Fri 18 Feb 2022

Kenneth Hansen: This is like a blank sheet of paper

Kenneth Hansen has spoken about his excitement ahead of the FIA World Rallycross Championship’s new electric era, arguing that if the sport is to grow and achieve its full potential, it is vital to ‘keep pace with the latest technology’.

Kenneth Hansen has spoken about his excitement ahead of the FIA World Rallycross Championship’s new electric era, arguing that if the sport is to grow and achieve its full potential, it is vital to ‘keep pace with the latest technology’.

Hansen is a man who has been there and done it all in rallycross, from a record 14 European Championship titles between 1989 and 2008 to three Teams’ crowns for his eponymous Hansen Motorsport outfit since the inception of the World Championship in 2014 – the most recent of which was achieved last year.

As the Swedish squad now prepares for the advent of a bright new dawn at the international pinnacle of the discipline, Hansen has hailed electrification as ‘a step forward’ and ‘the way we need to go’.

“I’m very keen and curious to go into this,” the 61-year-old revealed. “It feels a little like when we went from two wheel-drive into four wheel-drive when the regulations changed from Group B to Group A cars at the beginning of the ‘90s. We threw ourselves into that and built the four wheel-drive Citroën ZX.

“That was a big challenge and we didn’t know exactly what we were doing, and I feel the same now – very motivated to go into something we don’t really know. I’ve been around a long time, and it’s very exciting to be going into something new.

“Of course we are also a little nervous – after all the combustion years, we don’t know what it will be like to build these cars and run them, or how they will perform – but motorsport has always been at the forefront of new technology, and I believe this is the way we need to go. To attract interest from manufacturers, we have to keep pace with the latest technology. This is like a blank sheet of paper, and that’s very, very interesting.”

Hansen will field a brace of retrofitted Peugeot 208s in World RX in 2022, for sons Timmy – the 2019 world champion, who came within a hair’s breadth of adding a second Drivers’ trophy to his cabinet last year – and Kevin. The Swede is hopeful that another title-contending campaign is on the cards.

“We think that retrofitting our old cars is the most efficient way for our team,” he explained. “We can recycle some parts, which makes a lot of sense from a sustainability angle, but performance-wise, we also think it’s good. With electric coming, there are so many other things we need to learn, so if we have a familiar platform at least, we don’t need to start over with that as well. And obviously, we know the 208 is a very competitive car!

“The cars will in general be a little heavier than before, but on the other hand, the weight will be in a much better position – much lower, which is perfect for a rallycross car. So we’ll have the equivalent of almost 100bhp more and a more efficient engine – I honestly don’t see a lot of negatives.

“We have a good spirit inside the team and some excellent people around us, and both Timmy and Kevin have shown over the years that they are really quick. Of course electric will be different, but I also strongly believe it will be a step forward and that the racing will be really good. There aren’t many forms of motorsport that go faster when they go electric, but rallycross will...”

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM