ETCR electric series to feature radical race format

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The ETCR electric touring car racing series will run to a radical rallycross-style race format, featuring a series of knockout heats culminating in a final.

First announced in 2018 with the unveiling of the Cupra ETCR car, the series has been officially launched in Paris by Eurosport Events and will run a first promotional season in 2020.

Eurosport Events also promotes the WTCR World Touring Car Cup for the FIA and is working closely on the ETCR concept with Marcello Lotti’s WSC organization, founders of the TCR category.

The new electric series, to be known as Pure ETCR, will see its first competition with a time trial at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July, followed by race meetings at the Salzburgring in Austria, Copenhagen in Denmark, the Inje Speedium in South Korea, Guandong in China and at the Daytona 24 Hours in the USA in January 2021.

The initial promotional season will be followed by an FIA-approved international series through 2021 over eight rounds across Europe, Asia and North America, competing for the first driver and manufacturer titles. This will be followed by a 10-round series in 2022.

The initial season will introduce the ETCR format that will see a draw, putting entrants into a series of short heats dubbed ‘Battle Groups.’ Each ‘Battle’ is likely to feature four cars, a maximum of two from each competing brand.

Cars will start from motocross-style gates and compete in heats of 8-10km in length initially, followed by a one-lap time trial. This will decide the order for A, B and C finals of 12-15km.

Each competing car will feature a single-activation push-to-pass power boost button and a ‘fightback’ mode offering a smaller power boost. The cars will be rated at 680hp, making them the most powerful touring cars in current competition.

Following each heat, the competing cars will be recharged at an ‘Energy Station’, which will be the centre of an interactive zone for spectators to closely study the entries.

So far four brands have been confirmed for ETCR. Seat’s sub-brand Cupra unveiled its updated Leon Cupra to coincide with the series unveiling, while ETCR cars are also being built by Hyundai, WTCR Alfa Romeo entrant Romeo Ferraris and Chinese brand Lisheng Shanghai Racing. Lisheng Shanghai has built and raced a TCR specification MG 6 in the TCR China Championship but is yet to reveal what brand of car it will enter in Pure ETCR.

Speaking at the launch of Pure ETCR, WSC president Marcello Lotti indicated that further brands intend to compete in the series, and will announce their intentions in the coming weeks.

Introducing Pure ETCR, head of Eurosport Events Francois Ribeiro emphasised that the series would be primarily about racing rather than electric mobility. “Motorsport has to bring the emotion into e-mobility,” he said. “Pure ETCR is not about boring e-mobility but about pure battles, pure racing.”

 

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Andrew Charman is a regular contributor to PMW. He has been working in motorsport for more than 35 years, specialising in Touring Cars and US motorsport, particularly NASCAR.

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