Raimund Baumschlager’s all-electric Škoda Kreisel RE-X1 will make its competitive debut in Austria next month.
The 14-time Austrian Rally Champion Baumschlager completed the latest test mileage on gravel earlier this week and is now targeting July’s Rally Weiz as a first time out for the car his BRR team has developed in association with Kreisel.
“We have done around 4000 kilometers [2485 miles] of testing with the car,” Baumschlager told DirtFish.
“We started from zero and now it’s already good enough for the first event.”
He said he had hoped to be out on this weekend’s Schneebergland Rallye, the first Austrian championship round not to have been lost to coronaviurus this year.
“We have customers who are competing this weekend and we have to focus to them,” said Baumschlager. “It would have been nice to be out driving – the stage lengths and everything would have worked for us. But, OK, we target Rally Weiz now.”
The BRR squad have worked closely with the Austrian federation and the car will come with a national homologation and agreement that the power output of the RE-X1 will be trimmed from its potential 680bhp to a figure more in line with the 290bhp on offer from the Rally2 machinery Baumschlager will compete against on the asphalt stages north-east of Graz.
“We have worked with the federation on the balance of performance,” he said.
“We did a lot of work ourselves, testing this car against a Škoda Fabia [Rally2 evo].
“We want the cars to be equal. If we are getting too strong then we can turn the power down – this side of things is really controlled, but this is what I want.”
Baumschlager is confident the car’s battery can cope with the full loop of competition.
“If we have two 20-kilometer stages back-to-back with a long road section, maybe we need to ask for five minutes more to charge the car,” he said. “But this can be done in any normal charging station.
“This is not so different from the Mitsubishi Evo VII and some later models – I think they only had a 45-liter tank and we had to stop [and fill up] in those. When we come to service the battery can be charge completely in 17 minutes.
“The mechanics can work on the car when it’s being charged – the only time everybody has to stand away from the car is when it’s being connected and disconnected from the battery.”
Like his fellow all-electric convert Hayden Paddon, Baumschlager is a fan of the direct drive and linear torque and power delivery.
“It takes some time to get used to having no clutch,” he said. “You hold it on the brake and then go. And it really goes!
“As a car, I think it’s easier to handle than an R5 [Rally2] or an R2 [Rally4] car. You don’t have to shift [gears] so all the time you have both your hands on the wheel.
“We do have 170kg more [for the battery], and you do feel this, that’s clear – but the car is still great fun to drive.”