Last week I brought you a breakdown of the grid for the upcoming inaugural season of Extreme E racing. Well, since then there has been a pretty major change. HWA—which was one of the two teams without a 2021 lineup announced (the other being Techeetah)—announced that it would be withdrawing from the series due to coronavirus-related budget shrinkage. Within minutes of the announcement, the Spain-based Hispano-Suiza electric hyper-luxury carmaker jumped into the HWA-vacated spot on the grid.
Hispano-Suiza, the Spanish one not the German one, is a revival of the long-dormant brand of ultra lux cars founded 116 years ago. In early 2019 the company came back, sort of, to deliver an electric luxury coupe called the Carmen. Apparently it’s been selling well enough to warrant the company jumping into international motorsport.
The Extreme E series makes some sense for the brand, as it is a purely electric racing series that is interested in showcasing the effects of global climate change. I’m not sure there is a connection between an ultra luxury sports coupe and the Odyssey 21 electric SUV race truck that Extreme E uses, but if the point is just to drive brand recognition, it’ll probably work better than not racing at all.
Hispano-Suiza, as the ninth entry in the Extreme E championship, will join the series racing against entries from three-time Formula E champs Techeetah, Lewis Hamilton’s X44, Chip Ganassi Racing, Veloce Racing, Rosberg Xtreme Racing, Andretti United, ABT Cupra XE, and ACCIONA | Sainz XE. Hispano-Suiza’s driver lineup will pair WRC entrant Christine Giampaoli Zonca with World Rallycross driver Oliver Bennett.