The first six Pure ETCR events held throughout its 2020 season will be closer to flexible test events than a full debut, according to senior figures at the electric touring car series.
Inaugural races at the Salzburgring, Copenhagen, Inje Speedium and Guangdong, and time trial events at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Rolex 24 at Daytona, will serve as promotional and demonstration races for the new series, which was launched in Paris on Wednesday.
No drivers’ or manufacturers’ titles will be awarded when the season finishes at Daytona in January 2021, but all six events will instead run independently as standalone weekends.
The idea is that series promoter Eurosport Events can make race-by-race adaptations to the radical new ‘rallycross-style’ format by testing under racing conditions, setting up a solid platform for the first full eight-round season in 2021.
“It’s such a new technology and such a new regulation that, six or 12 months down the road, we’ll probably need to adapt and adjust, case-by-case, to deliver the product we want,” head of Eurosport Events Francois Ribeiro told assembled media in Paris.
“This is the reason as well that we’re talking about single events in 2020,” added series director Xavier Gavory.
“It’s a promotional year with single events so we can slightly adapt the regulations depending on what’s going on. We’re learning as well.
“The standalone events give us this freedom, because we are not a championship in 2020. If we want to adapt and revise the regulations from one event to another, it’s possible. In terms of regulations, you can.”
The first round, ahead as a time trial during the Goodwood Festival of Speed on July 9-12, will include one car per manufacturer, which will increase to two for the remaining five events.
It’s planned that each manufacturer will bring three cars to each round when the series fully gets underway in 2021.
“What we proposed to the manufacturers, is they can bring two cars but if they want to bring three or four drivers, why not? It’s a promotional season,” said Ribeiro.
“What matters is we put the cars out there and show the capacity. We show the format a little bit, and of course, the 2020 format will be slightly different from 2021.
“Xavier will not have enough cars to display the full format. I think it doesn’t really matter. It’s a promotional year.
“Racing has always been the best testing conditions.”
Ribeiro says the series’ open approach, whereby it will conduct the majority of its testing and preparation in racing conditions, proves its credentials, compared to other series that might launch with empty promises.
“If a promoter one day comes and says, ‘I want to launch a new championship next year but I have no cars, no drivers, no events, no concept… but year one will be perfect’, don’t believe him.”
IMSA’s Early Support Helped Daytona Race Deal
North American endurance racing organizer IMSA gave its support to the ETCR concept early in its creation, something that has now helped secure a Pure ETCR support race at Daytona.
Former IMSA president Scott Atherton told e-racing365 in 2018 that ETCR would be “very consistent” to IMSA’s future vision.
Petrol-powered TCR cars already compete in IMSA’s second-tier series, the Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Ribeiro said the confirmation of a Pure ETCR time trial event at next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona was “100 percent” influenced by the American company’s early support, when asked by e-racing365.
“First, because IMSA is indeed very supportive, but secondly because Daytona is a great place,” he said.
“It’s a great event, it’s a good name in motorsport, and it resonates.”