Sunday, August 1, 2021
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Racing lines: How Oliver Webb is getting ready for ETCR


Tiny range but enormous power

At Pure ETCR’s launch event last February, the organisers made it clear that their focus wasn’t on “saving the planet” – a pointed reference to Extreme E’s climate change crusade. Instead, Williams Advanced Engineering, which also supplies the battery for Extreme E and will do so for Formula E’s forthcoming Gen3 car, was commissioned to contribute to a bespoke system that puts the power in powertrain.

Range is an all-too-obvious shortfall of EVs, so forget trying to create ‘normal’ motorsport: Pure ETCR makes a virtue out of its limitations, hence the blink-and-you-will-miss-it race plan. At the behest of Marcello Lotti, the brains behind conventional TCR racing, WAE came up with motors offering 402bhp of continuous power and a 670bhp peak, plus a 62kWh battery that can be charged from 10-90% in just under an hour by the series’ portable hydrogen fuel-cell chargers.

“I was shocked by the amount of power it has,” says Webb on his first impressions. “Yes, it’s a touring car and it’s bigger and heavier than a Formula E car, but those make 335bhp, and this makes close to 700bhp. That’s a lot of grunt.

“And the format of the racing is exciting. These rallycross-style, highintensity ‘battles’ are a great idea. People will appreciate they are not trying to pretend it’s the same as petrol racing. Their approach is ‘let’s make this exciting with technology that also happens to be saving the planet’ rather than ‘we’re aiming to save the planet, and we hope the racing is exciting too’.”

Keeping very busy

While Pure ETCR’s range is limited, the same certainly can’t be said for Webb. He must be one of the busiest professional racers around right now. Aside from his EV quest, Webb has also joined ARC Bratislava for a return to the LMP2 class in the WEC.

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“We’re pushing to get an Oreca, because it’s the quickest chassis, but Ligier is supporting the team, because it’s the only one [it supplies] on the grid,” he explains. “We will do the best that we can.”



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