How the TTXGP Carbon Free Grand Prix Works

Motorcycle Image Gallery Isle of Man resident Chris Heath won the TTXGP Open Class in 2009 riding the #21 Electric Motorsport "Native TTXGP." See more pictures of motorcycles.

Before we can begin to look at how the TTXGP Grand Prix works, we should first figure out what we're even talking about. What are all those letters? And how on earth can any race worth the track time be carbon-free?

Let's start with TTXGP. The race circuit itself is called the Isle of Man TT, where "TT" stands for Time Trial. Almost ever since they were invented, motorcycles have raced on the Isle of Man -- an island located between Great Britain and Ireland. The first race was in 1907, and the races have continued almost uninterrupted for a century. The course used by motorcycle racers today is 37.75 miles (60.8 kilometers) long, and has corners and curves named things like Cronk-y-Voddy and Kate's Cottage. Race bikes have set dozens of records at the Isle of Man TT over the years. The fastest lap (so far) was turned in about 17 minutes, and the fastest speed was clocked at 130 miles per hour (209.2 kilometers per hour).

The "X" in TTXGP stands for extreme. This refers not only to the idea of racing motorcycles on a twisty road course in the first place, but also to the fact that every motorcycle in this series is carbon-free. Since no petroleum-based fuels are allowed, all the bikes so far have been battery-powered electric models, but as green technology advances, other fuels will likely be seen on the track.

Lastly, the GP stands for Grand Prix, just as it does in other race series'. It's French for grand prize, the title and trophy that all the competitors are vying for.

So there you have it, TTXGP: A circuit name, an extreme fuel and fame and glory for the winner. But how and when did it all come together in the first place?