Brian Gale is betting that spectators will flock to watch a new generation of race cars fly around the track absent a hallmark of the 100-year-old sport: roaring engines.
The Centennial resident and veteran producer is starting a series of car races featuring electric SUVs, and he’s calling the startup “E/Racing.”
“We’re talking about what we consider to be the most modern form of racing,” Gale said. “We’re putting it together with the new technology format of electrification.”
Gale, 52, moved to Colorado in 1998 to work for the ski company Fischer Skis and then shifted to the motorsports industry, where he worked as a producer for ESPN for off-road racing events.
“The Denver market is pretty interesting for motorsports these days,” Gale said. “We have one of the best NASCAR teams. … Now it’s become this underground hub for international motorsports.”
Gale said Liberty Global invests heavily in motorsports and is the largest shareholder of Formula E. FIA, the governing organization for motorsports, has a small office in Englewood, he said.
Gale wants to develop an alternative race series that follows the tech and digital trends of the car-manufacturing industry, and right now, that means electric cars.
“It’s making lots of noise, not literally, but in the marketplace,” Gale said. But for races such as the Daytona 500 or the Indianapolis 500, switching to electric is not plausible.
“Fans expect to hear noise,” he said. “They just can’t change their direction. A startup is the best chance.”
Gale is working on a prototype race car he plans to build in the United Kingdom. Sketches on E/Racing’s website show a small SUV that can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds, and has all-wheel drive and rally suspension.
“Not only is it unique that it’s electric, it’s unique that we’ll be racing urban crossover vehicles,” Gale said.
The race format will consist of a mixed pavement and dirt track with cars racing three laps in eight-minute elimination heats before the final. Gale said it will be similar to the Global Rallycross he introduced to the United States in 2011.
“We know that’s proven, that it’s entertaining and the format works,” he said. “Now we’re taking what we consider to be the most modern form of racing, and we’re putting it together with the new tech format of electrification.”
Gale selected New York and downtown Los Angeles for E/Racing’s first tour, and he’s considering Denver, Miami and San Francisco for the other three cities on the first tour.
“We could put a track inside Coors Field and race there,” Gale said, in comparison to other race-car events located in less-urban areas. “Because of the noise of race cars and the pollution, they’re less and less able to race where people are.”
E/Racing, which has five employees, will generate revenue from ticket sales, plus media and corporate sponsorships. Gale said he’s looking for a $2 million seed round of investment.
Once E/Racing has its race-car prototype, it will start promotional tours this fall with demos and press events in New York and Los Angeles. Then, in fall 2019, Gale plans to tell competitors, “Gentlemen, start your engines.”