Following a 2020 season marred by the coronavirus pandemic in which CUPRA maintained its competitive spirit on the track and through virtual racing, the brand is committed to strengthening its presence in the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) with two of the car brand’s drivers and four of its racing models on the grid.
Drivers Jordi Gené and Mikel Azcona, who are part of the CUPRA Racing Tribe of ambassadors and are involved in the development of series and competition models, will be racing in the 2021 WTCR as members of the Zengő Motorsport team. The Hungarian team will compete with four CUPRA Leon Competición cars, the new CUPRA touring race car that proved its potential in last year’s TCR series by winning the TCR Italy championship and taking victory in the WTCR MotorLand Aragón race.
The winning formula
The combination of experience and youth is the strategy chosen by CUPRA for the 2021 edition of the WTCR. With more than 25 years of touring car racing behind him, Jordi Gené returns to the top competition of the TCR series. The Catalan driver was already part of the team that won the constructors’ world title in both 2008 and 2009, and in 2015 he finished among the world’ top three touring car drivers: “I’m very excited to be back racing with CUPRA and alongside a driver as skilled as Mikel. I’ve been involved in the development of the CUPRA Leon Competición, so I know what this model is capable of. It’s going to be an exciting season” says Gené.
On the other hand, young driver Mikel Azcona has had a successful career competing in the TCR series, and last year he was the driver with more TCR race victories in 2020. In 2018 he won the TCR Europe, and in his first season in the WTCR he took his first victory in Vila Real and finished the championship in sixth place. Last year, Azcona joined Zengő Motorsport to race a CUPRA Leon Competición for the 2020 season, winning the final race at MotorLand Aragon and finishing seventh overall: “I’m very happy to continue racing for another season with CUPRA in the WTCR. After two years in the highest level of touring car racing with victories, my goal this year is to fight for the world title. I’m convinced that racing next to such an experienced driver as Jordi will be the best formula to be competitive and to get the best performance out of the CUPRA Leon Competición, a model perfectly suited to this championship” explains Azcona. In addition, the young driver will combine WTCR competition with his participation in the 2021 TCR Europe along with Evgenii Leonov, as part of the Russian Volcano Motorsport team.
An exciting season
The CUPRA drivers have eight race weekends ahead of them to showcase their driving skills in the WTCR, which is scheduled to kick off at Germany’s historic Nürburgring circuit in early June. The 2021 calendar includes events in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Hungary, South Korea, China and Macau until the end of November.
“At CUPRA we’re convinced that youth and experience are the perfect combination to achieve our goals. Jordi Gené has a wealth of knowledge in the world of touring car racing, and Mikel is part of the next generation of young talent looking to be the driving force behind the transformation. In 2021, CUPRA will be present in 70 races planned for this season in world, continental and national TCR series and championships. Meanwhile, we’re continuing our electrification strategy with our participation in Extreme E and PURE ETCR, where Jordi and Mikel will also compete together” says CUPRA Director of Strategy, Business Development and Operations Antonino Labate.
CUPRA Leon Competición
The new racing car, developed to compete in the TCR series and endurance races around the world, is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine capable of delivering 340PS at 6,800 RPM and 410 Nm of torque. Mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox, CUPRA’s brand-new racing model accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 260 km/h. Compared to the previous generation, the CUPRA Leon Competición combines the brand’s new bodywork and a chassis geometry designed specifically for the model, which reduces weight, adds rigidity and enables greater personalisation for each team and driver.
To achieve higher aerodynamic efficiency, CUPRA relied on HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology to produce lighter components that improve weight distribution, such as the steering wheel control module, air intakes and cooling intakes.
The CUPRA Leon Competición epitomises the contemporary character of the CUPRA brand and its racing DNA. Even before its competition debut, this innovative model already set new standards in the world of motorsport, as in late 2019 it became the first racing touring car to be made available for pre-order via an online platform. In addition, the new model made its first virtual appearance in the CUPRA Simracing series last year with CUPRA ambassadors Marc ter Stegen, Mattias Ekström, Jordi Gené and Mikel Azcona.