ABT confirms Mattias Ekström as male driver and CUPRA as main partner
14 September 2020, Hamburg: ABT Sportsline has today confirmed Mattias Ekström as its male driver and CUPRA as its main partner in Extreme E, the pioneering electric off-road racing series which commences early next year.
The announcement was made at the official opening of the first CUPRA Garage in Europe in Hamburg, Germany, where the team’s ODYSSEY 21 show car – bearing its striking CUPRA design – made its world premiere.
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, commented: “We’re delighted to welcome CUPRA on-board as Extreme E’s first automotive partner, an announcement that truly underscores ABT Sportsline’s commitment to the series. Both brands are trailblazers in the domain of electrification, and this marks another step in the right direction towards sparking a genuine change in the wider automotive market.
“It is also great news to confirm Mattias Ekström as a driver for Extreme E’s first season in 2021. His racing record speaks for itself, and having proven his ability in touring cars and rallycross, I have no doubt that he will rapidly get to grips with both the ODYSSEY 21 and the unique challenge posed by Extreme E. I look forward to seeing him in action.”
One of the world’s most versatile racing drivers, Ekström will make his return to ABT Sportsline for the first time in three years. From 2001 to 2017, the Swede competed for the team in the high-profile, pan-European DTM touring car series, clinching the crown in both 2004 and 2007 and finishing inside the top three in the standings on seven further occasions.
In evidence of his all-round capabilities, Ekström also won the FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2016, going on to finish runner-up in each of the following two seasons, and he is now preparing to put that diverse skillset to use in international motor racing’s most exciting, innovative and spectacular new series. In line with Extreme E’s commitment to gender equality, his female team-mate will be confirmed at a later date.
Mattias Ekström, ABT driver, commented: “It feels a bit like coming home. Twenty years ago, the DTM was a great challenge which we mastered together. Now, it is high time for a new adventure – Extreme E. I think the concept is ingenious, and I am sure that we have a strong team together with CUPRA and ABT.”
Ekström has been an ambassador for CUPRA for the past year, and in joining forces with ABT in Extreme E, the sporty Spanish brand becomes the first automotive manufacturer to enter the series and will contribute to lining up a team of engineers for the electric odyssey.
Wayne Griffiths, CUPRA CEO, said: “CUPRA and ABT Sportsline are long-term partners. We both aim to transfer the passion of the track onto the streets, and we have wide experience in the world of e-racing. Now we are reinforcing our partnership with our joint participation in Extreme E, which for CUPRA represents the brand’s challenger attitude in the racing world and its ambition to explore new motorsport experiences.”
Dr. Werner Tietz, SEAT Executive Vice-President for R&D, added: “The decision to become the first automotive manufacturer to participate in Extreme E and reinforce our co-operation with ABT is proof of both partners’ shared vision of re-inventing the world of high-performance cars through electrification.”
The co-operation between CUPRA and ABT Sportsline began in 2018, focussing initially on the refinement of road cars, and both brands have considerable experience and expertise in electric motorsport. CUPRA developed the world’s first all-electric touring car, the CUPRA e-Racer, while ABT was a founding member of the FIA Formula E Championship, winning the Drivers’ title with Lucas Di Grassi in 2016/17 and the Teams’ title for Audi the following season.
Indeed, electric mobility and sustainability have been a staple of daily business at ABT Sportsline for the past decade, with subsidiary ABT e-Line developing and producing electrified versions of the Caddy and Transporter models in conjunction with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
Hans-Jürgen Abt, Managing Partner of ABT Sportsline, said: “We love innovation, competition, e-mobility and the feeling of being a pioneer in something completely new. That is why we were involved in Formula E from the very beginning in 2014 and why we also decided to become a member of the Extreme E family. With CUPRA, we now have a partner at our side who, just like us, firmly believes in the revolutionary concept, both in the sporting field and in terms of marketing off the track.”
Set to begin in early 2021, Extreme E’s inaugural season will be staged across five remote environments featuring Arctic, Desert, Rainforest, Glacier and Ocean locations. Selecting places that have already been damaged or affected by climate change issues, the races will draw attention to the challenges of these diverse ecosystems while demonstrating the performance of purely electric SUVs. The five-event global voyage will utilise its international sporting platform for the purpose of promoting electrification, environment and equality.
