Following hot on the heels of Lewis Hamilton’s announcement that he would field a team in the new Extreme E series, VW Group brand Cupra has confirmed it will join the championship, marking the arrival of a the series’ first mainstream OEM. The team will partner with ABT Sportsline for engineering support, drawing on that company’s extensive EV racing experience in Formula E.
The off-road, EV racing series appears to be gaining momentum in attracting new teams. With the ongoing strife caused by Covid-19 potentially placing restrictions on Formula E’s USP of city center races, the remote location, fan-free format of Extreme E certainly has its benefits, as ABT managing partner Hans-Jurgen Abt highlighted at the launch event: “We love innovation, competition, e-mobility and the feeling of being a pioneer in something completely new. With Cupra we now have a partner at our side who, like us, firmly believes in the revolutionary concept of Extreme E, both in terms of sport and in terms of off-track marketing.”
During the unveiling, the Cupra team confirmed that Rallycross and DTM champion Mattias Ekström will be one of the team’s drivers for the first season of Extreme E. The second driver is yet to be confirmed, though it is certain they will be female given the series’ equal opportunities rule specifying one male and one female driver.
Cupra parent company SEAT’s executive vice president for R&D, Dr Werner Tietz, commented on the marque’s involvement, “The Extreme E series represents the Cupra attitude in the racing world and its ambition to explore new motorsport experiences. For this reason, the decision to become the first automotive manufacturer to participate in the competition and reinforce our cooperation with ABT is proof of both partners’ shared vision of reinventing the world of high-performance cars through electrification.”