INTERVIEW: E-XPLORER CEO
Discover more about Geneva based, motorcycle mad Valentin Guyonnet, Chief Executive Officer of the brand new FIM E-Xplorer World Cup….
First of all, tell us about yourself and how you became interested in motorbikes?
I started riding at just four years old as my dad owned an off-road motorcycle riding school. I did 10 years of trial in competition, then I became one of the freestyle trial pioneers with Julien Dupont. Very quickly I became interested by the business of motorsport. I was not satisfied by the level of professionalism of motorcycle events in Europe and I wanted to show to the US in particular we could be better and cooler! So, in 2010 I founded Woodstrokes; the world’s first freestyle trial competition. Since 2013 I’ve worked at the high-test level of motorsport with the FIA and Formula E. It’s what I love about motorsports, it’s so much bigger than just a race. It’s a combination of athlete performance and engineering perfectionism.
What gave you the idea to start E-Xplorer?
Mainly from just observing the industry. Some manufacturers are starting to produce high-performance electric motorcycles, that have since sold out. All electric motorcycles are very different as there is no standardisation (shape, charging system, motors power etc.). EV buyers are different from the petrol-head customers, they are forward-thinker, young and both male and female. Someone needs to create a unique global platform to give a technical road map to OEMs in terms of R&D, a very sophisticated and creative media content for fans, and a marketplace for EV manufacturers and buyers.
Where does the name of the series come from?
It comes from what motorcycling is all about; freedom and exploration!
What interest have you had already from manufacturers, teams and riders?
Lots! I don’t want to give too much away but we’re having conversations with established and start-up manufacturers, MotoGP teams and riders from all sorts of different disciplines. All big names who are looking for something different and meaningful. It feels like athletes and brands don't only want to collect titles they want to create a legacy.
"At E-Xplorer we are forward thinking, tech enthusiasts, game changers and our challenge is to leave a legacy without a footprint whilst also having a lot of fun!"
What are the biggest challenges right now to get the series up and running, especially with the pandemic?
To be honest, covid actually helped me to start E-Xplorer! Many people were available and wanted to be part of something new. We are all looking for positivity, happy times and live events back in our life.
Do you think all motorsport will become electric in 5-10 years?
In a word, yes! Elite motorsports hub, like us, Formula E or E1 need to shape tomorrow's technology. Driving 300km/h or jumping 25m long without a noisy engine does not reduce your level of adrenaline. And I'm sure we will still have historic racing with the likes of NASCAR, US Supercross and Goodwood Revival, But every motorsport event has a purpose and a specific audience. At E-Xplorer we are forward thinking, tech enthusiasts, game changers and our challenge is to leave a legacy without a footprint whilst also having a lot of fun!
Do you think the image and perception of motorbikes has changed in recent years?
I think motorbikes have been largely shaped for the last 30 years by Hollywood. A very masculine, rebel and loud image. We have the opportunity, thanks to innovation, to change that to be more diverse and inclusive. We all care about our freedom, so we should be happy that advances in technology have given us the opportunity to ride anywhere, anytime while respecting our environment.
And final, what’s next for E-Xplorer?
To secure the best line-up of international riders!