ELECTRIC RALLYCROSS CAR STUNS ON DEBUT
Photos: Colin Casserley, Hal Ridge, Trevor Coulson
The world’s first electric rallycross car made its competition debut at a national event in Austria last weekend.
Former World Rally Championship driver Manfred Stohl set the third fastest lap time against World Rally Car and Rallycross Supercar rivals.
The annual Race of Austrian Champions event was held at former FIA European Rallycross Championship venue Greinbach, where a range of cars competed in rally and rallycross categories.
Created by Austrian research and development firm STARD, the 544bhp four-wheel-drive machine is based on an adapted Super 2000 Peugeot 207 chassis.
Stohl and the car overcame wet conditions and early tyre troubles to prove its potential against the more conventionally powered machinery, including Max Pucher’s FIA World Rallycross Championship-specification Ford Fiesta Supercar.
Stohl said: “After a great test session at Greinbach on Thursday, we were a bit too optimistic with the tyre choice.
“It was particularly tough with a brand new car in such difficult conditions but, on the other hand, we collected a lot of important new data and experience for the development of the car. We’re very happy with the day. We have seen that our torque distribution on the front axle needs some more optimisation for such tricky conditions in order to avoid too much understeer.”
STARD’S project ran for the first time following a spate of announcements from manufacturers, including Audi and Volkswagen, about their potential involvement in the electrification of rallycross in the future. VW is said to be particularly keen on rallycross following its WRC withdrawal.
“For quite some time we have been working on a dedicated rallycross variant of this car with over 1000bhp and four motors [one per wheel],” said STARD chief executive officer Michael Sakowicz. “We are evaluating various processing possibilities and are in discussions with some potential partners for the future already.”