Powerful plug-in electric touring cars set to race in 2020 as manufacturers show interest
Spanish veteran Jordi Gené has already tested the Cupra-built, 670bhp ETCR prototype
TCR’s electrified sibling has put its flag in the sand and announced that it expects to be racing in 2020. That comes a month after Electric GT’s Tesla-based series was put on hold pending a new investor.
The future of TCR seems rosier than that of Electric GT, which has been beset by delays after plenty of PR bluster. It had announced a calendar of sorts – rough dates pinned to rough circuits or regions and a few TBCs – that would be beginning as early as, well, now. But announcements dried up, one car was ‘delivered’ and that appears to be that.
It now says its start date will be confirmed once the funding is in place. It later intends to open up the series to move away from the self-developed Teslas to a prototype series, according to its five-year road map. But the road itself still seems some way off.
ETCR, meanwhile, was initially announced by TCR promoter WSC in the early part of 2018, its Seat Cupra-shelled car soon took to the track (in July) and things seem to be rattling along.
WTCC and TCR race winner Jordi Gené drove the test car, which has been developed by Cupra Racing and boasts a maximum power of 500kw (equivalent to 670bhp) and a 0-62mph time of 3.2sec. Cupra Racing used to be SEAT Sport, but it has since been cut loose from the mothership and become a brand in its own right. The company also builds all of the VW Group’s TCR cars: the Audi S3 LMS, Golf GTi and Seat León.
The series confirmed a number of manufacturer representatives were present at the series ‘launch’ event.
“The ETCR applies electric power units to the very same chassis concept of TCR cars,” Marcello Lotti, president of promoter WSC, said. “It is already attracting the interest of different car manufacturers that also regard it as a tool to restore the role of motor sport as a platform for research and development that can transfer experience and innovations to the standard products.
“Our ultimate goal is to show fans that electric races are as entertaining as those for cars with internal combustion engines.”
The promoter had previously confirmed existing TCR shells and chassis will be able to accommodate the new technology.
Manufacturers will in future be permitted to develop their own technology, after a period of using what Lotti called ‘the common electric kit’. In effect, it is adopting the Formula E model for its tin-tops.