It’s never been done before. The Extreme E racing series will see nine international teams race in arctic, desert, rainforest, glacier and ocean locations around the world in 100% all electric vehicles. The ABT CUPRA XE team includes drivers Mattias Ekström and Claudia Hürtgen, who just completed their final test before taking on the competition.
-An off-road “beast”. This is how the team’s male driver Mattias Ekström refers to the e-CUPRA ABT XE1 competition model: “It will have 400 kw in off-road setting, and that’s pretty fast, I'd say. So, if you consider all the elements, including low-grip tyres, the car's heavy weight and a good amount of power, I think that combination will be more than a beast to handle” he says. “I think the crucial thing is the size of the car; it has a lot more movement because of its height and width. I think the most challenging thing is going to be driving the car on such different terrains as it will react differently each time” he adds.
-Adapting to the most demanding terrains. The electric model is equipped with a 53 kWh battery which is placed behind the cockpit to produce a real rear weight distribution, explained the Head of Technical Development at CUPRA Racing Xavi Serra. Depending on the various terrains of the competition, Serra said the length of the battery range will differ. “On a circuit it’s very consistent, but with such a variety of terrains, it will change a lot whether driving on a track or on gravel…as well as the atmospheric temperature” says Serra. “Unlike with the e-Racer, this time we're focusing more on performance than energy management” Serra adds. The vehicle itself, the Odyssey 21, will be the same for each team sporting Continental tyres that stand 940mm. The vehicle measures 2.3 metres wide and more than 1.8 metres tall and can go from 0-100 kmh in about 4 seconds.
-Paired for success. All of the participating Extreme E teams are a mixed male and female pairing. Ekström will be partnered with German driver Claudia Hürtgen. “My biggest challenge is that we make a good team” noted Claudia. “It’s all about compromises. 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” says Serra.
-A lab for the future. All of the know-how generated from this extreme competition will not remain on the track but will be transferred to the all 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”, concludes Serra.