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Edition

Global
Special feature
ETCR Pure ETCR: Vallelunga

Behind the scenes in the ETCR

CUPRA has arrived in the new electric touring car championship, Pure ETCR, with four strong drivers in its lineup. The Spanish firm explains to us how it all works from behind the scenes.

This season, CUPRA has a powerful lineup in the WTCR, together with the Hungarian team Zengo Motorsport, boasting Mikel Azcona, Jordi Gene, Rob Huff and Bence Boldizs. The two Spanish drivers, Gene and Azcona, are also competing in the Pure ETCR championship alongside Mattias Ekstrom and Daniel Nagy.

The Spanish brand got its first points in the opening races of the WTCR in Nurburgring and Estoril, despite some issues. In Pure ETCR, things are going even better, where the CUPRA e-Racer has become the car to beat.

Azcona made history in the Vallelunga Circuit in Italy, scoring victory in the first event of the 100%-electric, multi-brand touring car championship. Ekstrom also got a podium, while Gene and Nagy finished fourth and sixth.

Before the premiere in Italy, the drivers of the team conducted an intense test program that is starting to bear fruit.

"We have been testing a lot before the first race now, especially here in Italy where it's very warm," said Ekstrom. "The tyres need to have a special treatment to stay alive. Also, with the set-up work with the CUPRA guys, we're spending a lot of effort to try and get the optimum balance.

"When it comes to me as a driver, I have already taken last year's good experience from rallycross because the Sprint races you have to fully attack from the first corner and also to have a really good spotter in your ears to tell you where the competitors are, so I feel ready."

CUPRA brought Gene back to racing, six years after his last complete season, with a dual program in WRTC and ETCR. The Catalan driver has been involved in the development of the CUPRA Leon Competicion, but the e-Racer proved to be competitive right away.

Gene said: "Between the Pure ETCR and a conventional combustion TCR car, especially to me, is the weight is what really makes it feel more different. The electric car is like 350 kilos heavier – this really makes it noticeable.

"We have batteries that are very heavy, we have an engine, inverters... There are also many parts we have on an electric car that make it heavier.

"But what this gives us on the other side is a lot of acceleration, a car that even if in the corners speed we are lower when the straight comes, we catch all this time that we lose so the acceleration, the straight, really disappear. It's a very astonishing acceleration and this makes the biggest difference."

CUPRA was born officiallyin 2018 as an independent brand of SEAT and electrification features in its production series cars.

"Cupra is a brand born in the 21st century and we want to contribute to reinventing the future of racing and Pure ETCR means electrification," remarks Xavi Serra, Technical Director of CUPRA Racing.

The SEAT headquarters are delighted with the work carried out by CUPRA in racing, and it expects to take advantage for its street cars too.

"The team has developed a brilliant car and we have offered that for the full race series, and now we are now competing here in Vallelunga and it's really exciting," said Werner Tietz, SEAT R&D Vice-President. "The team is doing well, and we learned a lot, not only to learn for racing we also to learn for the series production: how to improve the battery, how to improve the power train, and altogether how to improve the full car. And that's where to spend the time on racetrack."

Photos from CUPRA's 2021 season in WTCR and ETCR

Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Bence Boldizs, Zeng? Motorsport Drivers' Academy CUPRA Leon Competición
Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Jordi Gené, Zengo Motorsport Drivers' Academy CUPRA Leon Competición
Mikel Azcona, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Bence Boldizs, Zengo Motorsport Drivers' Academy CUPRA Leon Competición
Jordi Gené, Zengo Motorsport Drivers' Academy CUPRA Leon Competición
Jordi Gené, Zengo Motorsport Drivers' Academy CUPRA Leon Competición
Mikel Azcona, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Mikel Azcona, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Rob Huff Zengo Motorsport CUPRA
Rob Huff Zengo Motorsport CUPRA
Rob Huff Zengo Motorsport CUPRA
Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Yvan Muller (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & C0 03 TCR, Gabriele Tarquini, BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR, Yann Ehrlacher, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR, Norbert Michelisz, BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR, Thed Björk, Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR, Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Bence Boldizs, Zengo Motorsport Drivers' Academy CUPRA Leon Competiciónm, Gilles Magnus, Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS, Jessica Bäckman, Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N TCR, Luca Engstler, Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR
Jordi Gené, Zengo Motorsport Drivers' Academy CUPRA Leon Competición
Mikel Azcona, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Mikel Azcona, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición, Frédéric Vervisch, Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS
Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Jordi Gené, Zengo Motorsport Drivers' Academy CUPRA Leon Competición
Mikel Azcona, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Jordi Gené, Zengo Motorsport Drivers' Academy CUPRA Leon Competición
Jordi Gené, Zengo Motorsport Drivers' Academy CUPRA Leon Competición
Mikel Azcona, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
Acción de carrera
Mikel Azcona, Zengo Motorsport Cupra, liderando
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Mikel Azcona
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