plan for the future is to make this happen!