Gené itching to get back into ‘race mode’

CUPRA Racing’s Jordi Gené says he cannot wait to rediscover the thrill of competition when he returns to racing in PURE ETCR this year.

The touring car veteran is one of three drivers already confirmed to pilot the CUPRA e-Racer in the world’s first all-electric touring car series and will be joined by Mattias Ekström and Mikel Azcona.

The Spaniard is looking forward to sitting underneath the PURE ETCR starting gate at its inaugural event at Valleunga on June 18-20, having driven at the recent ‘Stress Test’ at the track in which the series ‘Battle’ format was simulated with multiple cars.

“I haven’t raced at such a high level for the last five years,” said the Barcelona native, who will also contest the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup in a CUPRA this year.

“I’ve tested, so I’ve been driving the cars, but not racing.

“A race weekend extracts different things from a driver. It’s not only about driving, it’s the way you prepare yourself for the start, for the fighting, doing the lap time in only one lap during qualifying… This is really what I have missed for sure.

“I’m not trying to make excuses because if I am here doing this then I have to do well from the very beginning. But for sure the first three or four races [across both series] are going to be a bit difficult for me.”

Gené has, for the past three seasons, been the lead development driver on CUPRA’s ETCR vehicle, which has evolved into the e-Racer recently and will carry the Spanish brand’s hopes in PURE ETCR this year.

He referenced the experience of competing in TCR International in 2015, which came after a couple of years away from regular competition, as inspiration for his return this time around.

“When I competed in 2015, it was a little bit like this,” he added. “I had been out of racing for two or three years and the first half of the season was difficult, but the second half of the season I was fighting for race wins with Pepe Oriola, Stefano Comini or Rob Huff at the end.

“It takes some time to get this rhythm. There are two or three tenths that come by themselves but it’s only when you are really used to it that things come without thinking.”

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