Pure ETCR is expected to race on short layouts at most circuits it visits, thus maximizing its unique fast-paced rallycross-style format and creating a spectacle for fans.
With race distances of 8-10 km and 12-15 km, and only four or six cars per race, series organizers have stressed the importance of using short tracks to maximize the entertainment value of the racing.
Francois Ribeiro, the head of Pure ETCR and FIA WTCR promoter Eurosport Events, used the example of last year’s WTCR round at Suzuka to highlight the unique preference of short tracks for the electric series.
“The selection of the circuits will be very important,” he told assembled media at the launch on Wednesday.
“Last year, in October, WTCR was racing in Suzuka. Because of safety prescriptions, which were not compatible with the FIA, we had to go from the F1 circuit to the short circuit, and that killed me.
“I was so frustrated to spend so much money to go racing in Japan to end up on a 2.2 km circuit.
“That day, I had the feeling that if we were racing Pure ETCR at Suzuka, we would pick up the short one. That would be perfect for that model, and the F1 circuit in Suzuka would be far too big.
“If you go to Shanghai, you have the same. You can make a shortcut and adapt the format of the circuit, and pick the circuit layout that is good for this format.
“There are so many circuits like this on which you can take a shortcut and make something more exciting and suitable.”
Pure ETCR will compete on two shared weekends with WTCR this year, at the Salzburgring and Inje Speedium. At the latter, at least, it’s set to use a different track configuration to its petrol-powered counterpart, according to series director Xavier Gavory.
“On the same weekend, you’re going to have WTCR on the long circuit, which is [3.9] km and Pure ETCR on the short circuit, which is [2.5].
“Copenhagen is 2.3 or 2.2 km as well, so we will select those circuits this way.”
Short ‘Full Throttle’ Races to Avoid Energy Management
While ETCR cars will be capable of a WTCR-level 21-minute race distance, including the use of push-to-pass power boosts, the decision to use shorter races was made to have full throttle racing without energy management considerations.
Ribeiro and Gavory both denied that having shorter races than petrol-powered TCR cars will send the wrong message about electric vehicles, instead proposing that full-power races will be more exciting.
“To give the best perception of electric vehicles, this is what we have to do,” said Gavory. “The format is adapted like this. This is the reason why it’s a shorter format.
“It’s based on electric and the capacity of the battery, of course, but we prefer a shorter format but full throttle than a longer format and energy management.
“We’re going to have bumper-to-bumper, wheel-to-wheel action. That is the magic of touring cars, with super-powered cars.
“For the final, it will be a bit longer and with more cars on the grid, so we are talking about 15 km, more laps, more action, and once again, something different.”
When asked by e-racing365 if competing on the same race distance as TCR cars would prove that EVs can compete on the same level as petrol cars, Ribeiro suggested that is a message better proven by other electric categories.
“They can [do 21-minute races] but we want to show something exciting,” he said.
“I’m absolutely convinced that there will be many other forms of electric motorsport making demonstrations of durability and mileage and capacity.
“Maybe you will have an electric car doing the 24 Hours of Le Mans, maybe you will have an electric car doing the Dakar next year.
“Motorsport is rich, and one series cannot have all the answers. You have to make some decisions. We have decided to go for the excitement, the appeal, the door-to-door, wheel-to-wheel.
“Will WTCR be a better product if all our races were 400 km? No, I don’t think so.”