The people behind Cupra's on-track racing success

At every level of motorsport, behind each on-track racing success there is a team working hard in the background to make it happen.

The people behind Cupra's on-track racing success

Xavi Serra is head of Cupra Racing, looking after the Spanish brand’s teams in both the FIA World Touring Car Cup and Pure ETCR, the new-for-2021 all-electric touring car series.

It’s not only drivers, like Cupra’s Mikel Azcona and Jordi Gene, who double up between WTCR and Pure ETCR, but off-track personnel too.

“My role within the team is to lead both research and development and track teams in all the championships that we are participating [in],” says Serra, who has overseen Mattias Ekstrom’s successful championship bid in Pure ETCR.

Cupra Racing joins forces with Hungary-based Zengo Motorsport to field four drivers in each category, with that operational support especially important when the two series compete alongside each other at the same meeting, as has happened three times this year, including at Pau-Arnos last weekend.

For example, six engineers plus nine mechanics, including tyre technicians and an electrical specialist, work on the two Pure ETCR cars. Engineers have to deal with WTCR’s petrol-powered internal combustion engines and Pure ETCR’s 500kW (670bhp) electric motors.

Cupra Racing team members

Cupra Racing team members

Photo by: Cupra

Aitor Lago is a race engineer for Cupra Racing.

He explains: “I have the relationship with the drivers, so we speak about set-ups and strategies, what to do during the race. I also take care of the radio during the race.

“When the car is on track, I am the one who is making the decisions so I have to think fast.

“It’s quite different between each championship. Sometimes things happen where you can have a plan, but then there are always surprises that you have to react to.

“In those moments, all the team is looking at you, so you have to decide, and it’s a big pressure.

“In WTCR you go session by session, you try to develop the car and get the best set-up.

“On the radio, you tell the driver how many laps to go, if he should keep some tyres for the last part of the race or if he should be on full attack mode.

Cupra Racing team members

Cupra Racing team members

Photo by: Cupra

“Pure ETCR is much more complicated. Because there are fewer cars, it might look easier, but it’s not.

“For example, you have the Power-Up [push-to-pass] function and, in the SuperFinals, you have two drivers, so you have to think about the strategy with the two cars, using one to defend or the other to attack.

“For me, Pure ETCR is a bit more stressful!”

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