It’s been a pretty fine first season in the FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup for CUPRA EKS and in the build-up to the season finale at Sachsenring the fast and furious foursome share their thoughts on how they experience the thrill of every race.
“I’ve been doing this since I was five years old; it’s second nature to me,” says Adrien Tambay. The French driver is one of this year’s additions to the team and is currently at the top of the standings.
He’s closely followed by Mattias Ekström, last season’s ETCR title winner, who’s been racing non-stop for more than 20 years. “It all started as a childhood dream. Then you hope it’ll come true. Sometimes I still feel like a child, and I keep visualising and dream of winning every race,” he says.
The season title winner will be determined at the Sachsenring in Germany at Race DE on September 23-25
Poised to react to the green light. Racing in this competition is hectic and once inside the car just seconds before the grid light turns green, concentration is key.
“It’s a very strange feeling, because as these are electric cars you don’t hear anything. You know the car is running because the system lights are on, but the real sensation comes the first moment you step on the accelerator and go full throttle. It’s a powerful feeling,” says driver Jordi Gené.
Adrien Tambay admits that it’s the moment to let go. “For me it’s the instant when my stomach stops hurting. It’s when everything starts and there’s no more stress. You close the visor on your helmet and you’re good to go. There’s no time to stress out anymore and you just have to concentrate on yourself and your performance.”
For Tom Blomqvist, who is also in his first year with the team, “I get an adrenaline rush when the red lights are flashing, my heart starts pumping hard and when they change to green, I’m in my comfort zone and concentrating on what I’ve been doing pretty much my whole life.”
The CUPRA e-Racer at full throttle. Their goal is to be the fastest and cross the finish line first, at the wheel of a car with 500 kW of power that goes from 0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds.
“Driving it is a unique challenge. It’s very difficult to push it to the limit because it’s such a fast car,” according to Ekström. “The best way I can describe it is like when you watch a Star Wars movie” adds Gené, “where everything happens so fast. Acceleration is so constant right from the start that you feel like everything is approaching so fast.”
The CUPRA EKS team members have had several victories in this FIA ETCR season
“Adrenaline is in the DNA of a race driver, the feeling of wanting to go the extra mile” says last year’s ETCR title winner, Mattias Ekström
Visualising the finish line. In those moments when everything is a blur, there’s one thing the CUPRA EKS team drivers agree on: visualising the finish line.
“Positive visualisation is very important, because there’s no room for mistakes and you have to be at the top of your game at all times,” says Tambay. It’s what Jordi Gené does even long before each race, “the image of crossing the finish line first is always at the back of my mind, even the night before when you go to sleep. I visualise the start, my competitors and everything that could happen. I always dream of winning.”
“Adrenaline is in the DNA of a race driver, the feeling of wanting to go the extra mile” says last year’s champion Mattias Ekström.
It’s just one more event this year where the CUPRA EKS four can get their fix.
“The feelings we experience are a result of the sport we’re in, the intense competitive pressure, the speed… and the adrenaline rushing through our veins,” according to Blomqvist, something his team-mate Ekström agrees with. “Adrenaline is in the DNA of a race driver, the feeling of wanting to go the extra mile, to do the best for the team, for the brand. It’s also a great feeling because it brings out the best in me. I’m an adrenaline junkie.”