Kevin Hansen burst on to the rallycross and out of the shadows of his brother and parents, showing his own talent shining through, challenging at the highest level of the sport. He is of course the son of Kenneth and Susann Hansen and younger brother of Timmy Hansen.
In a fascinating interview with The Checkered Flag, Kevin discusses his inspirations, his career, relationships and driving style in his already incredible career at such a young age.
At 14-years-old Kevin won the JRX Junior Cup and defended the title a year later. At the age of 17 he won the RX Lites Cup showing incredible consistency. He said: “I’m very blessed to be at such a high level at this age, but to be honest I’ve never felt that my professional career will last longer due to me starting at, or succeeding at a younger age.
“I think in junior categories I was always very fast, where talent counted more than practice. Also I always had a great team behind me with a better crew than the others in the championship could get I believe. I think I was very strong when I had no one close to compare with, a team mate to always beat.
“Now in World RX talent is not enough. You need to push yourself and practice to perfection. Luckily enough I’m ready to do just that.
“My key has been to always compare myself to the best, and in my career that has been Timmy formost, but also Sebastien Loeb. I also taking inspiration from other great athletes such as Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
“Right now I’m at the point where I need to take a step up and be a character of my own. Being Kevin, and setting new targets, and ways to think as I now need to beat the once I’ve looked up to in the past.“
Kevin’s father Kenneth Hansen was a 14-time FIA European Champion for Rallycross across three different decades whilst mother Susann Hansen become European champion in 1994. Kevin said his parents have been a massive factor as to why he wanted to become a rallycross driver: “My dream has always been to achieve a European Championship title, and that’s all thanks to my father being so great when he drove.
“Susann though has always been the one supporting me in the moment. I remember when I wanted to shift from karting to rallycross, Susann was the first I told and she was straight away ”if that’s what you want to do, then we stop karting and try to get into rallycross.
“They have different sides of the coin, but both are vital to my success.”
The Hansen family is one of the biggest names in rallycross and according to Kevin it is all about rallycross for most of the season and whilst the work on the racetrack stops in December, focus immediately turns to the following season.
“In the winter time it’s about running our company and securing budgets, which in the end is rallycross talk! But, things have changed drastically since 2018, as now we are working together full time, and still try to find the perfect compromises and ways to work together even more. I guess that’s the challenge in every family company.
Kevin and older brother Timmy Hansen know each other inside out and have been racing each other for years. After winning the FIA European Rallycross Championship in 2016, Kevin stepped up to the world stage a year later for a full season and has been racing against Timmy at the highest level of rallycross.
He told is some intriguing things about the differences between the brothers: “The biggest difference is for sure personality. I am way more energetic, forward, crazy outside the track, while Timmy is calm, centred, and strict.
“Although, this switches the other way around on track with me being more careful, less risks and consistent. Timmy is bloody fast and always takes more risk. Our driving styles differ a bit but I won’t say too much.”
Last year was a breakthrough season for Kevin after he took his maiden win and podium in the opening round at the World RX of Abu Dhabi following a penalty for Niclas Gronholm.
This was how Kevin felt after he found out he took his first win in the championship: “It was amazing! I think when Timmy had his crash, I really stepped up and performed with great confidence and speed. Even though Niclas pushed me off in the final, and eventually I won in the stewards room, everyone on the grid knows I’m a driver that is able to contend for World RX wins!
Consistency and four more podiums for Kevin in 2020 saw him the lead of the championship for the majority of the season on his way to third in the standings in a dramatic finale in South Africa. He is looking forward to the new season especially the new rallycross track at the famous Nurburgring which will host the finale of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship.
“To make the difference this year to win the championship, I have worked on some key things in my driving to open up a few extra tenths, that I think will be key in the long term.
“Also as a team we have made changes to the car and crew to optimise it even more. We knew what was weak in 2019, and we believe we have touched on those points now.
“Finally to beat the field, Timmy and I will again work very very closely together. Every time a driver meets one of us on track, they will know they are fighting against two drivers. That is our key to success once again, and nobody can copy that winning formula!”
The new 2020 World RX calendar will be an eight round championship including four events in the month of October. Hansen believes there will be even more drivers and teams fighting at the front. 2020 also marks the second year of Yellow Squad and it is something Kevin is very excited about.
“The first year of Yellow Squad was amazing. It’s been so nice to build a brand up from the ground, and to create a team together with Timmy. Yellow Squad is the new generation of team, a youthful and exciting one. We are not targeting the old fashion rallycross audience, we target the memes-generation!
“Year two sees a massive expansion from one CrossCar to two RX2 cars, and great cooperation with Eric Fären. We choose Eric as he has great experience over the last few years since I personally stopped racing the Lites car, and also because he has built the team he ran before, like we do in World RX.
“[He is] very professional, and he has the best looking team in the RX2 paddock. 2020 will see the return of title contender Henrik Krogstad, and the next generation of mega fast driver in Dan Skocdopole. The line up is beyond all we could have wished for, and it will be very fun to launch Yellow Squad into year two. We have pushed a lot for social media, technical structure and professionalism.
Team Hansen will be defending their World RX teams’ title in 2020 and Kevin will be looking to emulate his brother Timmy and become champion at the end of the year in what should be a thrilling season.