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Extreme E: HISPANO SUIZA Returns to Racing Replacing HWA

The iconic Spanish automobile manufacturer has teamed up with the energy drink brand XITE ENERGY to launch the HISPANO SUIZA XITE ENERGY TEAM that will compete in the electric SUV off-road racing series 2021 inaugural campaign.

Today, we announce that HISPANO SUIZA will have its own team competing in the Extreme E Championship. It is an ambitious competition, which will be held in five natural paradises in 2021, and the Hispano Suiza stork will be in all of them, represented by a team full of talent,” commented Sergio Martínez, CEO HISPANO SUIZA.

He added: Today, we must think about electromobility and sustainability. We have to be very aware that the world is changing, and we must all fight to reduce our carbon footprint before it is too late.” 

The series has informed that HWA decided to postpone its entry in the championship due to economic and strategic reasons.

MEETING HISPANO SUIZA

Founded in 1904 in Barcelona, the brand became the first manufacturer to built a 6-cylinder car in Spain.

Its distinctive signature consisted of producing the fastest cars of its time, featuring an elegant design; the prestigious brand also specialized in building aviation engines.

With over 100 years of history, the first Spanish automotive manufacturer was no stranger to the struggles posed by WWII, a Civil War, and the nationalization of the brand.

THE RACING PEDIGREE

In 1921, HISPANO SUIZA took part in the George Boillot Cup, an endurance race held at the French town of Boulogne; the event marked the brand´s debut in a racing competition. 

Behind the wheel of the HISPANO SUIZA, H6 Coupé was André Dubonnet, who emerged victorious after racing for more than 3.5 hours.

The manufacturer would go on to claim a total of three consecutive victories at the challenging competition.

In 1922, Paul Bablot won the race, and the following year, Léonce Garnier took victory at the wheel of the specially-modified versions of the (original) Hispano Suiza H6.

ELECTRIC MOBILITY

In 2019, Hispano Suiza launched a new concept vehicle, named Carmen, at the Geneva Motor Show. 

The first all-electric sports car produced by Hispano Suiza displayed innovative technology, power, and design.

In 2020, the brand raised the bet, unveiling the brand new Carmen Boulogne, a sportscar designed to pay homage to Hispano Suiza’s competition heritage.

The car, developed, and manufactured in Barcelona, boasts a full carbon fiber sub-chassis, powered by an enhanced, fully-electric 820kW (1,114PS) power train.

I welcome the legendary Spanish brand HISPANO SUIZA, founded in 1904 by the Suqué Mateu family, to the Extreme E Championship,” said Alejandro Agag, CEO, and Founder, Extreme E.

True to its tradition and racing history, this time, it returns to motorsport looking to the future, to the electrification of mobility.

I am convinced that the HISPANO SUIZA team will honor the great tradition of their name and will be a formidable competitor in our championship, the most remote sporting event on the planet.” 

THE DRIVERS 

The team´s driver line up features former motocross rider Oliver Bennett and Christine Giampaoli Zonca.

Bennett switched to rallycross, and in 2017, the British driver debuted in the FIA World Rallycross Championship, where he became a regular.

The 28-year-old has also taken part in other competitions such as the British Rallycross Championship.

This is one of the most special days of my life, and I am extremely proud to be part of the HISPANO SUIZA XITE ENERGY TEAM. Driving a HISPANO SUIZA is within the reach of very few people around the world, and I am delighted to be able to drive the most extreme of all, the HS Extreme E,” the Briton stated. 

This is a Championship in which we will be required to push to show our full potential at every race, but at the same time, we will be able to fight to make our planet a better place. I am sure that this is just the beginning of a great adventure for all of us.”

Bennett´s teammate, known by her nickname Christine GZ, made her debut back in 2016 at World Rally Championship (WRC) at Rally de Catalunya.

The 27-year-old has focused on off-road races, making appearances in the Mexico Baja 1000 – one of the most famous and challenging races in the Off-road world, where she finished in seventh place. 

The Italian-Canarian – a member of the first all-female rally team, also added a victory to her name, winning the women’s category of the Spanish Gravel Rally Championship.

In 2020, she became the main driver of the Avatel Racing Team. Together, they achieved 3rd place in the T2 category in the Andalucía Road to Dakar Rally.

We are going to compete with a very powerful vehicle that represents the future of the automotive industry, 100% electric,” she said.

We also have the opportunity to raise awareness about climate change by showing that you can race in some of the most remote places in the world without polluting the planet

I am very proud to work for such an innovative company as HISPANO SUIZA, and I greatly appreciate the trust placed in me by Avatel

I think that having mixed teams will be a great opportunity to give female drivers more visibility and will contribute to having a stronger female presence in motorsport in the future.”

All teams, ABT CUPRA XE, ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team, Andretti United, Chip Ganassi Racing, HISPANO SUIZA XITE ENERGY TEAM, Rosberg Xtreme Racing, Team TECHEETAH, Veloce Racing, and X44, will use the same spec-vehicle, the all-electric ODYSSEY 21 E-SUVs.

SEASON 1

The first X-Prix will be host in March in Al-‘Ula, Saudi Arabia.

Lac Rose, Senegal is the second stop in the calendar, scheduled for late in May; then, the series heads to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, arriving in August.

In October 2021, the journey continues at the Brazilian Amazon in Para, Brazil, and early in December, the series will celebrate the grand finale in Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia.

The first test of the series with the presence of all teams will take place in late December at MotorLand Aragón, Spain.

Images courtesy of Extreme E Media.

About Cecilia Demartini
Cecilia is a freelance Journalist passionate about motorsport and writing.
Her articles appeared on a variety of international media outlets.
Her knowledge goes from F1, F2, and F3 to other series such as MotoGP, IndyCar, Rally, WEC, and particularly Formula E.