Hayden Paddon has praised Opel’s electric rally project but says his own independently-built car, using a Hyundai Kona base, has different aims to the German manufacturer’s low-cost single-make series.
Despite this, the two initiatives have very different aims and philosophies, according to former Hyundai factory rally driver Paddon.
“Obviously [the Opel Corsa-e Rally] is a manufacturer-backed one so it’s going to come a lot quicker,” Paddon explained to e-racing365.
“At the end of the day, I’m a petrolhead as much as anyone else but the idea of going fast is what excites me about motorsport. EV technology is faster than combustion, there is no doubt about that.
“The sport has to be in line with the automotive industry otherwise the sport doesn’t exist. Rallying has to speed up its process in terms of taking this technology onboard and I think it’s been a bit slow on the uptake.
“The more people that do, the more manufacturers, the better.
“The Opel car is a great concept and having a bit of a control rally class in Europe [is great]. In this part of the world (New Zealand) there is nothing happening at the moment.”
Opel will run its car in a single-make series based in Germany, kicking off in August, while Paddon plans to compete head-to-head with internal combustion engine cars in the New Zealand Rally Championship next year.
“What’s a little bit unique about our project is we’re trying to build a rally-winning car, and we’re targeting to go into the New Zealand championship in 2021 against combustion cars, and we want to showcase this car in what we perceive as a normal rally environment so far,” he said.
“We can go out and showcase to people that an EV car is fast, it is exciting, it can complete the rallies, and it can win rallies, against what already exists.
“We’re not creating an EV car to go in an EV championship at the moment; we’re creating something a little bit different that hasn’t been done before.
“We’re creating a car that can go out and win rallies.”