With more than 25 years of experience in different touring cars, rally and karting competitions, he is one of the most versatile race car drivers in the world. Now he has embarked on one of the biggest challenges of his career - to participate in the development of the CUPRA e-Racer as an official driver. He is working closely with the team of engineers and technicians to fine tune the world's first fully electric race car and compete in the new ETCR race format in 2020. Everything is ready at the Montmeló Circuit in Barcelona for Mattias Ekström to test it for the first time on a paved surface, and we meet up with him in the pits to get his reactions.
What do you expect from this initial test?
What I'm really looking forward to is being able to control and harness all the car's power. I think the biggest challenge is getting used to driving with no gearbox and without the roar of the engine as a reference for knowing, for example, how fast to go when taking curves.
What was your initial impression?
CUPRA ambassador and official driver Mattias Ekström takes the e-Racer to Montmeló.
It felt really good, especially when reaching full power coming out of the slow cures on the circuit. I really enjoyed the first lap. The second also went well, although I began to notice that I was forcing the rear tyres. I still need some time to get used to the sound of the engine; it's much quieter than any other I've driven before, and I'm a very emotional driver. In addition, I have to pay close attention to energy management in each lap; that's essential with an electric race car, almost as important as its speed.
How does it feel to participate in the development of the first ever fully electric race car?
I hope to be able to help the CUPRA team with my experience and the feedback from the car's steering wheel to make it faster, but at the same time more consistent and easy to drive. Once we begin competing with the CUPRA e-Racer, we have to keep our eyes on the victory and to do that we must be well prepared.
What do you think competing will be like with the e-Racer in the ETCR races?
Winning is everything to me; it's the same with the CUPRA e-Racer as with any of the other cars I've competed with. So my dream is to win and be the champion. I want to put CUPRA on the podium of global motorsport.
Two champions, current stats
- Reaches a top speed of 270 km/h
- Accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds and from 0 to 200 km/h in 8.2 seconds
- Its 450 kg battery is as powerful as 9,000 mobile phone batteries connected at the same time
- Its four engines combined reach 12,000 revs compared to 6,500 on a petrol powered race car, and all with a single gear
- It delivers 300 kW of continuous power, reaching peaks of 500 kW
- 2016 FIA World Rally Cross champion
- Two-time winner of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, with a total of 25 victories in this competition
- Three-time winner of the Race of Champions
- 25 years competing in karting, rally and touring car races