Hansen Motorsport has become the first team to unveil its car for the 2022 World Rallycross season, the first year of the championship’s new all-electric ruleset.
The team will stick with its proven Peugeot 208 platform for the coming season, integrating the control Kreisel powertrain into the multi-world championship-winning car as part of a “focus on electric-only rallycross” that team boss Kenneth Hansen describes as “the biggest thing we have ever done”.
“This a huge investment that we are making to the World Rallycross Championship, with a plan for multiple years – it’s the biggest thing we have ever done,” he said.
“It’s very new and very exciting for all of us. It feels a little like when we entered four-wheel-drive rallycross for the first time in 1993.
“We didn’t know many things then, and with the switch to electric technology there are many things we are learning about from scratch as well.
“It’s very refreshing to be focusing on something so new, with some people we have worked with for many years and some new faces around inspiring us as well. There really is a lot of fresh energy here to push forwards.”
Echoing his father’s sentiments, race-winning driver Kevin Hansen added: “It’s a super-exciting time for our company and team to embrace this new electric era.
“It’s the biggest commitment that we have made to the sport since the company began over 30 years ago, so it’s an incredible moment to have this big project in-house and really committing to the future.
Rallycross is the perfect sport to do electric racing, the cars are going to be faster, it’s all going in the right wayTimmy Hansen
“Since 2018 we have spoken about electric rallycross in the world championship and finally it’s going to happen.”
Unlike other motorsport categories that have introduced electric alternatives to their top-level classes, World RX is replacing its main class entirely with a battery powered series in 2022 – something that 2019 world champion Timmy Hansen fully supports, insisting that rallycross is the “perfect” form of motorsport to lead the electric revolution.
“I think it’s about time rallycross went electric,” he told DirtFish. “Rallycross is the perfect sport to do electric racing, the cars are going to be faster, it’s all going in the right way. We’re going to miss the sound but I’m looking forward to the racing.”
While everybody will have the same drivetrain in World RX this year, electric components aside, teams will still have to develop their own cars. Timmy feels this will play to his team’s strengths as it continues with the 208 which it has run in one form or another since 2014.
“We’re going to have the same engine, everyone, but the chassis are going to be as different as they are now so it’s more or less the same regulation for chassis,” he explained. “It’s just that we will have the same engine so in that way it will make it closer but still it will be a lot about building a fast race car.”
With campaigns in World RX and Extreme E filling out his schedule for 2022, Timmy will be going electric-only for the first time in his career.
Having participated in the inaugural Extreme E season last year, he’s got a headstart when it comes to the experience of racing an EV but he doesn’t expect that to be a massive advantage once the lights go out again, emphasising that the importance of car development will remain as prevalent as ever in World RX despite the introduction of a uniform powertrain.
“I think it’s a bit [of] getting into the logic of electric racing, it’s a bit different,” he said. “The logic is a bit different but essentially it’s still racing. You’re still out there and you’re going to brake as late as you can and carry the most speed and getting on throttle.
“But building a fast car is a little bit different thinking so it’s definitely helped in that way.”
Nitro return unlikely for Timmy
A return to Nitro Rallycross is not on the cards for Timmy Hansen in 2022.
He won the first edition of the contest in 2018 and returned as it grew into a five-round championship for the first time in 2021 – missing out on the title by a single point – but has admitted that the proposed 10-round global series for this year might be too much.
“I love doing Nitro and I’ve loved being there from the beginning, but I don’t think there will be a way for me to go and do the championship again next year,” he said. “I think it is starting to be a bit too much.
“It’s 10 races and I couldn’t add 10 races onto my schedule, so you’d really have to focus Nitro as your main program of the year which is not possible for me.
“I will really miss it though, being in Nitro is the most fun I’ve had in a race car. It’s just crazy, working with Travis [Pastrana] and driving the tracks that he builds, it’s another world.
“So I really do hope that I come back for some races at some point, but I think 10 races for me will be too much.”
Hansen did admit one or two cameo appearances in Europe but “at the moment I will not do anything”.