The eyes of angry birds, the roar of predators ready to pounce and devour, attractive drivers moving freely in the land of energetic opulence, in cybernetic unity with their powerful machines: modern fossil mobility has created and reinforced a whole set of values and ideals. The epitome of this undoubtedly is motorsports with its cars and pilots.
Zero GP is a series of four design fictions exploring what racing could be like in a zero-emission culture. If today's motorsports competitions remain products of an era of growth propelled by combustion engines, what new forms of racing would best reflect or romanticize post-oil models?
Weaving through sandy dunes, semi-living machines are steered toward whatever organic matter could sustain their microbial engine. This is a race for survival, won by making the most out of scarce resources and, more importantly, just making it out of the desert. In this future, mobility goes hand in hand with energy availability. Humans can move as long as they can feed the machine. Unlike transport animals, they are built much more robustly and devour almost any organic material. They provide mobility for a society that is not about making it as fast or as luxurious as possible but simply about making it.
ROUTE OPTIMIZATION LEAGUE
Where driving one's own car is a thing of the past, route planning emerges as a new form of racing. Sat in their simulators, hyperfocused gamers compete at the edge of drivability by ever-redefining tight corners, premeditating difficult traffic situations, and shaving off milliseconds to optimize the route planning software of autonomous vehicle fleets. Surprisingly human x algorithm collaborations still have an edge over algorithms alone. But it's not this rationale that turned route planning into a racing sport — automation abolished the celebration of control, freedom, and power that being in the driving seat meant. Should machines fully overtake human drivers, these races might survive as an anachronism alluding to the adventurous and uncontrollable Wild West of mobility from the old days.
METRO GRAND PRIX
In a car-free city, public transportation has become the stage of unexpected competition. Subways can spontaneously chart their own course, and passengers cheer on their favorite subway pilots as they traverse the city at unprecedented speeds. In this future, mobility is not merely a cheap and pragmatic necessity. Instead, it is part of a vibrant and passionate public life. It is fun to be on the move in such a city, and often the journey becomes the destination.
In the countryside, four-wheeled aerodynamic sculptures without engines silently glide along the road battling for distance. Flamboyant as peacocks and smooth as falcons, these vehicles celebrate engineering in style. In a future respecting the regenerative limits of our planet, they push to exploit every possible physical effect, converting even minor sources of energy coming their way into forward motion. Their riders are adored as much for the mastery of these machines as they are for the elegance of their performance.