To learn more about Extreme E, visit – www.Extreme-E.com
About Extreme E:
Extreme E is a radical new racing series, which will see electric SUVs competing in extreme environments around the world which have already been damaged or affected by climate and environmental issues. The five-race global voyage highlights the impact of climate change and human interference in some of the world’s most remote locations and promotes the adoption of electric vehicles to help preserve the environment and protect the planet.
To minimise local impact, Extreme E races will not be open to spectators, with fans instead invited to follow the action through live TV broadcast, and on social media.
The RMS St. Helena, a former passenger cargo ship, has undergone a multi-million Euro refit to minimise emissions and transform her into Extreme E’s operations hub, a move which is estimated to lower carbon output by two thirds in comparison to air freight. It will be used to transport the championship’s freight and infrastructure, including vehicles, to the nearest port, minimising Extreme E’s footprint as well as being used to facilitate scientific research through an on-board laboratory.
Extreme E is also pioneering hydrogen fuel cell technology which will enable its race fleet to be charged using zero emission energy. This innovative solution from AFC Energy uses water and sun to generate hydrogen power. Not only will this process emit no greenhouse emissions, its only by-product will be water, which will be utilised elsewhere on-site.
Founded in 1896 as a smithy, the company in the German Allgäu region, now being run in the fourth generation by Hans-Jürgen Abt, has evolved into the world market leader for tuned automobiles from the Volkswagen Group and is represented in more than 60 countries. The company started its motorsport history about seven decades ago and has clinched several titles in touring cars, endurance categories and single seater racing since then. The know-how from the race track has also been inspiring the tuning work for road vehicles. A few years ago, the company added a third pillar to its core business as well as on the track: electric mobility. From 2014 to 2017, ABT, as the privateer Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, was active in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, and in 2017 celebrated the Drivers’ title with Lucas di Grassi. Since the 2017/2018 season, ABT has been taking care of the e-tron race cars as the fielding team for Audi.
CUPRA is a brand from the SEAT Group, based on the contemporary design and sporty performance of its electrified models. Since its launch as an independent brand in 2018, sales have shot up and CUPRA closed 2019 with a growth of 72% over the previous year with nearly 25,000 units sold. In 2020, the CUPRA Leon and the CUPRA Formentor, the first model designed specifically for the brand, will hit the market. CUPRA has nearly 250 specialized points of sale throughout the world.
Coinciding with its second anniversary, CUPRA has inaugurated its new headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), the CUPRA Garage, a 2,400 square meter building located next to SEAT’s corporate headquarters. CUPRA also has a racing car workshop, the CUPRA Racing Factory, where it developed the first 100% electric touring racing car, the CUPRA e-Racer.
In addition to becoming F.C. Barcelona’s exclusive automotive and mobility partner, CUPRA has formed an elite team of ambassadors, including the German goalkeeper Marc ter Stegen or the Swedish pilot Mattias Ekström, among others.
Then Continental, CBMM and LuisaViaRoma as normal.
About Continental Tyres: Founding Partner and Official Tyre Partner
Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent, and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transportation. In 2019, Continental generated sales of €44.5 billion and currently employs more than 230,000 people in 59 countries and markets.
The Tyres business area has 24 production and development locations worldwide. Continental is one of the leading tyre manufacturers with more than 56,000 employees and posted sales of €11.7 billion in 2019 in this business area. Continental ranks among the technology leaders in tyre production and offers a broad product range for passenger cars, commercial and special-purpose vehicles as well as two-wheelers. Through continuous investment in research and development, Continental makes a major contribution to safe, cost-effective and ecologically efficient mobility. The portfolio of the Tyres business area includes services for the tyre trade and fleet applications, as well as digital management systems for tyres.
About CBMM: Founding Supplier
CBMM is the world leading supplier of niobium products and technology. Headquartered in Brazil, with offices and subsidiaries in China, Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States, CBMM offers technical innovation to customers around the globe through a team of over 2,000 highly trained, dedicated professionals providing cutting-edge niobium products and technology to over 300 customers in 50 countries.
Established in 1929, LuisaViaRoma has been an online luxury destination since 1999. In 2019, LuisaViaRoma celebrated the company’s 90th anniversary, as well as the 20th anniversary of its online business.