Last September, CUPRA began their path towards the participation in the nascent Extreme E. During the inauguration of the first CUPRA Garage in Europe, located in the German, in Hamburg, the brand announced that it would participate in this new championship, becoming from this form the first vehicle manufacturer to confirm entry into this 100% electric off-road event, which will be held in the most remote places on the planet.
The ABT CUPRA XE team, formed after CUPRA’s association with the ABT team, has not stopped working since then to prepare for this new challenge, which will begin in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, on the weekend of April 3-4. .
The first test of the vehicle, the e-CUPRA ABT XE1, was carried out in December in Öschersleben (Germany), where the two official drivers of the team, Mattias Ekström and Claudia Hürtgen, both with decades of experience in all kinds of racing, were already present competitions.
At the end of last year, in Motorland-Aragón, the first and only Extreme E collective test was held to prepare for the season. In the off-road circuit located next to the Spanish track, all the teams confirmed until then were able to put their new vehicles to the test, which will be identical in this first season.
With more than 500 hp of power, four-wheel drive and only 1,650 kilograms of weight, the participants promise to offer a great show and precious wheel-to-wheel battles.
The presence of CUPRA in this category is key to learning about the behavior of electric vehicles in extreme situations and in a competitive environment in which all components are pushed to the limit, as well as to continue learning about a technology that is increasingly present in the range of brand models.
“I think that all manufacturers should bet on motorsport, because it is the ideal way to show what you are capable of,” says Werner Tietz, Executive Vice President of R&D of the company.
“In Extreme E we will have the most extreme version of electric powertrains and that will help us in the development of new street cars. I am convinced that we will be able to bring the knowledge we have gained from racing to the road in the future. That is why we are here.
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The philosophy of Extreme E fits perfectly with that of CUPRA. Electrification is important, we aim to electrify our entire product range in the future, and we are also committed to sustainability,” he added.
About the drivers, he pointed out: “I have seen Mattias and Claudia driving our car in the Aragon tests and I am looking forward to this adventure. I think we have formed a great team and that we can fight for victory.”
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For Mattias Ekström, CUPRA ambassador since 2019 and one of the world’s most experienced drivers, two-time DTM champion and World Rallycross Champion, CUPRA’s entry into Extreme E did not surprise him because he considers it the right place for a brand that carries competition in its DNA and focuses its future on sportsmanship, electrification and high performance.
“I have been part of the CUPRA family since 2019. It is fantastic that I was the first manufacturer to join, but I was not surprised that they entered Extreme E, because CUPRA believes that the future is electric, puts passion in everything it does, takes care of details such as colors and materials, always with a different attitude, and also cares about the environment. It is a brand that likes adventures,” said.
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Claudia Hürtgen, his teammate, decided to take on this challenge after having competed her entire sports career on the circuit. “My first impression was… Wow! Extreme E is something totally different than what I have always done, but I find it fun and I like it. In this championship we unite many important aspects, such as the environment and the automotive industry. I am looking forward to competing in each of the places we will visit this season.”
Extreme E will also innovate in their way of involving fans in the competition with ‘Gridplay’, a voting system through social networks through which fans will be able to give the team with the most votes the opportunity to choose their position at the start of the grand finale.
Written by I Jhonattan González