Plans have been revealed for the world’s first multi-brand all-electric touring car racing series, to be rolled out over the next three years – with an against-the-clock launch set to take place at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this summer.
Pure ETCR promises to be a multi-brand series that will promote "real electric car racing" with an emphasis on high performance rather than energy-saving efficiency.
The ETCR concept has been created by the WSC Group run by Marcello Lotti, the founder of the TCR saloon car racing formula, and the series will be run by Eurosport Events, which also organises the World Touring Car Cup. Eurosport Events is part of the Discovery Group, which also has a stake in Formula E, the all-electric single-seater series.
The formula will feature cars offering 65kWh of capacity from an 800-volt battery, pushing out 300kW of continuous power and 500kW of maximum power – the equivalent of around 680bhp. Batteries will be supplied by Williams Advanced Engineering, which is also a partner in Formula E. Recharging will come from hydrogen generators that will allow a 90% charge from 10% in just one hour, to ensure a quick turnaround for rapid-fire racing.
The format promises to be a novel one. Teams and cars will be split into pools of four, running a series of ‘battles’ in which each driver – starting from a horse racing-style gate – will score points to qualify for A, B and C finals, with the overall winner crowned the ‘king/queen of the weekend’. Races should last eight to 10km each, with drivers having four push-to-pass power boosts available to aid overtaking.
Following the launch event at Goodwood, further promotional runs will take place at WTCR rounds, at the Copenhagen historic racing festival and an event yet to be confirmed in China in the autumn, culminating at the Daytona 24 Hours in January 2021. Then an eight-round series is planned for next year, rising to 10 events in 2022.
The cars will run on single-spec Goodyear treaded all-weather tyres, which will contribute to a set of sustainability targets Pure ETCR will set in its long-term aim to be carbon neutral.
“It’s the time to do this,” said Francois Ribeiro, head of Eurosport Events at a launch on Wednesday morning in Paris. “It’s no secret the way the automotive industry is moving. This is not an evolution; it’s a revolution. Change is coming and motorsport cannot ignore it. We have to follow the industry because we are part of it."
Ribeiro added that Pure ETCR’s purpose is not to “save the planet” and, unlike Formula E, won’t exist to “promote technology, but instead promote product” for car makers.
“Motorsport can play a role in changing perceptions,” he said. “We are a motorsport promoter, not an advertising agency.”