Global Rallycross

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Red Bull Global Rallycross
Global RallyCross Championship logo.png
Category Rallycross
Country USA
Inaugural season 2011
Drivers' champion United States Scott Speed
Teams' champion Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross
Official website www.redbullglobalrallycross.com
Motorsport current event.svg Current season

Red Bull Global Rallycross (official abbreviation GRC) is a self-owned rallycross series run in the United States. Started as Global RallyCross Championship in 2009 by Brian Gale and Chip Pankow, the series has gained a fair amount of commercial success. The events are run with heavily modified production cars called Rallycross Supercars and are run at a wide range of venues from NASCAR speedways to street courses and commonly feature a mix of dirt and asphalt.

History[edit]

Ken Block (left) battling Brian Deegan in the 2015 GRC event at Marine Corps Air Station New River

Originally a made-for-TV sport with rally drivers competing, the first-ever rallycross was held on February 4, 1967 at England's Lydden Circuit. Early competitors included 1968 Rally Monte Carlo winner Vic Elford in a showroom Porsche 911, Brian Melia in his Ford Lotus Cortina and Tony Fall in a BMC Mini Cooper S.

Rallycross officially debuted in the US at X Games XVI in Los Angeles in 2010, to great success. Three demonstration events were held in late 2010 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park, and Global Rallycross Management organized a first championship season of five events in 2011. Rockstar Energy Drink driver Tanner Foust won the inaugural championship title in 2011. He retained the title again in 2012. In 2013 Global Rallycross finally expanded globally for the first time with races outside the USA, including races in Brazil, Germany and Spain, due to X Games' global expansion.

In addition to promoting the series, Global Rallycross Management manages invitations and competition for X Games Rallycross contests.

In 2013, GRC introduced the Lites division, a developmental series. Making its debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Joni Wiman was the inaugural champion after winning all six races.[1]

Format[edit]

Qualifying[edit]

Qualifying is conducted over the course of one hour. The field is broken up into small groups that take to the track in 10-minute sessions. Seeding for heat races is determined by a driver's qualifying lap time.

Heats[edit]

A race weekend consists of one or two rounds of heats that count for championship points, as well as a semifinal. The heats always consist of three sessions of four or five cars each, while the semifinals consist of two sessions of six or more cars each. In the case of an event with only one round of heats, such as a doubleheader race, points are awarded in the semifinal, but not otherwise.

The top three finishers in the semifinals transfer into the main event, giving their teams time to work on their cars while others continue to compete. All drivers who do not make it into the main event via the semifinals will compete in the last chance qualifier for the final four remaining qualifying spots. Ten cars then compete in the main event.

Start[edit]

The start of a GRC race requires drivers to have great execution and incredible reflexes. All GRC action begins with a standing start, where drivers are given 30- and 10-second intervals before the green. During that time they must activate launch systems, including an anti-lag system, all while being ready to launch within a split second's time. The fastest driver in the previous session is given the inside lane to the first corner.

Joker lap[edit]

Each course is equipped with two routes: the main route, and the joker lap route, which each driver must only take once per race. The GRC joker lap route typically shortens the length of the track significantly (while in the FIA World Rallycross Championship the JL detour is longer than the main route, to slow the cars down for a minimum of two seconds), forcing a driver to make strategic decisions about when to take it. On one hand, taking it on the first lap allows a driver to get it over with; on the other, waiting until the end of the race can allow a driver to gain positions before the finish. Depending on venue, the joker lap route may have additional obstacles which significantly slow the cars thus making the main route faster. In mid season 2015, GRC made some change to the joker lap, now drivers are not allowed to take the joker lap on the first lap.

Penalty box[edit]

The penalty box was a new addition to GRC for the 2013 season, and is designed to deal with on-track infractions without having to red flag or restart the race. In event of a jump start or rough driving, offenders will pull into a 50-meter lane off track, where they will be held until a track official releases them. The penalty box was first used at the first event at X Games Brazil, when Nelson Piquet Jr. jump-started at the beginning of Heat 2.

Championship points[edit]

As of 2014, championship points are awarded only to drivers who have committed to running at least half of the season. Under the current point system, one-off drivers are skipped over when points are awarded; for example, if the race winner was not eligible to earn points, the event runner-up would earn first place points. Points are awarded at the conclusion of the event to eligible finishers as follows:

Position 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th and below
Points 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 1

In addition, there are two rounds of points-paying heats at every event. Each heat race winner receives three bonus points in the standings, each second-place finisher receives two points, and every other driver to start the heat receives one point. Only drivers who are disqualified from a heat or fail to pull to the starting grid do not receive points for their heats. On race weekends with three rounds of heats, the third round solely determines starting spots in the main event and does not award points.

