Thu 13 Jun 2024

Kristoffersson switches to sustainably-fuelled combustion car in quest for seventh career crown

Six-time FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson is set for a new challenge in 2024, as he bids to clinch a seventh career crown in the sport behind the wheel of a sustainably-fuelled, combustion-powered (ICE) Volkswagen Polo.

Kristoffersson’s most recent two titles at the international pinnacle of the dual-surface discipline have been achieved with electric power, but for the inaugural campaign of World RX’s ‘Battle of Technologies’, he is betting on a different direction, with the confirmation of a pioneering new partnership between Kristoffersson Motorsport and HORSE Powertrain, through Swedish-based company Aurobay.


The team, rebaptised KMS - HORSE Powertrain, will field a pair of VW Polo KMS 601 RXs for Kristoffersson and Ole Christian Veiby, who returns for a third consecutive campaign with the multiple championship-winning operation. The squad retains the support of erstwhile title partners Volkswagen, Red Bull and Bauhaus.


The sustainably-fuelled ‘hot hatches’ – developed in-house over the winter at KMS’ Arvika workshop – have been described by Team Principal Tommy Kristoffersson as the best rallycross cars his crew has ever built. Underscoring that conviction, in their only competitive outing to-date – at Tierp in the 2024 RallyX curtain-raiser – Kristoffersson and Veiby delivered a crushing one-two finish on both days, but the former is playing down their chances of repeating that feat at the highest level.


“It will be tough to compete against the electric cars with our newly-built machines, but Aurobay is a dream partner for us, not only as a sponsor but also in technical terms,” commented Kristoffersson Jnr. “It will be really fun to work with a long-term structure and be able to plan accordingly. This is an exciting project that has a lot of typical KMS spirit about it.”


“We are doing a turnaround and going in a different direction, which makes it difficult to predict how we will compare with the competition,” echoed Veiby, who will be chasing his maiden World RX victory in 2024. “There are many complicated elements that have to be tested on a new car, but it will be very exciting to work with such a large and supportive partner.”


Kristoffersson Snr – who guided KMS to the 2022 and 2023 Teams’ trophies in World RX – is similarly bullish about the new co-operation, which he believes can help to propel the eponymously-named outfit to the next level both on and off-track.


“Aurobay is the best partner we can think of,” enthused the multiple Swedish Rallycross Champion. “This is a win-win situation – we will benefit tremendously from each other. We both have a large staff of extremely talented engineers, meaning we will be able to exchange experiences and also personnel.


“In the Volkswagen Group where I was trained, the motto has always been that all motorsport should ultimately benefit the consumer. There is nothing that drives development forward as effectively as competition, and with this project, we can take part in developing tomorrow’s engines


“It’s so inspiring to see the extreme desire and passion that exists within HORSE Powertrain and Aurobay. It is a solution-oriented work environment. Our ambition is a long-term collaboration over at least five years, which gives us the peace of mind to develop our cars with long foresight. We also hope to contribute to our partner becoming an obvious alternative as an engine manufacturer for many different car brands.


“On the sporting side, ‘Battle of Technologies’ is a fantastic concept that is unique to rallycross. It is an extremely big challenge, but also an interesting one. We have a brand new car, a brand new partner and a very short timespan to match the electric cars.


“Although we have won in World RX for the last few years, we have to be humble and realise that it will take a lot for us to fight for the title again, but having always aspired to be an attractive team for someone who is looking for a development partner, now we are there, it feels incredibly satisfying.”


Boasting more than 100 years of continuous innovation, Aurobay develops, engineers and manufactures world-class, next-generation powertrain solutions, while HORSE Powertrain Limited is a global leader in hybrid and combustion powertrain components and systems, with a 19,000-strong workforce across three continents. It partners with automotive OEMs worldwide to enable a faster transition to cleaner mobility.


“Our vision for racing and performance is that we want to show the world that our off-the-shelf two-litre engines can be tuned to much higher power levels to achieve great results also in motorsport,” commented Michael Fleiss, Aurobay Sweden CEO.


“The FIA World Rallycross Championship is a fantastic platform for HORSE Powertrain to show what ICE can deliver when powered by alternative fuels,” echoed Matias Giannini, CEO of HORSE Powertrain Limited. “We can provide powerful, lightweight and modular solutions for any occasion.”


The 2024 World RX campaign will get underway on home soil for KMS - HORSE Powertrain, at Höljes’ legendary ‘Magic Weekend’ on 6-7 July.

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