Abt Sportsline has unveiled its male driver as Mattias Ekström and he will enter next year’s all-electric off-road racing series Extreme E alongside the CUPRA brand as their main partner for the campaign.
2016 FIA World Rallycross Champion Ekström hasn’t raced with Abt Sportsline since his DTM career with the team between 2001 and 2017. After three years away, he will return to the team to do a full-season campaign in the Odyssey 21.
The announcement of the team entering the Extreme E was made at the first CUPRA Garage in Hamburg, Germany, where the team unveiled the livery for the Odyssey 21 show car.
Ekström who is the brand ambassador for the CUPRA since being give the role last year, admitted he was delighted that the brand will be the first manufacturer to enter the all-new Extreme E series.
“It feels a bit like coming home. Twenty years ago, the DTM was a great challenge which we mastered together. Now, it is high time for a new adventure – Extreme E. I think the concept is ingenious, and I am sure that we have a strong team together with CUPRA and ABT.” Ekström said.
“We’re delighted to welcome CUPRA on-board as Extreme E’s first automotive partner, an announcement that truly underscores ABT Sportsline’s commitment to the series. Both brands are trailblazers in the domain of electrification, and this marks another step in the right direction towards sparking a genuine change in the wider automotive market.” Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, added.
“It is also great news to confirm Mattias Ekström as a driver for Extreme E’s first season in 2021. His racing record speaks for itself, and having proven his ability in touring cars and rallycross, I have no doubt that he will rapidly get to grips with both the ODYSSEY 21 and the unique challenge posed by Extreme E. I look forward to seeing him in action.”
The CUPRA car manufacturer is the performance brand of SEAT and the co-operation between CUPRA and Abt Sportsline has already been in progress since 2018, with both also having experience and expertise in electric motorsport.
The CUPRA brand has also developed the CUPRA E-Racer which is the world’s first all-electric touring car and is set to take part in the FIA ETCR in the future.
“CUPRA and ABT Sportsline are long-term partners. We both aim to transfer the passion of the track onto the streets, and we have wide experience in the world of e-racing. Now we are reinforcing our partnership with our joint participation in Extreme E, which for CUPRA represents the brand’s challenger attitude in the racing world and its ambition to explore new motorsport experiences.” Wayne Griffiths, CUPRA CEO, said on the collaboration.
“The decision to become the first automotive manufacturer to participate in Extreme E and reinforce our co-operation with ABT is proof of both partners’ shared vision of re-inventing the world of high-performance cars through electrification.” Dr. Werner Tietz, SEAT Executive Vice-President for R&D, added.
Abt Sportsline was one of the founding members of the Formula E championship, winning the 2016/17 Drivers’ Championship with Lucas di Grassi and they also took the Teams’ Championship with Audi the following season. They are also working on manufacturing electrified versions of several Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles under the Abt e-Line banner.
“We love innovation, competition, e-mobility and the feeling of being a pioneer in something completely new. That is why we were involved in Formula E from the very beginning in 2014 and why we also decided to become a member of the Extreme E family. With CUPRA, we now have a partner at our side who, just like us, firmly believes in the revolutionary concept, both in the sporting field and in terms of marketing off the track.” Hans-Jürgen Abt, Managing Partner of ABT Sportsline commented.