The electrification game: Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR

  • Pure ETCR, the innovative and unique Championship for full-electric touring cars
  • Zero noise but (really) a lot of Kilowatt
  • Romeo Ferraris chooses Bercella to design and manufacture the Carbon Fiber bodywork for its newest prototype: weight management is the keyword!

Quando due eccellenze italiane si incontrano, si può essere certi che daranno vita a qualcosa di spettacolare, in puro stile Made in Italy! È questo il caso di Bercella e Romeo FerrarisWhen two Italian excellences cross their paths, the output can be nothing but outstanding, in the authentic Made in Italy style! Romeo Ferraris is an historical milanese firm, that is very well known in elaborating road legal cars, but also in the Racing world; in fact, since 2015 Romeo Ferraris races in the TCR Championship with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, being its single constructor and distributor worldwide. This tight bond with Alfa Romeo renewed itself with the Giulia ETCR project, also collecting the 100% electrification challenge, with Bercella’s contribution and expertise. Our role in this project mainly consisted in studying, designing and manufacture the Carbon Fiber bodywork but we also joined forces with Romeo Ferraris to come up with an innovative idea: the RESS subframe made out of Composite Materials to improve its stiffness, resistance and lightness.

Franco Bercella, president and founder of Bercella Srl, describes like this his friendship with Romeo Ferraris: “I’ve been introduced to Romeo thanks to a mutual friend, eng. Fabio Buzzi, owner of FB Design. Romeo and I share the same passion for technologies and innovations, so we can say that we are on the same wavelength. We now have a very good relationship, based on mutual trust and esteem and he really is a point of reference to me.”

Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR insights

Michela Cerruti – Romeo Ferraris Operations Manager

What led you to start this new adventure in the Pure ETCR Championship?

After six years fully committed to the Giulietta TCR, being part of the Pure ETCR with its “bigger sister”, the Giulia, was a natural evolution for us. When we’ve been asked to participate in this new Championship, we didn’t back away from it and we embraced the challenge as a whole. Also, electrification is a hot topic in the Automotive world and Racing is adapting to this market trend too. That’s why we look forward to it! Moreover, the 2021 edition will be a world première because it will be the first edition of a full electric touring cars championship. Being among the first participants is a double-edged sword: everything is new, but we can actively participate in writing the regulations, both technical and sporting.

How did the relationship with Bercella begin?

The development of the Giulia ETCR has been an amazingly demanding challenge, and we wanted to rely on a high-level, competent and prepared team, both inside Romeo Ferraris and outside, with our suppliers. We already worked with Bercella in the past for the Mercedes Superstar project, and they were able to collect very good results, so we thought: why don’t we do it again? Being part of Pure ETCR also means racing against Hyundai and Cupra, two real automotive giants, and despite our limited resources (compared to theirs) we were able to actually challenge them also thanks to our top-level suppliers, such as Bercella, the Italian company leader in Composite Materials, that for us means precision and quality.

Erik Baù – Romeo Ferraris Performance Engineer

How did you develop this collaboration? What was Bercella’s contribution?

Bercella manufactured our Carbon Fiber bodywork and the RESS subframe. For the bodywork we had to satisfy a minimum weight target and we had to guarantee a perfect match among all of the components; we can really say that this part of the project turned out amazingly because we achieved a very nice visual impact that also guarantees a good optimisation of the aerodynamic package. Bercella’s output perfectly matches Romeo Ferraris’ will to realise a high-end product. We are also satisfied by the weight reduction management; in fact, we were able to match the regulation target while working on innovative solutions to develop light and resistant components, in order to minimize ruptures and have a smaller environmental impact. On the other hand, ETCR racers have a 525 kg battery pack, so we also needed a bespoke structure to store it. We started with some internal analysis and then we asked Bercella to realise a Composites structure that could be in line with WSC and WAE parameters; the component has been resized to guarantee very strict stiffness values, that we would have struggled obtaining if we had used conventional materials. Moreover, we tested it in terms of impact absorbing and all of the championship standards have been respected. As we speak, the Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR by Romeo Ferraris is the only racer to feature this technical solution, and this makes both of us really proud of what we achieved.

Raffaele Aiardo Esposito – Bercella Technical Sales Engineer, Automotive & Motorsport

What kind of work did you do in order to match the weight reduction requirements?

At the beginning of the project, we manufactured the first Carbon Fiber bodywork kit and then, in accordance with the Romeo Ferraris team, we started the preliminary study to lighten the components, were possible. After that, we worked on the layup ply-book, to optimize the thickness of the components without compromising their mechanical performances. We are now planning the production of the lightened bodywork kits, that we will deliver to the client within this spring.

How did you come up with the idea of a Carbon Fiber battery pack frame?

We came up with this idea because we wanted to introduce a significant innovation, that could also be more performing than the traditional steel frame. Romeo Ferraris asked us for a feasibility study, which we then shared with them in order to have their approval; once we got it, Bercella’s R&D Department started the industrialization and realisation of the component. This project has been a beautiful challenge for Bercella, because we internally managed both the designand the manufacturingprocesses. Therefore, it has been our “gym” to train our build-to-spec approach.

Image credits

Giulia ETCR