At the end of the season, the driver to score the most points is crowned GRC champion. The top two cars per manufacturer also score points in the manufacturer's championship.

Venues[edit]

GRC tracks are between half a mile and a mile in length, and feature a mixture of dirt and tarmac, as well as various other obstacles. GRC tracks can be built almost anywhere, leading to varied layouts.

Cars[edit]

Global Rallycross cars roll out of the factory as production models, but receive significant improvements to chassis, engine, and safety features to bring them up to racing spec. GRC vehicles are incredibly versatile; they produce 600 horsepower and can accelerate from 0–60 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds, with the help of AWD. All Wheel Drive powering all 4 wheels at the same time, but are also built to withstand 70-foot jumps and contact with other vehicles. Unlike many other racing series, they also do not feature the aid of electronic traction aids. Ford Motor Company, Subaru, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Chevrolet serve as manufacturers, fielding the Fiesta ST), WRX STi, Beetle and Polo R, Veloster Turbo, and Sonic, respectively.[2]

Teams and drivers[edit]

A significant number of GRC drivers have had careers in other action sports like skateboarder Bucky Lasek[2] and BMX rider Dave Mirra.[3] Rallycross provides its athletes with a similar thrill to other action sports, only with added control and safety measures. Other drivers have transitioned from other forms of motorsports, like former Formula One and NASCAR drivers Scott Speed and Nelson Piquet Jr.[2]

Many former World Rally champions also choose occasionally to race in GRC, for example Sébastien Loeb and Marcus Grönholm. These racing professionals balance their skills in car control with the added challenge of wheel-to-wheel racing. In 2013, Global Rallycross also featured the Star Car, designed to bring even more successful drivers from the racing world into the series. A different driver was chosen to run each of the series’ nine races based on a number of factors including resume and home nation. Speed debuted the car at the Global X Games in Foz do Iguaçu.[4]

GRC teams are sophisticated and technically advanced organizations, capable of competing worldwide in various championships. GRC teams have experience competing in the World Rally Championship, Rally America, and European rallycross. A GRC team is typically led by an engineer, who makes decisions on how to set up the car and race strategy, and is composed of a handful of mechanics who perform maintenance work on the vehicle. An engine technician is also employed to keep the 2.0-liter engines performing at their maximum potential. Some of the popular team names include Hoonigan Racing Division, Pastrana Racing, Rhys Millen Racing, Bryan Herta, Andretti Autosport, SRTUSA and Olsberg MSE.

Coverage[edit]

The series had a multi-year programming relationship with ESPN from 2011 to 2013. Global Rallycross broadcasts would be slated to follow NASCAR Nationwide Series and NHRA shows on ESPN and ESPN2, and live event streaming took place on ESPN3.com.

In 2014, the series signed a multi-year deal with NBC that included all but one of the races being shown on NBC either live or tape-delayed as well as re-airs taking place on NBC Sports Network. The one race not shown on NBC would be run in conjunction with the X Games in Austin, Texas, thus being the lone event televised by ESPN.

Champions[edit]

Season Championship for Drivers Championship for Manufacturers
Driver Team Car Manufacturer Car
2011 United States Tanner Foust Sweden Olsbergs MSE Ford Racing Ford Fiesta not held
2012 United States Tanner Foust Sweden Olsbergs MSE Ford Racing Ford Fiesta
2013 Finland Toomas Heikkinen Sweden Olsbergs MSE Ford Racing Ford Fiesta ST United States Ford Ford Fiesta ST
2014 Finland Joni Wiman Sweden Olsbergs MSE Ford Racing Ford Fiesta ST United States Ford Ford Fiesta ST
2015 United States Scott Speed United States Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Volkswagen Beetle United States Ford Ford Fiesta ST

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leone, Chris (July 11, 2015). "TODAY IN GRC HISTORY: JULY 11". Global Rallycross. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Wagner, Jan (January 28, 2015). "AutoMatters+: Red Bull Global Rallycross 2015". Del Mar Times. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  3. ^ DeGroot, Nick (February 5, 2016). "24-time X Games medalist Dave Mirra dies in apparent suicide". Motorsport.com. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  4. ^ Leone, Chris (April 12, 2013). "PATH TO BRAZIL: MEET SCOTT SPEED, DRIVER, STAR CAR". Global Rallycross. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 

External links[edit]