Let there be no mistake about it: electric racing is no passing fad. And it’s not just Formula E, either: this weekend the new ETCR series launched with its first demo session during the TCR Europe season finale at the Catalunya circuit near Barcelona in Spain, where the new Cupra e-Racer ran for the first time in front of the gathered fans.
The e-Racer is based on the Leon Cupra TCR, but packs an all-electric powertrain – and a more powerful one at that. With the equivalent of 680 horsepower (500 kW) on tap, the Cupra e-Racer is a solid 330 hp (242 kW) more potent than the conventional version. Though the big battery pack makes it 882 lbs (400 kg) heavier, it takes just 3.2 seconds to reach 62 mph (100 km/h) and 8.2 to hit 124 (200). And it doesn’t need a drop of fossil fuels to do it, either.
“We are so proud to be front-runners who develop new experiences around global motorsport,” said Cupra Racing director Jaime Puig. “Electric races were something from the distant future but we brought them closer. One of the main challenges of an electric car is to find a balance between power and range, but this is what makes it so exciting.”
Series organizers WSC Technology announced at the launch event that the first ETCR championship will kick off in 2020. By then we ought to see more manufacturers sign up for what’s designed to be a multi-brand championship. But as it stands, the Cupra e-Racer is a pretty impressive piece of kit, and one that stands to revolutionize touring-car racing just as Formula E has with single-seaters.
“Our ultimate goal is to show fans that electric car races are just as entertaining as those with internal combustion-engine,” asserted WSC chief Marcello Lotti. “The ETCR applies electric power units to the very same chassis concept of TCR cars. It is already attracting the interest of different car manufacturers that also regard it as a tool to restore the role of motorsport as a platform for research & development that can transfer experience and innovations to the standard products.”