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CUPRA and Extreme E: a 100% electric odyssey

7.1.2021
CUPRA and Extreme E: a 100% electric odyssey

The ABT CUPRA XE team is ready for its debut in the Extreme E Racing Series, the new off-road electric car competition taking place in five locations across four continents. Both for drivers and for engineers the challenge is finding a balance between performance and efficiency.

The Extreme E racing series is a completely new addition to the world of racing-car competitions. Nine international teams will race in the world’s most extreme locations in their own 100% all electric vehicles: from arctic landscapes, to deserts, rainforests, glaciers, and ocean shores. The ABT CUPRA XE team is ready for the challenge with drivers Mattias Ekström and Claudia Hürtgen, who have completed their final tests on board the e-CUPRA ABT XE1.

An off-road “beast”

Ekström refers to the e-CUPRA ABT XE1 as an off-road “beast”: “It will have 400 kw of power, and that’s pretty fast, I'd say. When you also consider the tyres and the weight, I think the combination will be more than a beast to handle,” he says. “I think the most challenging thing is going to be driving the car on such different terrains, as it will react differently each time.”

Battery and performance

The e-CUPRA ABT XE1 is equipped with a 53 kWh lithium-ion battery placed behind the cockpit to produce a real rear weight distribution, capable of boosting the car’s traction.

Battery performance will differ depending on the various terrains of the competition”, explains Xavi Serra, Head of Technical Development at CUPRA Racing. “On a circuit, battery performance is very consistent, but with such a variety of terrains it will change a lot depending on whether it’s a track or on gravel, as well as with the atmospheric temperature. Unlike with the e-Racer, this time we're focusing more on performance than energy management”.

The vehicle itself, the Odyssey 21, will be the same for each team: 2.3 metres wide and more than 1.8 metres tall, sporting 940 mm Continental tyres. It can go from 0-100 km/h in 4 seconds.

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Mixed teams

All participating Extreme E teams are a mixed male and female pairing. For the ABT CUPRA XE team, Mattias Ekström will be partnered with Claudia Hürtgen.

The format of the races includes two days of competition for each location, with one day of qualifying and another where the final will be decided among four teams. Each race consists of two laps: one driven by the female racer and one driven by the male. The results for each race will depend on their finishing position, not on their time.

The biggest challenge is that we make a good team,” says Claudia Hürtgen. “It’s all about finding a balance. Things that could suit one driver very well might not suit the other. So, it’s about achieving the best compromise to be as fast as possible,” adds Serra.

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A lab for the future

All of the know-how generated from the Extreme E Racing Series will be transferred to the models in the CUPRA range. “We firmly believe that electrification and high performance can go hand in hand. CUPRA is clearly moving toward electrification, so everything that is related with this technology will provide us with very valuable data, especially testing in very harsh environments”, notes Serra.

The Extreme E is a great opportunity to demonstrate CUPRA’s electric potential. We aim to contribute to the future development of this race car and gain knowledge about high-performance electric engines that we can later apply in our street models. At the same time, we want to help raise awareness of environmental issues through motorsport,” concludes SEAT’s executive Vice-president for Research and Development, Dr. Werner Tietz.

SourceSEAT S.A.