British team Carlin has made waves at almost every level of single-seater motorsport. It has nurtured young drivers like Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris, giving them the experience and confidence to succeed at the pinnacle of the sport.
In joining eSC – Carlin is the series’ very first team Read Story – the outfit clearly aims to mirror its four-wheeled operation, not only winning races and championships, but helping youngsters onto the bottom rung of the sporting ladder, and guiding them all the way to the top.
We caught up with Trevor during chilly winter trials of the latest eSkootr prototype, and he spoke of the scale of Carlin’s eSC ambition, and why he thinks today’s four-year-olds are the real stars of the future…
TREVOR CARLIN, Carlin Team Principal_ The first contact originally came about 18 months ago from [eSkootr™ COO] Khalil, who was one of our A1GP drivers back in the day. He phoned me and told me about this project he was working on. From that first moment, I thought the whole concept sounded so exciting. He’s been working very hard with his partners and investors and he’s managed to pull it off – and we always said that if he got it up and running, we’d love to join. And here we are.
TREVOR_ The thing I like about eScooter racing is that it’s very accessible. Clearly, eSC is going to be the Formula 1 of eScooter racing – but the target is to have Formula 4, Formula 3 and Formula 2 series too – and on slower, more affordable scooters so youngsters can start learning properly, and more people will do it for fun.
And if we scale things up sensibly – with proper safety, good circuits, crash helmets and all the right provisions – we’ll take a terrific step forward. So while some people, like Kota, will become professionals who race eScooters for a living, lots of people will simply become better eScooter riders and be more skilled on the roads.
TREVOR_ This is a brand new sport, and it’ll appeal to men and women who are fairly fearless – these machines whiz along in a very tight environment, so we’ll need people who are good with balance; who can feel the machine as it slides around beneath them. I’m thinking of motorbike riders – either from a road or motocross background; speedway riders; and maybe even snowboarders – people who have to move around to control their vehicle.
And then of course we’re going to get the kids who are only three or four years old now, but already riding kick scooters. They’ll be the next superstars, because they’re already doing it now, and they’ll be our world champions when they’re 16 years old.
This is a reverse of what we’ve normally done at Carlin – where we’ve starting at Formula 4 with our young drivers and graduated up through Formula 3 and Formula 2, to help them to Formula 1. This time, we’re starting off at the Formula 1 level of scooter racing, but it’s actually my priority to work on the base levels – the F4, F3 and F2 of eSC – and to expand those lower levels.
It’ll appeal to men and women who are fairly fearless
TREVOR_ I think it’s going to be incredible. From what I’ve seen on the test track – with just one scooter going round – if you had six riders racing at the same time it would be amazing.
I think the races are going to be short and sharp: lots of action, thrills and spills. I think it’s going to be really, really fast. Really exciting. Just watching one scooter on its own makes me excited – I can’t imagine what it’ going to be like when there’s six or eight going round together.
TREVOR_ To be honest, I’m always nervous about starting any new championship. Even when we started in F4 or F3, it’s all new and worrying. But it’s amazing how quickly you get used to something and start to become an expert in it.
I’m keen to get started – I’m loving it already, I’ve only been at the circuit for a few hours. I’m getting a good feel for it.
And the technology and the work ethic that’s going into this eSkootr is exactly the same as in my Formula 4 cars, my Formula 3 cars, and my Formula 2 cars. So the process is identical – so it’s not as scary as you’d imagine.
And what I do like about eSC is that, when we go racing, we’re going to be in city centres – so there’ll be big crowds and a good atmosphere. It’ll be fun. Obviously, it’s a sport – but also great entertainment for the fans.
TREVOR_For Carlin, our target is to raise the sponsorship with good commercial backers and investors in the programme so we can then pick the best riders to race for the team, and the best junior rider to train up for the top team.
For the riders, they don’t have to bring the money – and that’s incredibly important. The big thing about car racing is that it’s fiercely expensive and the obstacles to entry are so big. With eSC, hopefully we can get more people doing it for far less money, which will make it a lot fairer.