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International Expansion, Hill Climb on Radar for smart e-cup

Smart e-cup organizers looking at options for international expansion, hill climb series…

Photo: LPD Italia

Organizers of the smart EQ fortwo e-cup are considering options for establishing additional series outside Italy as well as a hill climb championship for next year.

The Italian single-make touring car series concluded its second season at Adria last weekend and enjoyed 20-car grids throughout its six-round campaign this year.

One of series organizer LPD Italia’s goals for the future is to expand the concept outside of Italy by setting up extra series elsewhere, according to the championships’ brand manager Massimiliano Palumbo.

“For us, [this is] just the first step,” Palumbo told e-racing365.

“We want to grow again and the goal is to go outside the Italian borders, to find the right way to have some series in, for example, Germany, Portugal, or in other countries. Why not?

“In the end, we could have a kind of world final with the best drivers coming from all the series. This would be a nice idea for the future.”

In addition to expanding internationally, modified versions of the smart EQ fortwo race cars could also be used in an Italian hill climb championship after an initial entry this year.

“We have one car racing in the Italian hill climb championship (Trofeo Italiano Velocita Montagna) with Marco Maffessoli,” Palumbo explains.

“It is a kind of experiment. We have to see what the behavior of the car is.

“Our idea for next season is also have a hill climb series beside the track series. The performance of the smart e-cup is between 1.4 and 1.6 liter [petrol] engines. The performance is between these two classes.

“We are working to understand if it is possible to organize the hill climb championship with a number of cars, I don’t know how many now.

“There is big interest in it because the track series lacks something strange, something funny.”

As for LPD’s plans for expanding internationally, promoters from different countries in Europe attended the last three events of the year to explore the concept.

“They are coming to see the series and understand how they can do it,” Palumbo said.

“There is some interest outside Europe. We are ready and we want to export the smart e-cup format, for sure. We have to see if it is possible.”

Plans to set up a rallycross series earlier this year fell through despite a successful test in February, and Palumbo admits it was “probably not the right time” for a move to rallycross.

“Maybe it was too early this season,” he said. “Twenty drivers tested the cars and they were very happy about its behavior and they were impressed because when they saw it, they see a road car with a [roll cage] but when they drive it, they discover a different car, more of a racing car.

“Probably, it was not the right time but we are working. It was an experiment, we had lots of kilometers of experience and we developed the right car for rally also.

“It is the same car that we used in WRC at Sardinia. I don’t know if next season we will have a rallycross series but if there is a chance, we are ready.”

The cars also made an appearance in the Trophee Andros round at Isola 2000, where they were tested on ice and snow by a number of drivers including Nico Prost. The season launched with a parade around the Rome E-Prix circuit during the Formula E weekend in April (pictured above).

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is e-racing365's Managing Editor and also European Editor for Sportscar365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations at the University of Birmingham. Contact Jake

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Dat Peter

    November 16, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    I´m driving hillclimb since 2014 with a Smart 450 (120hp) ans have many fun there…
    Driving with an e-smart will be fantastic, I think!
    Can anyone sponsore me an e-smart?? 😉

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