eTouring Car World Cup (ETCR)
8 minute read
The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) is the pinnacle of touring car racing, featuring some of the best racers in the world. But, the beloved WTCR championship is changing this year. Find out how the changes are bringing in a whole new era of racing for electric vehicles and what this means for us at Hyundai.
The WTCR is changing
In recent years, with the combined pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the FIA, and the motorsports world as a whole, have come under increasing pressure to evolve. This has resulted in changes being made to the WTCR in order to cut emissions, find more sustainable ways to race, and cut costs.
Last November, the worldwide touring car championship WTCR officially ended its final season in Saudi Arabia with the BRC Hyundai Team and its driver Mikel Azcona claiming double championships – including the manufacturer’s and driver’s championship.
The Touring Car Race (TCR) format continues to thrive worldwide, but the WTCR has faced several challenges. Being a smaller event, the WTCR has struggled to acquire the money needed to fully embrace hybridization and the introduction of next-generation fuels.
The past few years have been especially tough, as logistics costs have soared. This has left the WTCR with nowhere to go. So, the FIA, which sets the rules for motorsports, and Discovery Sports Events (DSC), the promoter of WTCR, decided to create a new version of the championships to embrace the innovations that are being made in the world of motorsports.
The WTCR will now be called the
TCR World Tour
The TCR race isn’t going anywhere. As the most beloved touring car series in the world, WTCR will become the TCR World Tour from the 2023 season onwards. Starting this year, all the racers participating in the World Tour will be assigned races in the TCR series events. This means that drivers will be assigned to race at Silverstone in TCR UK, Mount Panorama in TCR Australia, Paul Ricard in TCR Europe, and Macau in TCR Asia.
How does the new TCR World Tour Format work?
There are more than 200 TCR-sanctioned events and 30 series using the TCR regulations worldwide. Nine of these events have been selected to be part of the TCR World Tour including TCR Europe, TCR Italy, TCR South America, TCR Australia and TCR Asia.
These nine events have been selected over four continents, and the season will begin in Europe. The points awarded in these events will be increased by 50% compared to those awarded for the other events in the TCR World Ranking. After the ninth event, the first 15 drivers in the overall classification of the TCR World Tour will qualify directly for the TCR World Final, regardless of their positions in the TCR World Ranking. They will be joined by the top 45 drivers classified in the TCR World Ranking (by September 30th) and they will all compete in the final match where titles will be awarded for Drivers, Teams, and Manufacturers.
The ETCR – the future of TCR racing?
With the changes being made to TCR racing, it might seem that the days for this kind of racing are numbered. But that’s not true. The future of TCR racing lies in the ETCR.
As the motosports world comes under increasing pressure to adhere to environmental goals, there is a transition taking place in front of our eyes to include hybrid and now electric racing cars. In fact, the ETCR, devised by TCR promoter WSC, unveiled in 2018 as the Pure ETCR, and had its inaugural season in 2021 – is blazing the trail for a new generation of TCR racing.
The cars in the ETCR may look like combustion engine TCR cars, but there is one fundamental difference. Look under the hood and instead of a combustion engine, there is an electric motor that powers the rear wheels. Every car uses the same power system. A 4‒motor method is deployed in which two motors independently drive the left and right rear wheels, and with this system the torque vectoring, which creates the turning force, is made possible.
This motor supplied by MAGELEC is actually capable of producing greater power than TCR engines with the continuous output reaching 300 kW (402 hp) or a maximum of 500 kW (680 hp). The 800V/ 62kWh battery supplied by Williams Advanced Engineering can drive 40km on the track and can be charged from 10% to 90% in one hour.
With this much power, the tires on the electric touring cars need to be able to withstand a huge amount of torque. Tires can be swapped depending on the temperature or weather conditions, but many manufacturers are now choosing to unify tires to save on logistics costs.
The challenges for the ETCR
The biggest challenge for the ETCR is the fact that electric touring cars have a range of 40km which is not quite enough for racing. ETCRs are also 300kg heavier than TCR cars of the same class. What’s more, in races where drivers need to rapidly accelerate and brake suddenly, the driving distance is limited even more. Right now, the biggest dilemma for electric racing is that if you increase the battery, the mileage will increase, but this will make the cars even heavier and more expensive.
Add to this the problem of having to charge the cars regularly and for longer periods of time, it’s easy to see why ETCRs can’t yet be used for mid to long-distance racing. To get around this, the ETCR is divided into several sprint races.
How does the ETCR work?
The twelve race cars currently participating in ETCR are divided into two random groups of six called Pool Fast and Pool Furious, and they compete separately throughout the weekend. The six cars go through the preliminaries and are then divided into two groups with three cars each.
After this, the quarterfinals (QF) and semifinals (SF) take place. The top three in the preliminaries are QF1, and the bottom three are QF2. The 1st and 2nd place in QF1 and the 1st place in QF2 race in the semi‒final 1 (SF1). The 3rd place from QF1 advances to Semi‒Final 2 (SF2) along with the 2nd and 3rd places from QF2. After this complex process, six cars compete in the super final, just like the rallycross system.
Drivers can also win points for all races from the preliminaries to the quarter finals, semi-finals, and super finals. 15, 12, 9, 6, 3, 0 points can be won just for qualifying, 20, 15, 10 points for advancing to the QF1, and 15, 10, 5 points for QF2. After that, 25‒20‒15 points are awarded in SF1, and 20, 15, and 5 points are awarded respectively in SF2. The driver who collects the most points right up until the last Super Final ‒ 40, 30, 20, 15, 10, 5 points ‒ is crowned the winner.
The super finals, which involve the top six drivers use a standing start system. The race time is 15 minutes for the semi‒finals and quarterfinals, and 20 minutes for the super finals. At the 4.381km Hungaroring, the Super Final is a 5‒lap race and the French Four Ville, less than 3km long, is an 8‒lap race.
The VELOSTER N ETCR: Hyundai’s
first zero emission ETCR
If you watch the ETCR races this year, you will probably spot our VELOSTER N ETCR – our first EV racing car. We have been developing this car at Hyundai Motorsport in Alzenau, Germany since 2018, which made its first appearance at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Inside the reinforced chassis of the VELOSTER N ETCR, you will find a double wishbone suspension and a total of four motors at the rear – two each for the left and right rear wheels. The ETCR is powered by an 800V battery with a capacity of 65kWh, which is provided by Williams. It has a basic output of 300kW, and 200kW (total 500kW) can be added by pressing the boost button. This special button can be used for overtaking or increasing the distance and can give the driver an edge when pushed at the right moment.
This season, Azcona, who became the final WTCR champion in Saudi Arabia last year, has announced that he wants to win this year’s ETCR with Hyundai. Although the ETCR presents its own challenges, this quiet, powerful, clean, and intense race is here to stay and we’re very excited to see how this season evolves.
The innovations that we have made for EVs extends beyond the racetrack. If you're looking for a high-performance car for everyday driving during the week and speeding around a racetrack on weekends, check out the i30 N, i30 Fastback N and VELOSTER N.
We are on a mission to shape the future of mobility, on the racetrack and beyond. Follow @hyundai on Instagram to follow our drivers in the TCR World Tour and ETCR races this year, and find out how our cars are evolving for everyday driving too.