Opel has announced that it will be starting the world’s first electric one-make rally trophy with a racing car based on the Corsa-e from last summer. In the meantime, there have been some updates to the vehicle and schedule of the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup.
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The e-match cup is intended to replace the ADAC Opel Rally Cup, in which the Opel Adam R2 has been used so far. Many points of the car were modified for rally use, but not the drive. Like the production model, the racing car will have an output of 100 kW and provide the maximum torque of 260 Newton metres from a standing start. The battery remains at 50 kWh. On the other hand, things were changed, such as the chassis, the brakes (including a control system adapted to the recuperation) and various safety measures such as a welded safety cage, underride protection for the drive and a fire extinguishing system.
Two of the Opel Corsa-e Rally’s all-battery electric vehicles currently undergo endurance and component tests at the Test Center in Dudenhofen. “The demanding development programme is going according to plan, but is far from completed yet,” says Jörg Schrott, Director Opel Motorsport. “The aim is to supply our customer teams with a fully reliable, easy to handle and powerful rally car that will enable the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup to seamlessly continue the success of its predecessor, the ADAC Opel. Rally Cup.”
Meanwhile, the two partners Opel and ADAC, have provided further key data on the calendar. The start of the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup season is scheduled for 21 and 22 August 2020 as part of the ADAC Saarland-Pfalz Rally. The official start of the season in Saarland will be followed in 2020 by three further classification runs at two events – the ADAC Rallye Bavaria (26/27 September) and the ADAC Rallye Germany from 15 to 18 October.
Before the start of the season, the customer teams will test the car at two events. The exact location and date of the first test, an “e-Rally Experience Day” specially organised for this purpose, has not yet been determined. The second test possibility will already take place under competition conditions. The teams will be able to compete in the ADAC Rallye Oberehe on 8 August. The rally is a so-called R70 event with over 70 special-stage kilometres in Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.
Registration for the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup starts on 15 December 2019. Teams can register at reduced conditions (5,900 euros) until 31 January 2020. Thereafter, the entry fee will rise to 7,500 euros. The sporting regulations will soon be in place, but they will be based on the proven scheme of the ADAC Opel Rally Cup. Opel does not mention the vehicle price for the customer teams in the current announcement. In August, it was said that the price was “well below 50,000 euros (net)”.
Update 16 December: Opel has just announced that after the development of the Corsa-e Rally has been completed, a reference car will be built, which will serve as a template for customer vehicles. Around 20 Corsa-e Rally cars are to be built for the first season 2020/2021. Up to 15 of these will go to customer teams in the summer – in time for the first test event in July. “With a brand cup car, it is important that the performance remains constant and accessible under all conditions. The equipment should guarantee equal opportunity for all participants”, said Opel Motorsport Director, Jörg Schrott. “We also decided that the Corsa-e Rally should match and exceed the high standards of its petrol-engine predecessor, the Opel ADAM Cup.”
At the moment, there are still two test vehicles on the way to endurance tests – which Opel is now showing in the above short video. “Both cars are covering as many kilometres as possible to gather the maximum amount of data at an early stage,” says Schrott. “There is no experience of an electric rally car that we could turn to, so initially, we had to rely on calculations and simulations. These are being gradually replaced with real data.” The program is apparently running smoothly so far.
Update 22 July 2020: The coronavirus pandemic has also affected preparations for the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup. Event cancellations and the German Rally Championship 2020 are forcing those responsible at Opel and ADAC to reorganise their calendar planning. Points and prize money will not be in play for the first time in special stages until spring 2021. In the current year, there will initially be a programme of test and promotion events for the first electric rally, the one-make cup. Delivery of the customer vehicles is scheduled for the end of October 2020.
Update 29 April 2021: Opel has delivered the first ten Corsa-e Rally to customer teams. Given the further development of the Corona pandemic and its impact on events, the kick-off of the debut season of the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup is now scheduled to take place on 11 and 12 June as part of the ADAC Rally Stemweder Berg. In preparation, the teams will contest a test event beforehand to familiarise themselves with the vehicle and charging infrastructure. In addition, the teams will receive high-voltage training, which will be conducted and certified by TÜV Thüringen.
“The vehicle delivery was an important step for us, the teams and the project,” says Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott. “It is a clear signal that things are finally about to get underway. Everyone could feel the anticipation and excitement for the start of the season. The remaining cars will now be delivered successively.”
Update 07 June 2021: Opel has chosen eLoaded as the charging provider for its ADAC Opel e Rally Cup. The company uses a DCBus system that distributes energy from the public medium or low-voltage grid to the charging units. Opel claims this significantly reduces energy losses between the grid and the charging plug and eliminates hazardous substances used in battery-based systems.
The charging infrastructure for the ADAC Opel e Rally Cup, which was developed with Opel Motorsport, uses renewably generated electricity from the public power grid. A specially adapted transformer for rally use called DCSource or PowerHouse draws the medium current. This avoids a cache and supplies maximum power of 2.0 megawatts to 18 charging points, says Opel. Each charging point feeds the vehicle with up to 140 kilowatts, whereby the Opel Corsa-e Rally can charge at a maximum of 100 kW. The company specifies the rally car’s 50-kilowatt-hour battery will be 80 per cent full in around 30 minutes.
German company eLoaded presented its mobile high power charging solution in March as a charging-as-a-service model and capable of delivering up to 420 kW.
They have set up a dedicated business called charge4hire GmbH. Back then, they already claimed that they put an “experienced racing and event team” behind the development, which has just become apparent.