The newly-announced E TCR platform will keep touring car racing relevant as more forms of motorsport adapt to electric technology, according to Marcello Lotti, CEO of TCR promoter WSC Ltd.
Lotti (pictured above, center) believes the all-electric platform is an important step to future-proof the highly successful TCR brand, which already has a wide range of international, regional and national series.
“We were talking within the company and we decided it was time to consider the new future of motorsports, with electric [cars],” Lotti told e-racing365.
“For us it was important that touring cars were not [left] out from this new approach and technology.
“We’ve tried to identify a kind of concept for touring car technology without [having] super expensive development but also to be ready to start developing this new technology and application of the new motorsport world.”
The announcement came alongside the reveal of Spanish automaker SEAT’s new brand Cupra and the Cupra e-Racer, so far the only car built to E TCR regulations.
The category will be open to four or five-door production touring cars powered by an electric motor producing 300 kW of continuous power and 500 kW of maximum power at 12,000 rpm.
WSC Technology will provide a spec power unit including motor, gearbox and inverters, as well as a battery pack, which can be fitted to different chassis.
“For us, it was important to choose one partner and one manufacturer at the beginning,” Lotti explained. “It was perfect timing for SEAT because they were launching their new brand, Cupra, with a sporting DNA.
“So why not go into the new technology? It was perfect for them, it was perfect for us, so we started to work on this project and we were waiting to announce and to have the car and technical regulations ready.
“When it was time in Geneva, with everything on board, we made the announcement.
“For them, it was very important because it was linked to the launch of the Cupra brand, so we decided to launch all the concepts at the same time, but linked to the Cupra e-Racer.”
Lotti envisages a 2019 launch of the platform before a full rollout in 2020, and sees the rest of this year as an opportunity to target other potential manufacturers and carry out initial testing and promotional events.
“The series will be open to other brands,” he assured. “We are working now, and we have just started to work with other brands, which are interested.
“We decided to start and it is the plan to have some events next season and properly from 2020.
“At the moment, on the table, is to start next season and close at the end of the season. After that, make a really full program from 2020.”
Existing TCR Partner Series Could Run E TCR in Long-Term
The current plan for E TCR appears to involve launching the platform with a global series similar to the newly-launched FIA World Touring Car Cup and TCR International Series which ran from 2015 to 2017.
While these have been the TCR format’s flagship series, the formula is also used by dozens of series worldwide, both as standalone entities but also included in existing championships, such as the Pirelli World Challenge and IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
This is a path that Lotti is considering for the electric category in the long-term, especially with interest already received from existing series, including PWC.
WC Vision CEO Greg Gill recently told e-racing365 that he is looking at E TCR “very closely.”
“We are looking at the moment to promote the concept and it would be an international one, not only Europe,” explained Lotti.
“Today, we have a lot of TCR partners because we work with more than 30 promoters. All of them, I’m sure, are interested too.
“When it is time, we can also open the regulations and these cars to all of them [that are] interested.”