Opel Corsa-e Rally: Could change the sport and battery safety

Opel Corsa-e Rally: Could change the sport and battery safety-corsa-e

Rally fans had already feared a sporting retreat: after all, the Adam is coming to an end – and with it the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup. But now they have landed a real coup in Russelsheim – highly symbolic in the sign of lightning. Opel is the first manufacturer in the world to offer an electric rally car for customer sport.

At the weekend, the e-racer could be seen in a species-appropriate environment for the first time: at the finale of the German Rally Championship (DRM) in Freyung. Although only in the service park and not yet on the special stages, the interest, says Marcus Lacroix from Opel Motorsport, is enormous. There are inquiries from all over Europe. The Corsa-e-based model delivers 136 hp and 260 Nm of torque to the front axle. With the usual battery-powered acceleration, the 1.4-ton truck should definitely be on par with the Cup Adam with its sequential gearbox.

Opel Corsa-e Rally: Could change the sport and battery safety-rallyWolfgang Plank

A first prototype is currently doing its rounds on the test site in Dudenhofen, and a second is currently being built in Russelsheim. The focus is initially on durability and the collection of battery data. After all, the battery is used differently in motorsport than on the road. Later, the Erlkonig will also suffer the tortures usual in rallies. Jumping over crests, cutting in curves, drifting on gravel. Lacroix wants to pull the plug on all doubters: “We build the car so that it can drive DRM – not the other way around.”

Opel intends to have 20 examples put on wheels in France, 15 of them for the competition. In the “ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup” – eight races primarily within the framework of the DRM – the youngsters should prove themselves. The official start will be the Saar-Palatinate Rally in August 2020, and the finale will be the Germany Rally 2021. The world’s first one-make rally cup for electric vehicles – it’s been a long time since Opel felt like a pioneer.

Opel Corsa-e Rally: Could change the sport and battery safety-changeWolfgang Plank

But they have expertise in the sign of lightning. And because rallying is not without its dangers, they at Opel are very well aware of the issue of safety. “Protecting the battery is a 1A priority,” assures Lacroix. In addition to the already high safety standard of the production car against crashes and fire, there is also a plate against hardship from below. Collateral benefit of motorsport: The roll cage additionally stiffens the chassis.

Either way, the car can be switched off at any time from the inside and outside. In the event of an accident, sensors do this automatically. But what about the fans who might have to push a Corsa-e Rally out of the ditch? Opel doesn’t want to reveal any details, but the car will announce whether you’re allowed to touch it or not. Communication for safety. When in doubt, the loud message could be: hands off!

Opel Corsa-e Rally: Could change the sport and battery safety-corsa-eWolfgang Plank

Of course, the speedy speedster has one handicap: despite recuperation, the juice from its 50 kWh battery is only sufficient for around 60 to 70 kilometers under full load plus the connecting stages on the road. The piston competition does not drive much more in a normal loop, but is ready to go again after a short refueling stop. The Corsa-e will also have to charge for the usual service.

How and where? Opel already has more than one plan for this. A truck with a huge battery will arrive. There are only seven of them worldwide, the eighth is being built for Russelsheim. Its capacity: 2.1 megawatt hours. Mathematically, that is at least three loads per team and day. Lacroix promises that charging will only be done with “green” electricity – and not with a diesel unit. “We don’t want any sham.”

The schedule of the rallies does not appear to be in jeopardy. With its ten plugs, the battery truck could supply all 15 cars with power for an 80 percent range in two waves of 30 minutes each. This does not necessarily have to happen in the service park – precisely because the electricity tank is mobile. If the e-Opels started at the front, at midday in the middle and for the last loop at the end, there would be enough loading time.

Opel Corsa-e Rally: Could change the sport and battery safety-batteryWolfgang Plank

In any case, at Opel and ADAC they are very proud to bring electric drives into mass sport – and to continue to promote young people in a targeted manner. Sports President Hermann Tomczyk even believes that the new series will have a signal effect for motorsport beyond the borders of Germany.

And the price? Well under 50.The rally-ready car should cost 000 euros net. Including battery guarantee for probably four years. In addition, a registration fee for entry fees, catering and service space, which should be similar to the current 3.900 euros in the Adam Cup. In return, a six-figure prize money beckons. Distributed to all runs and also for non-podium teams.

As with the Adam, the cup winner can look forward to promotion to the R2 Corsa, which Opel intends to present in 2021. Thanks to the PSA group, top talent doesn’t have to end there: Peugeot builds vehicles according to R5 regulations – and Citroën even uses World Rally Cars in the World Championship. More is not possible in this sport.

And how will the Corsa-e Rally sound? The Russelsheim sound strategists are currently working on this. Hope they have a happy ear..

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