CUPRA is preparing to take on one of the most gruelling terrains in the world as it heads to the start line of the inaugural Extreme E season.
Kicking off in Saudi Arabia on the 3rd April, the aim of Extreme E is to not only bring the thrill of racing to as wide an audience as possible, but to highlight the impact of climate change.
The competition for off-road electric SUVs takes teams to the most challenging locations across the globe: deserts, jungles, glaciers and oceans.
CUPRA has been part of Extreme E from the outset. It was the first automotive brand to announce its participation, joining forces with ABT Sportsline as the team’s main partner.
CUPRA is an unconventional challenger brand that wants to contribute to reinventing the future of racing with progressive experiences while bringing a message of electromobility, sustainability and gender balance around the world,” said Wayne Griffiths, President of CUPRA and SEAT. “Extreme E is the best platform to spread this message because it is the first sport to ever be built from a social purpose. It gives us an opportunity to think how we can make a difference but also the chance to look more closely at electric propulsion and how we can transfer it more smoothly into the real world.”
CUPRA’s high performance 544PS (400kW) e-CUPRA ABT XE1 will be pushed to the limit at the first race of the season, held in Saudi Arabia’s Al Ula region, the world’s largest continuous sand desert.
ABT CUPRA teammates Claudia Hürtgen and Mattias Ekström are preparing for the race through the arid desert landscape. Hürtgen has a wealth of experience in endurance racing, while Ekström brings huge talent as Rally Cross and DTM champion.
The team has put the e-CUPRA ABT XE1 through its paces during preparation for the start of the season with testing completed at the Oschersleben circuit in Germany and the MotorLand Aragón track in Spain.
“Only a few days left before the very first Extreme E race start, and Claudia and I cannot wait to be on the starting grid. We’re very excited to be part of this competition with a very innovative format: 100% electric, racing the most astonishing locations in the world and driven by gender-balanced teams,” said Rally Cross and DTM champion Mattias Ekström. “If you consider all the elements and you add the car’s heavy weight, its low-grip tyres and a good amount of power, the whole combination will be very interesting, and we’re ready for it!”.
Nine teams will be on the start line, all vying for position and the contest is split over two days. Qualifying 1, 2, 3 and 4 will take place on Saturday, while the Semi-Final, the Crazy Race and the Final take place on Sunday. Each race is two laps – one lap driven by the female driver and the other by the male driver in each team.
Extreme E’s inaugural season takes it to five unique world stages, and the global voyage will utilise its international entertainment platform to promote electrification, sustainability, and equality.
After the chequered flag drops in Saudi Arabia the race series moves to Lac Rose in Senegal, Kangerlussaq in Greenland, Pará in Brazil and finally Tierra Del Fuego in Argentina.
The Extreme E series is the next chapter of CUPRA in racing. The brand’s identity is heavily linked with the racetrack and it is a master at developing vehicles that can compete at the highest level.