IMSA President Scott Atherton says the potential addition of the ETCR platform to its portfolio would be “very consistent” to its vision for the future of motorsports.
Atherton revealed that the sanctioning body, which holds the North American rights to TCR, has been evaluating future all-electric race options, including ETCR, which is set to debut in a yet-to-be-named international series in 2020.
Launched during October’s TCR Europe season-ending round at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the platform is set to initially feature a spec powertrain and battery, with manufacturer-specific chassis and bodies styled off the brands’ emerging electric vehicles.
“Hats off to Marcello Lotti, who is the principal behind TCR, to have had the forethought and vision, not only to be talking about it, but to be putting a stake in the ground and talk about deadlines and have running examples of what the ETCR platform could be,” Atherton told e-racing365.
“We are absolutely interested in that. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.”
While a number of manufacturers, including newly announced IMSA automotive partner Hyundai, are planning ETCR programs for 2020, Atherton said it’s unclear when the platform could be exported to North America.
However, he indicated IMSA’s desire to take a “leadership” role in the formula.
“We’ll see how the schedules fall into place. When it’s ready, we’ll be ready,” Atherton said.
“We always want to maintain a leadership role. We would not want to have that example land in someone else’s camp.
“It’s right in line with what we would like to see, if there would be additional content, to become part of the IMSA composite. Having an ETCR platform to join the ranks would be very consistent for our vision for the future.”
Atherton said any possible ETCR element would have to be run as a separate series and not part of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, which features the TCR class.
“That would fit perfectly into the format of our weekends,” he said of an additional series. “Rather than have a long-distance race, two hours or four hours, if you had a 25-minute sprint race, the impact that has on a weekend is minimal.”
IMSA’s VP of Competition Simon Hodgson, who was in attendance at the ETCR launch, echoed Atherton’s sentiments, stating that TCR’s explosive growth bodes well for the future of the all-electric touring car platform.
“It’s very interesting to see the overall concept,” Hodgson told e-racing365. “It has a strong foundation and the technology they’re using to trying to standardizing it. They may open it up to manufacturers in the future for development, but right now the initial concept is to launch a package that any manufacturer can adopt.
“Based on some of the input from the manufacturers in the promoter’s meeting, they’ve been more than happy to do that.”
Hodgson: Relevance is Key for ETCR’s Success
The promotion of relevant technology and sustainable practices will be key to the platform’s success, according to Hodgson.
“We’re a relevant sanctioning body and we look for relevance significance in the motorsports industry,” he said. “Part of that is doing this kind of exploration.
“Electrification is going to be here at some point. In what capacity in North American motorsports remains to be seen.”
Hodgson said WSC Technology’s plans to utilize “off-the-grid” charging, via a domestic power supply at each track instead of generators in the paddock, adds to the further case of relevance.
“That says a lot about the relevance to what a normal road car is,” he said. “You put the car in the garage, you plug it into the wall. The more the racing can be aligned in what the consumer uses, the better.”