CUPRA has set itself an extremely ambitious goal – to reinvent the world of motorsport racing. CUPRA Racing builds on SEAT’s legacy of more than 40 years of competition, while being aware that the future of racing lies in alternative drive systems.
Since 2014, SEAT has been the major benchmark of the TCR International Series championship with the Leon Cup Racer and the rest of the Volkswagen Group models that SEAT Sport also develops and manufactures, such as the Audi RS3 LMS and the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR.
They have all achieved successes in different categories thanks to the SEAT Sport team’s experience, talent and passion to win. “We are going to create new race concepts and explore new possibilities to revolutionise the future of motorsport competition”, said CUPRA Racing director Jaime Puig.
This message first came to light at the recently held Geneva Motor Show, where visitors had the chance to admire the CUPRA e-Racer and the CUPRA TCR.
The CUPRA e-Racer is the world’s first 100% electric touring racecar and it will compete in the future electric touring car championship (the e-TCR Series), based on the petrol powered SEAT Cup Racer.
In addition to running on much cleaner and eco-friendly energy, the CUPRA e-Racer is much quieter and delivers amazing performance, perhaps even better than that of a conventional racecar as a result of the tremendous torque generated by its electric engine, which enables it to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.2 seconds, from 0 to 200 km/h in 8.2 seconds and exceed a top speed of 270 km/h.
This impressive performance is achieved thanks to its four fully electric engines, which exceed 12,000 rpm and deliver a continuous output of 300 kW (408 hp), reaching a performance ceiling of no less than 500 kW (680 hp). The engine torque delivers impressive power, like a good electric engine should, with 500 Nm of maximum torque when harnessing the 500 kW of peak output. The engines are located at the rear of the e-Racer, two for each rear wheel, and feature a torque vectoring control system, which functions as a self-blocking differential, to enable the driver to adapt the engine torque of the inner and outer wheel when cornering to achieve the highest performance at all times.
To unlock all this power, the CUPRA e-Racer is fuelled by 6,072 battery cells piled into 23 modules, each holding 264 cells, which weigh a total of 450 kg, or one third of the entire vehicle’s weight. For this reason, their arrangement is essential to obtain the best weight distribution and the lowest possible centre of gravity, so the battery is evenly arranged on the lower part of the CUPRA e-Racer. Xavier Serra, the technical director of this project, comments that “its placement has been one of the most difficult challenges we faced.”
The battery of the e-Racer has an equivalent capacity of 9,000 mobile phones connected at the same time. A total battery capacity of 65 kWh and maximum voltage of 772 V are the energy source of this vehicle, and its batteries only need 30 minutes to fully recharge.
Best of all is that it offers several advantages. In the first place, electric engines are much less complicated and require much less maintenance. More importantly, they are much more efficient, as they consume practically all of the supplied energy; unlike combustion engines which only use 30% of the fuel energy at most. In addition, the kinetic energy is harnessed to recharge the batteries during braking and deceleration. If that were not enough, as mentioned earlier, the maximum engine torque of electric cars is obtained as soon as the accelerator is pressed, so a certain engine speed does not have to be reached to deliver the highest performance, which significantly improves the rate of acceleration.
The design of the CUPRA e-Racer has also been key for achieving the best aerodynamic performance, so specific spoilers, wings and small streamlined parts all over the chassis are necessary to reduce the Cx drag coefficient as much as possible. One of the key features for reducing drag are the door mirrors, which were replaced with mini cameras that transmit images to a large screen built into the dashboard. In turn, this makes it easier to see what is happening all around the vehicle.
Throughout 2018, the CUPRA e-Racer will be on display at various sporting events, and the e-TCR Series competition for fully electric touring racecars will be taking place in 2019. The format, duration and experience for drivers, teams and followers alike will be radically different to anything seen so far, where the races will be incredibly fast-paced, intense and exciting.
CUPRA TCR, list of triumphs
CUPRA made a successful 2018 season debut in the TCR Touring Car Racing championships held all over the world, with a total of 18 first, 20 second and 14 third place wins. This year it will compete in a total of 225 races and has already recently won in the TCR category of the 24 hours of Nürburgring.
The new CUPRA TCR features a prominent new copper colour CUPRA logo on the grille of the front bumper, steering wheel, bonnet and bucket seats. It is also equipped with an electronic control unit with adapted software in order to comply with the 2018 season regulations. This competition vehicle highlights the expertise of CUPRA’s new racing division, which was formerly SEAT Sport.
The CUPRA TCR was developed on the basis of the Leon and retains the majority of its standard mechanical elements, except the electronic engine management and the exhaust, suspension and brake systems. Customers can optionally select a different sequential gearbox that weighs almost half as much as the DSG equipped as standard on the TCR. It delivers a maximum output of 350 hp at 6,200 rpm, with a maximum torque of 420 Nm at 2,500 rpm.
Owing to the success of CUPRA at several touring car championships, CUPRA Racing is gradually increasing its number of orders and new customers. For example, a CUPRA TCR was recently sent to Japan for that country’s championship. Likewise, CUPRA TCR is also present in several other championships, including TCR Asia, TCR Middle East or TCR Russia, as well as at other races framed within National TCR series, in addition to the above, such as the British TCR, Baltic TCR, TCR Korea, TCR Thailand and TCR North America – World Challenge; and endurance races such as the 24 hours of Silverstone and international championships like the IMSA SportsCar Challenge in the US or the Super Taikyu Series (Japanese Endurance Race).