It's been nearly three months since we first learned about Roborace, the driverless racing series being started up by Formula E and the FIA. During a talk at Oxford University today, though, Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag did let one detail slip: Daniel Simon, the same man that gave us the light cycles in Tron: Legacy, is helping design the cars of Roborace.
That appears to be all that Agag said about the new supporting series during the talk (though it seems the series has also been promoting Simon's involvement as a way to lure new hires). But it's enough to make your mind run wild. Imagining what a driverless racing car will look like was already a fun exercise, but adding someone like Simon — who has also worked for Bugatti, designed F1 liveries, and helped create the Bubbleship in Oblivion — takes that excitement to another level.
On Roborace: The designer from the movie Tron has designed the cars. They look amazing'.#FEOxford— FIA Formula E (@FIAformulaE) February 18, 2016
Still, Roborace won't just be full of Tron-like versions of the Formula E car. The cars are likely to look unlike anything we've seen in terms of a race car. Mark Preston, the team boss of the Aguri Formula E team, recently elaborated on this idea in an Autosport Magazine column (subscription required). Preston points out that race cars are designed around the needs of a driver, so removing him or her altogether means you can mess with the way the car is put together in a number of ways. Roborace cars won't need to be as tall and, without a cockpit, engineers are free to move the heaviest parts — like the batteries and the motors — to wherever is best for the tires and overall center of gravity.
Whatever the Roborace cars look like, we'll find out soon enough — Agag has hinted that the design could be revealed as soon as next month, with more information on the series to follow. The first race is scheduled to take place sometime during the 2016-2017 Formula E season, which starts this fall.