Cupra has become the latest manufacturer to enter the Formula E sphere, partnering with motorsport outfit ABT Sportsline for an entry into the new-look 2023 season.
The Spanish brand joins newcomers Maserati and McLaren in the electric single-seat series – as well as longtime participators DS, Mahindra, Nissan, Porsche and Nio – as part of a drive to cement its zero-emission sporting credentials.
In the five years since Cupra was hived off as a brand in its own right from parent company Seat, it has already made a name for itself in electric motorsport worldwide. It has competed in both seasons of the off-road Extreme E series, finishing mid-table both times, and claimed victory in both the 2021 and 2022 rounds of the ETCR electric touring car championship.
Now, it says it is “ready for the next stage of its development” as it signs up to race in the world’s highest-profile electric racing championship.
Cupra says its own brand ambitions line up neatly with those of Formula E, which has been certified net-zero since its inception, in that both aim to reach “individuals that value sustainability and are passionate about racing and performance”.
Cupra’s entry comes as Formula E launches a wide-reaching overhaul of its technical regulations, meaning the cars for 2023 are much more powerful and faster than those that have gone before.
The ‘Gen3’ racer features a motor at both ends for a combined 470bhp and is capable of a 200mph-plus top speed. Meanwhile, 600kW regenerative braking is so strong that the cars can go without a rear braking set-up.
Cupra’s car – with a powertrain supplied by Mahindra (which, coincidentally, recently signed a deal to use the VW Group’s MEB architecture for passenger cars in India) – will be driven by Dutchman Robin Frijns and Switzerland’s Nico Müller.
The brand’s CEO Wayne Griffiths said: “Racing is at the core of Cupra’s DNA – and at CUPRA we go out to win. It’s the right time to take the next leap forward and join the world’s greatest electric motorsport competition, and I can’t wait to see the ABT CUPRA Formula E team competing in the heart of some of the world’s most iconic cities.
“Joining the Formula E, a unique motorsport platform, underlines our ambition of becoming a truly global relevant brand, with the aim of inspiring the world from Barcelona.”
The season kicks off in Mexico on 14 January and runs for seven months, finishing with a double-header in East London on 29/30 July.