Doonan: “Market Will Speak” on Launch of IMSA ETCR Series

Photo: IMSA

IMSA President John Doonan has not given any specific timeframe for when a U.S.-based series featuring ETCR cars could launch although admitted he hopes to have it in IMSA’s portfolio “sooner rather than later.”

Doonan’s comments come in wake of the all-electric platform making its North American public debut Friday at Daytona International Speedway, with Augusto Farfus turning demonstration laps in a Hyundai Veloster N ETCR electric touring car (pictured above).

The new TCR platform will initially be rolled out in the global Pure ETCR series this year, with plans for European and Chinese ETCR championships by 2022 or 2023, according to WSC chairman Marcello Lotti.

Lotti hinted that a U.S.-based series, which IMSA has been eyeing up, could come around the same timeframe, although Doonan wouldn’t give a specific target other than expressing continued interest.

Doonan’s predecessor Scott Atherton previously told Sportscar365 that it’s “only a question of when” the sanctioning would adopt the formula, as part of its ‘IMSA Green’ initiatives.

“The IMSA platform is based around the partnerships of our 18 auto manufacturers in providing a cost-effective marketing tool for the auto industry,” Doonan said.

“Marcello is doing it all over the world. We’re honored to be his exclusive partner here in the U.S. to put TCR and ETCR on the race track. The market will speak.

“We’ll continue to work with Marcello’s team on the time we can bring ETCR hopefully to the IMSA portfolio, sooner rather than later.”

A total of four manufacturers have already committed to the ETCR formula, although Hyundai and Alfa Romeo are the only two that are current IMSA automotive partners, and brands that currently sell cars in North America.

Volkswagen Group-owned Cupra and MG are the other two manufacturers currently committed to building cars around the platform’s spec electric powertrain, featuring 500 kW (680 horsepower) of peak power. 

“We do plan to continue to pursue this, see what is feasible and do it when it makes the most sense for our automotive manufacturer partners as well as our race event promoter partners that would have the appropriate time on the calendar during race weekends to implement this,” Doonan said.

“We need to work with the manufacturers and determine what we could do to implement what meets their objectives. We want to be the platform and have the opportunity in the markets that make the most sense for the manufacturer partners.

“The work that Marcello and his team has done to get this become a reality is step one. Now it’s our responsibility to work with our existing manufacturers to see what they’d like to do to leverage the opportunity.”

Promoters to Have Choice of Pure ETCR, Traditional Race Formats

Lotti said that series promoters will have the choice of utilizing the rallycross-style Pure ETCR format or traditional circuit racing for its series as the electric platform is rolled out around the world. 

“Our idea is to recreate the platform that we have in TCR, to have these regulations adapted in different regions in the world,” Lotti said.

“We want to give the promoter freedom to decide the format, like Eurosport already did [with Pure ETCR]. They decided to have this kind of format.

“It’s an exciting one and a mix [of] pure racing and classic circuit racing but in the middle with rallycross formula. I think it could be exciting for the fans.

“This format could also help the potential of the car because you can run 500 kW, nearly full throttle. It would be a good way to promote this new electric motorsport concept.

“All of the promoters know they can choose the ‘classic’ format of the TCR races that exist around the world like WTCR or TCR Europe, China, etc. 

“We don’t want to leave too much freedom to find other formats. We are ready to discuss clearly but today in front of the promoters we put these two formats.”

Despite delays due to COVID-19, Lotti said Pure ETCR is set to launch this June, with agreements for European and Chinese ETCR championships set to be made official later this summer.

“I’m very happy to discuss with John [Doonan] in the future to see ETCR in the U.S,” he added.

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