Whilst it certainly wasn’t clean sweep in the 2022 FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup for the CUPRA EKS squad, it was definitely a dominant season for the Spanish-based, Swedish-underpinned squad in 2022.
Although for many CUPRA EKS were favourites heading into the year based on their title wins in the PURE ETCR predecessor to FIA ETCR, there had been many changes behind the scenes…
Ahead of the season start, CUPRA Racing formed a brand-new partnership with the ultra-successful EKS team, owned by Mattias Ekström with CUPRA EKS responsible for the operation and development of the CUPRA eRacer.
With the global situation still a challenge with lockdowns and the pandemic throwing curveballs at every step, it was a scrabble to get everything ready for the season-opening Infinite Reality Race FR in May, but that season start saw an emphatic display from the cars in blue, and Ekström emerged as the first King of the Weekend, flanked by an all CUPRA weekend podium with Adrien Tambay second and Tom Blomqvist third.
The rest, as they say, was history.
Here, CUPRA Head of Racing Development Xavi Serra gives his take on the historic first-ever season of FIA ETCR.
Overall, how would you score the team’s season out of ten and why?
It’s a nine. We achieve a lot, probably the maximum we could do, with the icing on the cake being not only taking both titles, but finishing with the top three places in the drivers’ standings too. Of course, there’s always things that can be improved so it’s not a ten; we have margin to improve for next season.
Where do you see scope for improvement?
On the on the sporting side, obviously, we didn’t claim all the wins. So there’s still room to improve! On the organisational internal, there are always things that we will do better next year. It was intense at the start of the season and we made improvements and changes as the season progressed. Starting the year with everything in place from 2022 means it can run smoother.
What was the secret to the squad’s success in 2022?
Relative to 2021, we improved in all areas. We improved our car performance as we knew our rivals were pushing hard and it was clear that everyone took a step forward in 2022. We improved our driver line-up – and this is something that again we saw across the board from all the squads – and we improved the operations of the new team with the EKS link. All in all, it was many steps in all directions to bring the growth and improvement.
Which was the best race of the season for you?
My personal favourite race was Jarama as we performed so well on home soil. We managed to achieve a podium lockout with our president looking on in person at the event; it was a great day for CUPRA!
It wouldn’t have been possible without…
It is impossible to single out any one individual or department as our titles are due to the hard work from every single area and every single member of the team, the mechanics, engineers, communications people, everyone back at headquarters and the driers. Everybody had their part.