A new motorsport championship for 670bhp electric crossovers called Supercharge has been announced ahead of its planned inaugural season in 2022.
The organisers of the new championship are planning eight events for the opening season, with racing taking place on short, spectator-friendly obstacle-filled circuits in urban areas. The one-day events will feature 15 short races in a one-day format, with the plan for eight manufacturer-backed teams to run each run two drivers.
The initiative has been developed by Max Welti, a former Porsche Motorsport boss and Sauber Formula 1 team director, and Rob Armstrong, the former head of motorsport at sports marketing firm IMG.
Armstrong said: “Motorsport is at a crossroads. We see a path towards electrification, and there's a place for a road car-based race series. We see a clear space for Supercharge as a road car-relevant motorsport series. It will show that electric car racing can be spectacular and fun.”
Welti added that “car brands need a strong marketing platform to promote their latest and future cars, and to showcase EV battery technology”. He said that Supercharge bosses had consulted with a number of manufacturers when developing the series and were confident of attracting brands to take part, but he declined to say if any had yet committed.
While Supercharge will be open to manufacturers, it will use a spec car, named the SC01 and developed by former Sauber F1 and Volkswagen Motorsport technical chief Willy Rampf. The machine features an electric motor on each axle offering drive to all four wheels, and organisers claim a 0-62mph time of 2.5sec.
Although every team must use the basic SC01 chassis, teams and manufacturers will have freedom to alter the bodywork to ensure the product resembles roadgoing crossovers – with the choice of vehicle reflecting the most popular segment of the current road car market.
Similar to the technical rules for the Formula E electric single-seater series, manufacturers will be free to develop their own technology for the 40kWh battery. The racers are designed to use road-car fast-charging systems to offer further relevance to manufacturers.
Organisers have yet to say where Supercharge will race in 2022 but are planning for three events in Europe, two in the Middle East, two in Asia, one in China and one in the US.
Each event will take place on a track of around a kilometre (0.62 miles) in length and use a spectator-friendly ‘amphitheatre’ design. Each track will also feature four obstacles: a 2.5-metre jump ramp, a low-friction zone with reduced grip, a water splash and a rallycross-style ’Superloop’ track extension that each car must drive once per race.
Similar to rallycross, each event will feature a knockout format with 12 heat races of up to six laps setting the field for two semi-finals, with the top runners then proceeding to the final.
German automotive engineering firm Holzer is working with Supercharge to develop the SC01. Supercharge has also developed the format with help from the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) and governing body Motorsport UK. Organisers say they will appliy for International Series status from the FIA, world motorsport's governing body.
Supercharge is the latest in a fast-growing number of electric motorsport championships that have either launched or are under development. Formula E is currently preparing for its eighth season, and series founder Alejandro Agag will launch the Extreme E championship for electric off-roaders next year.
The Pure ETCR electric touring car series, based on the popular TCR chassis and developed by the organisers of the World Touring Car Cup, is due to begin next year, plus World Rallycross is due to add a new RX2e electric class next year.