The Lancia Delta Integrale was a star of the rally stage. And now it’s been reborn as a rally-car of the future. Driver Guerlain Chicherit, who runs the Motul-supported GCK Motorsport team, turned an Integrale into a futuristic racer with an electric motor. Recently, it had its first outing at the World RX at the Nürburgring. We caught up with GCK’s Julien Hergault to find out more about this intriguing car.
Can you tell us more about the GCK Delta: what is it, how did the idea come about and why did you want to do it?
On 4 April 2020, a law was passed in France authorising and regulating the process of converting – or retrofitting – a combustion engine road car into an electric one. Guerlain Chicherit, who is very concerned about global warming, immediately had the idea to convert his dream car: the Lancia Delta Integrale. Guerlain was born in 1978 and is one of a generation inspired by Didier Auriol’s exploits with this car in rally. The project has taken shape and our Lancia Delta Evo-e "road version" is currently in the final homologation phase in France and will soon go into production. Now the time has come for the car to show what it’s capable of in the sporting arena… and only a world championship will do! The Lancia Delta Evo-e RX made its debut in World RX at the at Germany’s Nürburgring on 12-13 November.
How did you get the car ready for racing?
Underneath its vintage bodywork, the Lancia Delta Evo-e RX houses a tubular structure compliant with the safety standards in the FIA 2022 regulations. The chassis was designed and put together at GCK Performance in Issoire, in central France. Specific tooling was required, and it took over 1,200 hours to build. With 500kW (680hp) under the bonnet, the car boasts twice the power of a Formula E car and, even more impressive, it accelerates from 0-100kph in just 1.8 seconds… that’s seven-tenths faster than an F1 car by the same measure! The secret? Four-wheel drive and the combination of two Kreisel Electric motors delivering 250kW each. I should mention that this electric drivetrain kit is used by all the cars competing in the championship.
Why did your team want to fit an electric motor to a retro car?
To promote our road car. And also, it is in the DNA of Guerlain and GCK to do things differently from others. The reaction of the fans proves that we were right. The Lancia Delta was the crowd favourite at the Nürburgring. We received a lot of encouraging messages on our social networks.
What was it like to drive?
Guerlain was very surprised by the acceleration. His first reaction when he got out of the car was to repeat several times: "It pushes so hard, it pushes so hard…". More globally, the overall conclusions are extremely satisfactory as we were able to match the speed of our rivals who’ve already raced in nine races with these new-generation electric cars. The very first practice session was concluded with a promising sixth-quickest time. The opening heat confirmed the first impressions. Guerlain seemed to have second place sewn up as he tackled the penultimate lap when his race ended brutally with a 16G impact against a wall into which he had been punted by a rival, guilty of a manoeuvre that was risky to say the least! The day’s two next races were transformed into a full-blown test session for the whole team.
What races has it done already and what are the plans for it in the future?
We arrived in Germany after only 20 laps on the Chateauroux circuit. Which meant that we had no idea what to expect. Now we know that the car is performing well. We’re going to take advantage of the winter break to analyse all the data gathered this weekend and add all the necessary modifications. Next year we’ll be back for a full season!
How was Motul involved in the collaboration?
We use the full range of products. Of course, we have an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine. But we still need a transmission fluid, a radiator coolant, and a lot of care products such as glass cleaners or body shampoos. Rallycross offers Motul an interesting living laboratory to test and develop products under extreme conditions. So far, the oils and lubricants have never disappointed us.