CUPRA e-Racer latest test - electric motorsport creates new challenges for driver, engineer and mechanic

  • Storing 200kgs of dry ice just one of the many challenges of electric motorsports
  • Electric racing poses new questions to mechanics, engineers and drivers
  • The weight and characteristic noise of an electric car mean new considerations to take into account when getting behind the wheel
  • Energy and battery temperature management are both key for designing a winning strategy in this new form of motorsport

Martorell, 25/09/2018 – As CUPRA engineer Xavier Serra, mechanic Jordi Martí and race driver Jordi Gené test the CUPRA e-Racer ahead of its expected debut in ETCR (Electric Touring Car Racing series) in 2020, they’re learning how the electric racer has completely changed the way the CUPRA racing team does its work.

Having developed the first ever electric touring car, the team continues to finesse the vehicle itself – capable of 168mph from its 500kW motor – while adapting to new demands on driver, mechanics and engineer.

A socket, a battery weighing almost half a tonne and 200 kilos of dry ice every day in the pit box at the race track are just some of the additions required for the e-Racer.

Three CUPRA team members explain the key points of preparing and driving an all-electric racing car during a recent testing and development session with the e-Racer.

Learning how to drive all over again: With 30 years of experience, CUPRA driver and ambassador Jordi Gené admits that getting behind the wheel of an electric racecar “implies learning from scratch”.

“The driving style is completely different and now you have to use other parameters in order to know at what speed you’re driving, how to negotiate a corner or the right time to brake”, he adds. For example, this vehicle’s greater weight and different sound from the motor change the driving references when racing. As it can reach 62mph in 3.2 seconds, Gené says that the “the feeling of acceleration of the e-Racer is much more forceful, and the adrenaline rush is even bigger”.

200 kg of dry ice every day: During one of the testing laps, a dash light displays a warning that Gené has to return to the pits to cool the battery. Cooling it down with dry ice is one of the mechanic’s roles. The engineers also have new strategies on their hands: “It’s not just about being the fastest; now we have another factor to consider: energy management. We must learn how to monitor the temperature and the range”, explains team leader Xavier Serra. In this sense, positioning the 450-kilo battery "was one of the biggest challenges we had to face" when developing the e-Racer. The team had to distribute the volume of the battery evenly underneath the car in order to maintain its balance and functionality.

A new ritual: “After working for more than 20 years in this profession I never would have thought I could charge up a racecar with a plug”, says CUPRA mechanic Jordi Martí while he gets the e-Racer ready to exit the pits again. Even the tools he uses are different. Now he has a set of specially designed instruments to withstand high voltage, such as gloves made with insulating material that can resist up to 1,000 volts.

The future of motorsport: “The arrival of the electric vehicle to racing signals the beginning of a new era”, concludes Xavier Serra. Being a part of the team that has developed and is testing the first wholly electric racing touring car in the world “is like being a part of a historic moment”, says the mechanic.  “It’s a very interesting professional challenge”, adds Gené.

The tests carried out on different tracks confirm the competitiveness of the CUPRA e-Racer, which is expected to make its debut in the ETCR category in 2020. This is a positive move towards cleaner, more efficient Racing, where technology and connectivity play a key role.

ENDS

CUPRA is a special brand for unique people designed to captivate customers looking for what the new brand has to offer: Uniqueness, Sophistication and Performance. The time has come for car lovers to get involved with a new brand that meets their expectations. Along with the launch of new models, CUPRA will also keep the motorsport and racing spirit alive by participating in the TCR series. The CUPRA world is alive and ready to conquer a new group of enthusiasts in more than 260 specially selected SEAT dealerships all across Europe.

SEAT Communications

Gemma Solà

Content&Platforms Management

T/+34 639 944 087

gemma.sola@seat.es

 

Vanessa Petit

Content Generation

T/+34 680 153 938

vanessa.petit@seat.es

 

 

 


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Putting faces to the CUPRA e-Racer

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