Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship: Auto Racing For the Millennials
People show up at Red Bull Global Rallycross events to see their favorite drivers such as extreme sport superstars and YouTube sensations like Ken Block, Travis Pastrana, Bucky Lasek, Brian Deegan, Tanner Foust. The paddocks are open allowing fans to walk around and get up close to their favorite drivers. The atmosphere is fun and exciting with current tunes pumping through the speakers around the spectator stands and quick witted MC's like Jarod DeAnda and keeping audiences informed and entertained.
Is rallycross the fastest growing motorsports in the world? It has been a popular form of racing in Europe for over 40 years but even with the well established MSA British Rallycross Championship and European Rallycross Championships, the sport had a tendency to be overshadowed by other auto sports such as Formula 1 or World Rally Championship. But thanks to the organization of Global Rallycross Championship back in 2011 (later becoming Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship in 2014) and the launch of FIA World Rallycross Championship also in 2014, rallycross has exploded around the globe and continues to gain momentum, quickly becoming a favorite form of motorsports racing. NASCAR may still be the reigning king here in the States, but with its popularity dwindling in recent years, Red Bull Global Rallycross may be the heir apparent.
Over a week ago, Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship kicked off their 2016 season at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix, AZ. The doubleheader event was a spectacular debut to the 2016 season with signature door-to-door battles. GRC Supercar veteran,Tanner Foust, dominated the weekend winning both rounds. These wins put Foust back on top as having the most Supercar wins in GRC history.
Red Bull GRC has come a long way in a short amount of time. The series held its inaugural event on March 25, 2011 at the well known "House of Drift" Irwindale Speedway followed by events in Washington State, Colorado and California. Since that first season the series has increased to 12 rounds. On occasion, it has expanded outside the United States to countries like Brazil, Spain and Germany. In 2013, GRC added the Lites series, a development class aimed at producing what GRC founder Chip Pankow called "the next generation of star drivers." The result from the increase in rounds and the added Lites series has attracted thousands of new followers. Particularly the generations known as X, Y, and Z.
Not only has the sport witnessed a quick growth of followers to its races, it has also witnessed a surge of drivers from other racing disciplines from around the globe vying for the chance to jump behind the rallycross wheel. Seven-time American Motorcycle Association motocross champion, Jeff Ward; X Games superstar and Nitro Circus co-founder, Travis Pastrana; pro skateboarder, Bucky Lasek; and Formula 1 and Formula E drivers, Scott Speed and Nelson Piquet Jr., just to name a few.
And it's not just drivers who are itching for a chance to race in the Red Bull GRC series. Team owners have also been eager to be part of the action. Here in the states, well known team owners such as Michael Andretti, Bryan Herta and Chip Ganassi have jumped into the crazy world of rallycross. These leading teams within the NASCAR, Formula E and IndyCar arenas were able to recognize the writing on the wall, which is that rallycross is the up-and-coming auto sport of the younger generations.
"My whole childhood I grew up racing go-karts and Formula cars", said 2015 GRC Champion, Scott Speed, "and at no point-and-time was I the cool kid in high school. Now if I could go back in time and be the kid racing rallycross, winning a X Games gold medal in high school, I'm the cool kid in high school. That's what rallycross offers that no other motorsport in our country does."
Photo Credit: Red Bull Global Rallycross