Colin-on-Cars – Luxury carmaker Hispano Suiza goes off-road racing

A motoring name inextricably linked to the grace and elegance of a bygone era will go racing in 2021 when

Hispano Suiza lines up with a team formed in association with the energy drink brand XITE Energy.

The Hispano Suiza XITE Energy Team will race in next year´s Extreme E Championship. Oliver Bennett and Christine Giampaoli Zonca will be the team’s drivers in the inaugural season of this new and revolutionary championship, which promotes values ​​such as equality, sustainable mobility and the fight against climate change.

 Oliver Bennett and Christine Giampaoli Zonca

Hispano Suiza was founded in Barcelona in 1904, by Damián Mateu and Marc Birkigt. Originally, the company was identified by its stork-in-flight emblem, a reference to the company’s prowess in producing aero engines in the early 1900s. Between 1904 and 1946, Hispano Suiza built more than 12 000 luxury cars and 50 000 aeroplane engines.

Now reborn, the company created the Carmen in 2019 and the Carmen Boulogne earlier this year, pioneering the ‘hyperlux’ segment through a blend of design, rigorous luxury, painstaking craftsmanship and scrupulous attention to technical and engineering details.

Hispano Suiza plans to become one of Europe’s most luxurious and exclusive car manufacturers, producing customisable luxury cars of the highest quality for the world’s most discerning motorists. The brand is proud of its Spanish roots with its headquarters, technical centre, and manufacturing facility all based in Barcelona, and a direct family lineage tracing four generations to the founder Damián Mateu.

Hispano Suiza Carmen

At the beginning of the 20th century, Hispano Suiza turned its racing debut into a legend, with three consecutive victories in the George Boillot Cup, an endurance race. The first one, with André Dubonnet at the wheel of the Hispano Suiza H6 Coupé, took place in 1921.

A century later, Hispano Suiza maintains its competitive spirit intact, and will participate in Extreme E with the HS Extreme E, the spectacular 410 kW electric off-road vehicle.

Oliver Bennett is a 28-year-old British driver with experience in rallycross competitions. In 2016, he made his debut in the British Rallycross Championship and the following season he fought for the title. He also made his debut in the FIA World Rallycross Championship, where he has competed in recent seasons. Bennet has also participated in a number of Americas Rallycross events and the Gymkhana Grid in Cape Town in 2018.

Christine Giampaoli Zonca, better known as Christine GZ, is a 27-year-old Italian-Canary driver. In 2014, in her full-time debut in competition, she achieved her first victory in a gravel rally, and that same year she was proclaimed regional champion of the Canary Islands in front-wheel drive vehicles, as well as in group B4. In 2016, she made her debut in the World Rally Championship (WRC) at Rally de Catalunya, as a member of the first all-female rally team, and won the women’s category of the Spanish Gravel Rally Championship.

Since 2017, Giampaoli’s career has been focused on participating in off-road races, in the United States and Mexico, where she achieved seventh place in the famous Baja 1000, within the Pro UTV Turbo category. In 2020, she became the main driver of Avatel Racing Team, achieving third place in the T2 category in the Andalucía Road to Dakar Rally.

Miguel Suqué Mateu, Chairman of Hispano Suiza says: “Hispano Suiza has always integrated values ​​such as sportsmanship and competition into its DNA: both of vital importance for this project. Being able to take our brand to the desert, the Polar Arctic Circle or the Amazon, and 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. I wish to thank our partners and our technical team for their trust and our racing drivers, Oliver and Christine, since they are the ones who will allow us to continue fighting for victories and good results, just as we did 100 years ago”.

Extreme E represents a revolution in the world of motorsport. 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% 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.

Extreme E – 2021 Racing Calendar:

Desert X Prix: AlUla, Saudi Arabia – 20-21 March 2021

Ocean X Prix: Lac Rose, Senegal  – 29-30 May 2021

Arctic X Prix: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland – 28-29 August 2021

Amazon X Prix: Para, Brazil – 23-24 October 2021

Glacier X Prix: Patagonia, Argentina – 11-12 December 2021

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