Kevin Hansen and Molly Taylor began the 2022 Extreme E season as team-mates at JBXE, and will now end the year as team-mates at Veloce Racing. On Tuesday, Veloce announced the two have been hired to drive the #5 at the Energy X Prix on 26/27 November followed by the full 2023 schedule. The duo replaces Lance Woolridge and Christine GZ.
Hansen had been JBXE’s permanent male driver since taking over for team owner Jenson Button in the second round of 2021, from which he and fellow Swede Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky brought JBXE to a third-place points finish with four podiums. At the 2022 season-opening Desert X Prix with Taylor, he fractured his T8 vertebra and bruised a lung following an especially hard landing during the Crazy Race, resulting in a lengthy rehabilitation. Luckily for Hansen, a five-month break allowed him to recover in time for the Island X Prix in July, where he and new team-mate Hedda Hosås finished third in the doubleheader’s first race (albeit due to a penalty).
Between XE races, Hansen has been competing in the FIA World Rallycross Championship RX1e class and currently sits fourth in the standings.
“I am absolutely stoked to be joining Veloce Racing on a long-term deal starting in Uruguay,” Hansen stated. “To join a team which is young, ambitious, modern in its ways and doing things that no other team does is fantastic for me. It’s a huge opportunity to continue in Extreme E for the next X Prix and for Season 3.
“The team has high ambitions, as do I and Molly. I am really happy to have her alongside me; we raced in Saudi Arabia together and had a great time. We work well as a pair and we’re looking forward to building a partnership between us and the whole team.”
Taylor won the 2021 championship for Rosberg X Racing with Johan Kristoffersson, scoring three victories. Ironically, Åhlin-Kottulinsky replaced her for the 2022 season and JBXE signed her as a last-second driver for the Desert X Prix. Hosås, who was Veloce’s substitute driver at said round after GZ got hurt in qualifying, became Hansen’s team-mate afterwards.
“Having had the benefit of a win in last year’s championship, it feels amazing to know that I’m going to be back in the Extreme E paddock,” said Taylor. “I think we are building a very special team with the combination of Veloce’s ambition and experience, as well as Kevin’s skill and commitment. We are setting our targets high and I’m looking forward to being back in the action.”
Veloce has struggled in 2022, being the only team who has yet to make a Final. Their best finish is eighth at the Island X Prix #1, while the most recent start in Chile saw them crash out of their heat. Woolridge and GZ are both departing Extreme E altogether, with the former focusing on rally raid; his family’s Neil Woolridge Motorsport team has been developing a Ford Ranger T1+ alongside M-Sport for a future Dakar Rally attempt.
“We’re delighted to welcome both Kevin and Molly to our Veloce family and we’re excited to see what the future holds for us together,” commented Veloce CEO Daniel Bailey.
“The challenges of Extreme E are unique in the world of motorsport, and Veloce is continuously evolving to adapt to this fast-paced and innovative series. Next year promises to be the team’s biggest yet, but first we are looking to finish Season 2 on a real high.
“All of us here at Veloce Racing want to thank both Lance and Christine for their commitment and contributions to the team, and we wish them all the best going forward in their careers.”
With Hansen’s departure, JBXE has not announced his replacement for the Energy X Prix or the following season.