Recently resurrected as a luxury automaker, Hispano Suiza plans to launch a motorsports effort in 2021, but likely not in a series you’d expect for such a company. The Spanish-based company isn’t joining other luxury brands in IMSA or even at Le Mans or Indy. Instead, it will compete in Extreme E.
In the new off-road racing series for electric-powered vehicles, where Hispano Suiza joins Xite Energy drink to field the Hispano Suiza Xite Energy team, coincidentally in part to celebrate the centennial of Andre Dubonnet’s victory in the George Boillet Cup race in a Hispano H6 coupe in 1921.
Drivers for the new team are Oliver Bennett and Christine Giampaoli Zonca. Bennett is a British racer who made this debut in the British Rallycross series in 2016. Zonca, better known as Christine GZ, is of Italian-Canary Island heritage, has been racing full-time since 2014 and since 2016 in the World Rally Championship and in off-road events in North America.
Team manager Juli Mundet Caballero is a Spanish engineer who has worked at the Nissan Technical Center and also at the High Energy Physics Institute in Barcelona.since 2010, he has been a race engineer.
Hispano Suiza has been reborn with two new luxury supercars, the Carmen and the Carmen Boulogne. It’s off-road racer, unveiled at Spain’s Castle of Peralada, is the HS Extreme E, powered by a 550-horsepower electric drive system.
“Being able to take our brand to the desert, the Polar Arctic Circle or the Amazon, and also do it in a competitive, sustainable way and taking care of our planet, is something magnificent that we will achieve in a competition as revolutionary as Extreme E,” said Hispano Suiza chairman Miguel Suque Mateu.
“Today we must think about electromobility and sustainability,” added Sergio Martinez, the automaker’s chief executive. “We have to be very aware that the world is changing and we must all fight to reduce our carbon footprint before it’s too late.”
“Extreme E represents a revolution in the world of motorsport,” Hispano Suiza said in its announcement. “This new championship goes beyond the show, the track and the results, and has a strong social commitment. The contest is based on three pillars: electrification, environment and equality.
“All participating vehicles will be 100 percent electric and their batteries will be recharged with sustainably generated hydrogen.
The teams will travel the world on the St. Helena ship, which will minimize the carbon footprint of transport, and a group of scientific researchers will accompany the championship at each of its appointments, thus contributing to research in areas affected by the climate change.
“The season, which begins in March and ends in December, will travel through different continents and extreme locations, such as the Saudi Arabia desert, the Pink Lake of Senegal, Greenland, the Amazon and Tierra del Fuego, in Argentina. Each of the five events on the calendar will show the environmental impact the areas have suffered over the past decades.
“Equality in motor racing is another of Extreme E’s focal points. Therefore, all teams will be made up of a man and a woman driver, who will fight under the same conditions to achieve the best results for the team.”