Extreme E is a new off-road electric racing series and the first automaker to join it is Cupra, SEAT’s performance sub-brand. It won’t be going racing alone, though, because it is actually the main partner of the Abt Sportsline team which is set to take part in the inaugural edition of Extreme E, planned for 2021.
Cupra’s contribution to the racing team will consist of ‘ lining up a team of engineers and drivers for this electric odyssey. ‘ The company’s newly appointed Vice President of R&D, Dr. Werner Tietz said
‘ The Extreme E represents CUPRA challenger attitude in the racing world and its ambition to explore new motorsport experiences. For this reason, the decision to become the first automotive manufacturer to participate in the competition and reinforce our cooperation with ABT is proof of both partners’ shared vision of reinventing the world of high-performance cars through electrification. ‘
ABT Sportsline and Cupra have been collaborating since 2018 when they joined forces to create a more powerful version of the SEAT Leon Cupra and Cupra Ateca, whose 2-liter turbocharged engine was tuned to produce in excess of 350 horsepower. Cupra also developed the world’s first BEV touring car, while ABT has participated and has experience in Formula E, so they are a very good match to come together and make an Extreme E team.
The other announcement made in the same press release was that this joint team had signed a celebrity driver for next year’s season: Mattias Ekström, the Swedish racing driver best known for competing in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) which he retired from in 2018. He will be joined by another (female) driver, since one of the ambitions of Extreme E is to have a ‘ gender equal sporting format.’
The vehicle itself isn’t actually built by either Cupra or ABT. All vehicles that are set to take part in the first season of Extreme E are built by Spark Racing Technology in France, and they have permanent all-wheel drive, 536 horsepower and a claimed sprint time from standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) of 4.5 seconds.