Thu 27 Jun 2024

Red – and ready to fight: Hansens go back to the future for title tilt

Hansen World RX Team has taken the wraps off its striking new look for the 2024 FIA World Rallycross Championship campaign – or perhaps that should be new ‘old’ look, as the team has channelled its illustrious heritage in the sport with a return to its trademark red.

Like it has done for the past two seasons, the ultra-successful Swedish outfit will field a pair of electric Peugeot 208 RX1e cars for siblings Kevin and Timmy Hansen in the discipline’s international top-flight, as it bids to reclaim the Teams’ crown it last conquered in 2021.


Alongside that, Kevin Hansen has set his sights on a maiden Drivers’ title, after finishing a career-best second behind multiple world champion Johan Kristoffersson last year.


“The new livery is mega!” the 26-year-old enthused. “To be able to race in our red colour, just like my parents did in their prime, is fantastic. I think having our names on the two cars instead of different colours unites them even more and shows that we are one force in the chase for the world championship this year. The chrome bulls and stripes also add that aggressiveness which we’re hoping to bring to the ‘Battle of Technologies’.”


Indeed, Hansen is excited by World RX’s innovative new concept for the forthcoming campaign, which for the first time will pit the cutting-edge RX1e cars directly against their sustainably-fuelled, combustion-engined counterparts. He believes it will be an intriguing and unpredictable contest, with plenty of potential for surprises and unexpected results.


“It’s going to be very interesting,” he told The Checkered Flag. “The question people have been asking from the very beginning is which [technology] is quicker. With the EoT (Equivalence of Technologies), we will see the strength of electric power, but we will also see the weakness of it being a bit heavier and the petrol cars being a bit lighter and sharper under braking.


“Hansen Motorsport has committed to a sustainable future and the electric option is a great way to showcase that, so that’s where our priority lies, but [as a championship] we’ve taken the opportunity to bring this new technology in as we review the whole of the automotive industry.


“It’s not only electric that’s moving forward. It’s sustainable fuels, hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen combustion, hybrids – there are lots of different solutions looking ahead and I think it would be wrong of us to stick with only electric. It’s really good that we have this change and I think it will be fascinating and make the racing really fun.


“The EoT might change from day-to-day, so you might see different speeds from different cars on Saturday and Sunday. We’re trying to do something that’s fair and stable. I don’t think we’ll see massive shifts – it’ll be balanced shifts throughout the year – but you never know how things will develop. You might get a small change on your car from one day to another, and then maybe the weather changes to help or hinder you even more. I can’t wait to see what comes out on top.”


Those sentiments are shared by elder brother Timmy Hansen – world champion in 2019, but now bidding to bounce back from a difficult season in 2023 that saw him slip to sixth in the standings and fail to win a round for the first time in five years.


“It feels really good to be back in red,” acknowledged the Götene native. “I feel really at home in that, even though I have been driving a blue car for a long time. Red is how I saw my dad racing as I grew up, and that means it just feels like our colour – the Hansen colour. So going into the new season, the car looks fantastic, and we’re looking forward to taking on the others in the ‘Battle of Technologies’.”


“I wasn’t the only one of the opinion that it should be more of a battle between different cars,” he added, speaking to The Checkered Flag. “I love this, and it’s going to be very exciting. We need to take a step up and make it more exciting for the fans and put on a good show. Now, they can root for combustion, electric, whatever they want – they can choose their favourites.


“At the start, we do have more power and the instant torque of the electric car should be an advantage, but we also have to carry about ten per cent more weight than the combustion cars, and we don’t know how that will play into the equation. Over a lap, the electric cars don’t have shifting, we don’t have turbo lag, so we should gain there.


“The disadvantage will come under braking. That’s where the combustion cars are very strong, because they’ve got one motor driving four wheels. We have two motors driving two wheels each. At the end of the day, we will lose a bit of time in the entry to corners because, if we brake as late as they do, we’ll end up locking the rear tyres. The combustion cars don’t lock because all four wheels spin at the same speed, so they can brake later. I think it will be a surprise for everyone when we get to Höljes (6-7 July)...”

Images: The Berry

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