Red Bull Global Rallycross put down a track and brought their competitive series to Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum July 19-20, 2014. In its fourth year since growing into a full-fledged series after the 2010 Los Angeles X Games, the race travels to different cities and build unique tracks in each.
The cars racing in GRC are production models refitted to withstand the demands of a standing start, hairpin turns, dirt, gravel, and other added hazards on the track as well as the table jump, a main feature in every city. Bucky Lasek drives the modified Subaru WRX STI seen in this photo.
The Subaru team guts the four-door WRX and reconstructs the interior with the roll cage seen here. The driver’s seat now sits about a foot back from the B-pillar.
While the driver’s door exterior is still steel, the passenger-side and rear doors - as well as the hood - are replaced with carbon fiber to keep the car's weight down.
GRC races are fairly short at ten laps, so quick acceleration from a standing start is key. Under the hood is the 600 horsepower Subaru Boxer engine, going from 0-60 in two seconds. Many stock items on the Subaru WRX are retained, most notably the tail lights and door handles.
Drivers come to GRC from diverse competitive backgrounds. Bucky Lasek and Sverre Isachsen returned in 2014 to drive the Subaru WRX cars. Lasek comes to GRC from a quite famous skateboarding background, while Isachsen has won Norwegian and European Rallycross championships.
Volkswagen has signed onto GRC in 2014 as a major sponsor. Tanner Foust (pictured) and Scott Speed both drive for the Volkswagen team. Foust comes from a rally and drifting background, while Speed has raced both Formula One and stock cars in NASCAR.
Foust and Speed currently drive the Volkswagen Polo for GRC, a mini hatch for the European market. The September 2014 Global Rallycross races in Los Angeles will see the VW team switch to racing in the GRC Beetle first revealed this past February at the Chicago Auto Show.
Rhys Millen has been competing in the Hyundai Veloster since GRC’s inception. Millen comes to GRC from Formula D and also works as a movie stunt driver.
Joining Rhys Millen in a Hyundai Veloster is the series’ first female driver, Emma Gilmour of New Zealand, center. Sarah Burgess signed onto Global Rallycross soon after, racing for the first time in a Chevrolet Sonic New York.
In 2013, Nelson Piquet Jr. competed in GRC driving a Mitsubishi Evo. This year, he has left that team and now drives a Ford Fiesta ST. He also began the season driving in both the Supercar and the Supercar Lites series to gain more track experience, but for New York, decided to just drive the Ford Fiesta.
Piquet Jr. has had good luck this year in the Ford Fiesta ST, finishing on the podium in three of four races to date this season.
The Olsbergs MSE designed fiberglass Supercar Lites offer entry-level race cars to Global Rallycross with half the horsepower. Lites drivers are the SuperCar drivers of the future and many - but not all - are still teenagers. And yes, the bubbly supplied to them on the podium is sparkling grape juice to comply with the state-mandated drinking age!
Ken Block drives a Ford Fiesta ST for his Hoonigan team. Block won the final 2013 race in Las Vegas, and ended up placing third in New York after a technicality bumped Scott Speed from the podium.
Ken Block also drives his Ford Fiesta in the later episodes of his wildly popular Gymkhana videos.
Canadian Steve Arpin, another Ford Fiesta driver, started his motorsports career in karting, then moved up to the dirt track oval in Mini Sprints and Modified stock cars.
Arpin & Austin Dyne both drive Ford Fiesta STs in the GRC series. This years is Dyne’s first year competing in a SuperCar, having competed in the Lites in 2013. Joni Wiman is another driver promoted from GRC Lites last year to a Supercar this year.
Ford, Hyundai, Subaru and Volkswagen are “Official Partners” of Global Rallycross. However, the field is not limited to these manufacturers; other cars such as the Chevrolet Sonic, MINI, and even a Citroen DS3 have been driven in GRC races. All cars in GRC are driven without the benefit of electronic traction controls.
Patrik Sandell is another Ford Fiesta ST driver, hailing from Sweden with a rally background. GRC races feature a joker lap - in essence a short-cut that each driver must take but only once, and can be used strategically to pass other cars. All drivers first compete in heats for grid position, then the drivers with the slowest times from each heat all race in a Last Chance Qualifier before the final race.
Driver Sverre Isachsen flies over the table jump in his Subaru WRX. Fan- and family-friendly Red Bull Global Rallycross is set to travel to Charlotte, North Carolina next, and on to Daytona, Florida in August, and Los Angeles, California and Seattle Washington in September. The final race will once again be in Las Vegas, Nevada in November 2014.