WRC Champ Loeb Will Drive This Electric Lancia Delta in Rallycross Return
The 9-time WRC winner is getting back behind the wheel in this retrofitted Lancia Delta that’s aiming to change the sport.
After a four-year hiatus from world rallycross, nine-time world rally champ Sebastien Loeb will make his return. This time, however, Loeb won't be screaming down the track in a combustion-powered Peugeot as did four years ago—instead, he'll be behind the wheel of an electric Lancia.
Now, this isn't any old Lancia Delta Integrale (as if there was an easy way to say that). Instead, the car Loeb will be piloting is the Lancia Delta Evo-e RX, which is an all-electric creation championed by fellow French rallycross driver, Guerlain Chicherit.
Loeb was lured back to WRX after his full-time retirement by the "challenge" presented by piloting Chicherit's expertly crafted electric Lancia. Under the pair's newly formed Special ONE Racing team, Loeb and Chicherit will team up to drive a pair of Lancias and attempt to make history by becoming the first team to win a world championship race using retrofitted electric cars.
This isn't the first time we've heard of an electric Lancia Delta—in fact, a version of the Evo-e RX built by Chicherit's GCK Motorsport debuted last year. Loeb drove the car in the months following its reveal and was "immediately won over by its dynamic qualities." Likely, Loeb was won over by the car's two 250-kilowatt electric motors, which ultimately produce a combined output of around 670 horsepower.
“I’m from a generation that was brought up seeing wins by Lancia Deltas in rallying, so naturally I have a weakness for this car," Loeb said. "But when Guerlain spoke to me the first time about tackling a rallycross season with it, I thought he was mad. Then I tried the car last December and was immediately won over by its dynamic qualities. I have great faith in this project, and I can’t wait to champion it on tracks around the world.”
As we've talked about in the past, electric power just makes sense for rallycross. Short races coupled with instant bursts of power make for the perfect use case for high-power EVs. Couple that with a legendary car such as the Lancia Delta Integrale (plus two drivers as decorated as Loeb and Chicherit), and you've got a recipe for success—or, at least that's what Special ONE Racing is hoping for.
The 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship season kicks off in scenic Montalegre, Portugal, in June.
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