Cupra is using its Pure ETCR race drivers Mattias Ekström and Jordi Gene for testing its new Formentor plug-in hybrid road car on the track.
Ekström and Gene were confirmed as Cupra’s race drivers for the new Pure ETCR electric touring car series last week, having both held development roles with the Cupra e-Racer ETCR car.
In addition to preparations for a race program with the Spanish brand, which is a subsidiary of SEAT, the pair have also been involved in development of the Cupra Formentor road car.
The Formentor was initially revealed as a concept car last year but is set to be unveiled officially next week, as the first car developed entirely by Cupra.
It is a plug-in hybrid SUV, but details of its exact technical configuration are yet to be released.
Cupra says it has used its electric race drivers for testing the Formentor to “achieve the maximum precision” on the track after completing the car’s on-road testing.
“This is the first time we’ve performed a test of this kind, in which racing drivers work together with engineers to determine the car’s maturity in its final stage of development”, said Cupra’s technical director Marta Almuni.
“The reactions of the car are much more extreme, so by achieving a flawless operation of the vehicle [on the track], we are ensuring its excellence on the street.
“We have a car that combines the qualities of SUVs and sports cars, with a racing feel coupled with a noble demeanour.
“Thanks to [Ekström and Gene’s] experience, they know exactly how to distinguish the different aspects of the car, so they are very specific in their assessments and that is of great help to us.”
Their involvement covers many different aspects of the Formentor’s development, with feedback either implemented straight away in a pit stop or later at the factory.
“The steering wheel accurately transmits what is going on under the wheels and the suspension allows you to be in control at all times,” Gene tells Almuni during a pit stop.
“The driving position offers a lot of safety, as it provides great visibility. I would still integrate the vehicle electronics even more.”