The Cupra e-Racer is a conventional hatchback that’s been turned into an all-electric race car.
Electric powertrains are the new hotness when it comes to international racing. Although the cars are weighted down by a heavy battery pack, the power produced from an electric drivetrain is truly something to behold. Sub 2-second zero to sixty times have been clocked from all-electric hypercars, and even regular electric vehicles are deceptively quick.
Such is the case with the Cupra e-Racer, a converted hatchback unveiled at this year’s Geneva Motor Show by Spanish carmaker SEAT. Based on their successful Leon hatchback, the e-Racer tosses the gasoline-burning engine in favor of electric motors and 6,072 round cell batteries, or the equivalent of 9,000 cell phone batteries.
SEAT calls it the first ever all-electric touring-class racecar, and they recently brought the e-Racer to Zagreb, Croatia to put it to the test.
Many electric cars are capable of some extreme power output, but they can’t keep it up forever without melting their batteries. The Cupra e-Racer is capable of a sustained power output of 402 hp, with a peak output of 680 hp. Starting from standstill to 62 mph takes 3.5 seconds while getting 125 mph takes 8.2 seconds. Top speed is 168 mph.
While the regular Leon with a conventional engine is either front or all-wheel-drive, the e-Racer swaps things for a racing rear-wheel-drive setup. This will allow the e-Racer's eventual racecar drivers to better familiarize themselves with the car’s performance.
But why bring a car all the way to Croatia for testing? It might have to do with the fact that Rimac, a Croatian electric carmaker, had a lot do with the e-Racer’s powertrain. As in, they built it.
Rimac is perhaps best known for the Rimac C_Two hypercar, capable of accelerating from nothing to 60 mph in an insane 1.85 seconds. Being experts in the field of making electricity go very fast, they were all too happy to help SEAT make their first electric race car.
It also helped that Porsche (which is owned by Volkswagen) recently purchased a controlling interest in Rimac. SEAT is also owned by Volkswagen, so it’s really just a case of Volkswagen helping itself.
Regardless, we expect to see great things from the Cupra e-Racer once the E TCR racing series gets off the ground.