Reportage: With the Cupra Born to the Rome E-Prix of Formula E
Cupra has been involved in Formula E since the beginning of this year - as title sponsor of the German ABT team. Previously, the sporty Seat subsidiary has already celebrated success in other electric motorsports such as Extreme E as well as ETCR. Cupra also offers an e-mobility solution for the road: the Born. e-Formula.news editor-in-chief Timo Pape had the opportunity to test the electric car before the Rome E-Prix. A reportage.
Friday before the Rome E-Prix: Instead of going to the Circuito Cittadino dell'EUR, where Formula E will hold its 13th and 14th rounds of the season this weekend, I'm on my way to the southeast of the Italian capital today. At Lago Albano, I first stop for pasta and espresso. The wonderful view into the distance also includes the papal summer residence Castel Gandolfo on the opposite side of the lake, which will later be my undoing.
After a little refreshment, I am handed my Cupra Born. The exterior of the all-electric car has already appealed to me before, but I also like the interior. The cockpit looks clean and tidy. There is a surprising amount of space, especially in the back seat. Only the fabric of the seats looks cheap. I start the electric motor and drive off.
My route takes me first to the small village of Nemi, where I get a nice view over Lago di Nemi (see post below). I can then familiarize myself with the driving characteristics of the Cupra Born on some winding mountain roads. As with any electric car, I enjoy the silence and the instant torque (310 Nm). Also due to its compact size, the Born accelerates and reacts really well. 170 kW (228 bhp), move the car up to 100 km/h in 7.0 seconds, which of course I test.
It's been a great weekend at the #RomeEPrix ??- Timo Pape (@pape_timo) July 17, 2023
Drama in #FormulaE's title fight, meeting a lot of friends and colleagues and nice to test some #Cupra models - love the Born! Thanks for having me, @CUPRA ?#ABBFormulaE @FIAFormulaE @Cupraracing pic.twitter.com/H4ihlzT5Nc
In curves, the Born appears stable and agile - despite its relatively high curb weight of 1,736 kg (compared to a combustion engine). Unsurprisingly, the battery is mainly responsible for this. It has a capacity of 77 kWh of usable energy, which should take me up to 552 km. The charging power is up to 170 kW. I'm brisk on the road. The car always does exactly what it's supposed to. And it's fun.
In an electric car through the Vatican
Midway, the navigation system surprisingly reports: state border ahead. I am in the Vatican suddenly, because the Pope's residence mentioned at the beginning does not officially belong to Italy. Unfortunately, I ended up in a one-way street. The alleys, which could not be more Italian, are getting narrower and narrower. I ask a waiter on the side of the road whether I can drive along here at all. Si, claro. I creep my way at walking pace past ice cream parlors and old walls and breathe a sigh of relief when I can finally give full throttle again. Thank God the Born is so small, I send via rearview mirror in the direction of the Vatican.
After I finish my test drive, a small shuttle takes me back to downtown Rome - again, a Cupra Born. This time, too, it brings with it an undeniable advantage, because in downtown Rome, in addition to residents, only electric cars are allowed to drive, otherwise there are horrendous penalties. At an evening event in the hotel rooftop bar, Cupra invites guests to enjoy the dolce vita. With live electronic music and a cocktail, I prepare myself - not necessarily optimally - for the exhausting race weekend ahead.
At the Rome E-Prix, ABT Cupra celebrates its best result of the season thanks to Nico Müller's 6th place - also aided by the pile-up in Saturday's race. One day later, the Swiss driver again finishes in the points. At the Hankook London E-Prix on July 29 and 30, the 2023 season finale, ABT Cupra still wants to pass its own powertrain supplier Mahindra Racing in the overall standings.
Two outstanding race days on the Thames are needed for this, however, because ABT Cupra is currently 16 points behind the Indian manufacturer. Racing starts at 6 p.m. (CEST) on both Saturday and Sunday. e-Formula.news is again on site and reports live from the track.
Transparency note: Cupra has covered the travel costs to Italy.