We don’t often cover Seat, the Catalonian car company owned by Volkswagen, since it only sells a small, rebranded lineup of Volkswagen Group models in Europe. But take a seat—an actual one—because there’s significant news.
Seat’s Cupra R, a spicy 306-hp Spanish variation of the beloved Volkswagen Golf R, has been on our import wish list for some time. At the Geneva auto show, we saw the debut of the Cupra e-Racer, an electric version of the production Cupra R; it will compete in a brand-new electric touring-car series debuting in 2019 called E TCR.
E TCR (for Touring Car Racing) is a spinoff of the TCR series launched by former World Touring Car Championship director Marcello Lotti in 2015, which seeks to lower costs with simpler builds and break up the dominance of manufacturer-backed teams. Seat Sport was the division responsible for the Leon Cup Racer and other VW Group touring-car entries, including the Audi RS3 LMS. Versions of those cars will continue running in the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCC), an FIA-sanctioned series replacing TCR, under the Cupra banner for 2018. But unlike in the WTCC, the e-Racer will compete against battery-electric hatches and sedans that aren’t based on production powertrains.
The E TCR spec mandates a minimum of 402 horsepower, with a maximum boost to 536 horsepower. All of the cars feature a 65-kWh battery running on a sizzling 800 volts (the same as the upcoming Porsche Mission E), driving power to the rear wheels via a single gear and torque vectoring. Cupra claims the e-Racer sprints from zero to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds and reaches 124 mph in 8.2 seconds. Top speed is 168 mph, a number the Chevrolet Bolt EV might reach . . . if dropped out of a plane.
At the moment, the Cupra is said to be the only electric racer compatible with the series. There have been no tracks, dates, or any other details announced yet. Until they are, check out Cupra’s new logo—what appears to be the world’s most wicked set of forceps—and catch the gas-powered Cupra TCR in this year’s WTCC season. If your motorsport thrills must be electric, check out Formula E in Brooklyn this July.