A new series of Touring Car Racing is to begin in 2020. And it’s electric!

The inaugural four race Electric Touring Car Racing (ETCR) series will begin in Barcelona around June or July 2020 (the European summer) with three ‘overseas’ events to happen between October and December that year.

The vehicles will incorporate a one-design power train, but the rest (bodies, suspension, braking etc) will be supplied by the competing vehicle manufacturers.

Thus far, the only manufacturers committed to the format are CUPRA (a subsidiary of Spanish auto manufacturer SEAT) and Hyundai – but organisers are expecting three to four manufacturers for the initial series.

WSC Technology (the parent company developing the ETCR format) is hoping that two years after the worldwide championship starts, regional series in Europe, Asia (and perhaps America) will begin.

As part of ETCR development, the new CUPRA e-Racer was recently put through its first full-speed laps by its intended driver, 2016 World Rally Cross champion Mattias Ekström.

Mattias Ekström at the wheel of the CUPRA e-Racer. Image: SEAT media

Ekström’s initial impressions of the e-Racer were positive – but even he admitted it was going to be a steep learning curve to get the best out of driving an electric car fast. In his words:

“It felt really good, especially when reaching full power coming out of the slow corners on the circuit. I really enjoyed the first lap.

The second also went well, although I began to notice that I was forcing the rear tyres.

I still need some time to get used to the sound of the engine; it’s much quieter than any other I’ve driven before, and I’m a very emotional driver.

In addition, I have to pay close attention to energy management in each lap; that’s essential with an electric race car, almost as important as its speed.” 

So what will this development mean for Australia?

With the creation of an international ETCR series, it is inevitable that it will eventually come to Australia –perhaps even the iconic Bathurst event (That of course will depend on the range and recharging times that have yet to be released).

Either way, fans of the Australian Touring Car championship will have to revise their name: the Petrol Heads of old will need to be called what they really are: Performance Heads!

CUPRA e-Racer specs:

  • Top speed of 270 km/h
  • 0 to 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds
  • 0 to 200 km/h in 8.2 seconds
  • Its 450 kg battery
  • Four motors, no gearbox
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