Christine GZ moves to Veloce Racing for 2022 Extreme E season
Christine Giampaoli Zonca has been named as the female driver for Veloce Racing in Extreme E, becoming the third female driver confirmed in the championship.
Christine Giampaoli Zonca – or "GZ", how the Italian-Spanish driver is widely known – raced in the first edition of Extreme E, the innovative championship for electric-SUV that is aiming at raising awareness on environmental issues.
GZ joined the series with Hispano Suiza Xite Energy Team, which then became Xite Energy Racing, alongside Oliver Bennett.
The Canarian rally driver had a good start of the season with a fifth place in Saudi Arabia, and finished sixth in both qualifying and race at the Ocean X Prix in Senegal. In the second-half of the season, though, Xite Racing was hampered by technical issues and struggled – but Christine GZ often proved impressive speed and good potential, as well as a very spectacular driving style. She was consistently faster than her co-driver and was arguably among the most impressive female drivers in the inaugural Extreme E season.
Christine GZ now becomes the third female driver to be officially confirmed for a 2022 seat in Extreme E, as she was announced as the next Veloce Racing's driver.
Veloce's Jamie Chadwick missed two rounds in 2021 due to clashing commitments with W Series and is thus not expected to continue in the off-road championship. Emma Gilmour was named as Veloce's reserve driver and stepped in for Chadwick in Greenland and Sardinia, but the New Zealander has since then been named as the 2022 driver for McLaren, as the British manufacturer will join the championship.
Veloce Racing – an organization that has its roots in Esports and that has successfully ventured into real-life racing with teams in Extreme E and W Series – will therefore rely on Christine Giampaoli Zonca for its future.
“I’m so excited to be joining Veloce Racing this year", she said. "They did an amazing job last season after a really tough start in Saudi Arabia, the car looked really competitive across 2021.
The British outfit had in fact to pull out of the first Desert X Prix due to a roll-over crash by Staphane Sarrazin during qualifying and could no longer continue the weekend, but Sarrazin and Chadwick bounced back in Senegal when they scored an impressive second place at the Ocean X Prix.
“I learnt a lot last year and I think that’s important going into Extreme E's second season", continued GZ. "Together with the team, I think we can achieve great things and we’ll definitely be targeting podiums and more!”
The London-based team received technical support from top single-seater team ART GP and is looking to build momentum from a positive second half of the season in Extreme E.
“Just like Extreme E has learnt and evolved, so have we as a team at Veloce", commented Rupert Svendsen-Cook, Team Principal at Veloce. "From a driving as well as a team perspective, the challenges of the series are unique in the world of motorsport – when you consider the very limited mileage achieved throughout a race weekend and ultimately the season, in a totally ‘lift the blindfold and go’ race weekend format with no permitted prior circuit layout knowledge, terrain info or pace notes."
“With a very short break between Season 1 and 2, we’ve not backed off to ensure we kick off 2022 on the right foot and Christine GZ stood out as a driver above all others, who with very limited mileage, made very impressive as well as rapid progress in 2021."
GZ made her debut in 2014 and has since then grown her off-road resumé considerably. Among her most high-profile participation is certainly the famous Baja 1000, where she claimed a seventh place finish. Her dream is to race one day at the legendary Dakar rally.
“For us, Christine’s talent is certain, and we’re committed to maximising her potential through further development to ensure we capitalise on that for our shared success" – continued Svendsen-Cook. "We’re delighted to welcome Christine to our very close knit Veloce family and we’re excited for what the future holds for us together.”
Her co-driver at Veloce Racing has so far not been announced yet. A draft of the 2022 calendar has been published by Extreme E after the 2021 season finale; it will feature again five events, starting from 19-20 February in Neom, Saudi Arabia.