Final standings after 11 runs
|1||Scott Speed||Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross||571|
|2||Tanner Foust||Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross||567|
|3||Brian Deegan||Chip Ganassi Racing||473|
|4||Steve Arpin||Chip Ganassi Racing||461|
|5||Patrik Sandell||Bryan Herta Rallysport||436|
|6||Joni Wiman||Olsbergs MSE||342|
|7||Sebastian Eriksson||Olsbergs MSE||341|
|8||Austin Dyne||AD Racing||198|
|9||Jeff Ward||SH Rallycross||134|
|10||Rhys Millen||Rhys Millen Racing||96|
Final standings after 11 runs
Scott Speed has done it. The US driver has won the Global Rallycross Championship for the second time in a row in the Andretti Autosport team’s Volkswagen Beetle GRC. At the final in Los Angeles, the American put in an impressive performance to triumph over his team-mate and rival Tanner Foust, who had gone into the crucial weekend of racing with a 13-point lead.
In a real nail-biter of a race, Speed crossed the finishing line second putting him two places ahead of Foust, who now has to settle for the unofficial title of runner-up. Speed bested Foust in the first race on Saturday, meaning there were just five points between the two rallycross aces ahead of Sunday’s final in the Port of Los Angeles. There was no doubt about it: the faster of the two would be the new (old) champion.
Speed started from pole position with Foust in seventh place. The latter made a brilliant start and shot into third place. “I heard over the radio that Tanner was on my tail. That really did make me a bit nervous,” admitted champion Speed after he crossed the line. “Sandell was ahead of me, who was slower than me. Every possible scenario went through my mind – like Tanner overtaking us both.” That didn’t happen though. Speed managed to overtake Sandell so that the latter acted as a buffer between Speed and Foust. Meanwhile, Ford driver Brian Deegan managed to pull off a tactical masterpiece, taking his Joker Lap just before the end to jump from fourth place to first and win the race.
At the end of the day, Speed didn’t mind missing out on the race win: “Today is the most emotional day in my career as a racing driver,” said Speed, who won a total of four season victories in the fast Beetle GRC. “Everyone drove fairly today and I just have to thank everyone in the Andretti Autosport team. It was a fantastic season.”
Showdown in the City of Angels.
Showdown in the City of Angels, as Los Angeles is also known. The same location where Al Pacino and Robert de Niro as the evil cop Vincent Hanna and even more evil mafia boss Neil McCauley once staged a fierce battle in the film Heat may host a similarly fierce exchange of blows in the Global Rallycross Championship this weekend.
Tanner Foust versus Scott Speed is the duel at the season finale, which will be held on a circuit in Long Beach harbour. There will once again be a 2 in 1 at the Double Header, which is two race events on one weekend. The two Volkswagen drivers are separated by 13 points; Foust leads the overall standings ahead of Speed. Volkswagen clinched the manufacturers' championship with the Andretti-Autosport team at the round in Seattle, which Foust won.
13 points might sound like a lot. But on more than once occasion the 2016 GRC season has shown that anything is possible in the spectacular rally circuit series. Punctures and accidents are common, and in a finale with six cars, you can be overtaken or end up with nothing just like that. However, with seven wins in nine rounds, Foust and Speed have impressively shown what both they and their car, the Volkswagen Beetle GRC, are capable of.
"It's very close in Global Rallycross, the competition is fierce and it will be a highly competitive finale," said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets, who will be on site at the spectacle in L.A. "But with the Volkswagen Beetle GRC we have a car that has been capable of winning throughout the entire season – seven successes in nine events held speak for themselves. Which is why I am confident and will be keeping my fingers crossed for both Tanner and Scott. May the best man win."
Volkswagen wins Manufacturers’ title with the Beetle.
Perfect weekend for Volkswagen: Tanner Foust’s victory and fourth place for his team-mate Scott Speed (both USA) ensured that Volkswagen was crowned Manufacturers’ champion in Seattle, with races still to come. Foust won round eleven of the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC), coming home ahead of Sebastian Eriksson (S, Honda) and Joni Wiman (FIN, Honda) to regain the championship lead from Speed. As such, the two Andretti team-mates travel to California with excellent chances of winning the title.
The champion will be decided on 8 and 9 October when Los Angeles (USA) hosts the closing double-header – two full-points races on one weekend. This is Volkswagen’s first Manufacturers’ title in the America Rallycross championship, after Scott Speed won the Drivers’ Championship for the first time last year with the powerful Beetle GRC.
Tanner Foust, Volkswagen Beetle GRC #34
"It's a pleasure to be back here, the fans here are the best. Really across the country, the fans here are the best. It's so awesome to see so many familiar faces over the last decade of racing. The track was gnarly. The mud kind of challenging. I never felt like I ever had the track dialed in. The track was different every single time you were out there. Sometimes you would even see the ruts and you'd hit them and it would just pull a tire off. They would literally just pull the tires right off the rim. So that was a challenge. The NASCAR track was pretty fun. All the team's had a huge battle. Volkswagen Andretti pulled it off and it was spectacular. We have an amazing group of guys over there so congrats to them."
Scott Speed, Volkswagen Beetle GRC #41
"We had a right differential get away from us after qualifying and we really suffered from that until the Last Chance Qualifier. The speed just wasn't there. Once the crew was able to put a new one in the car we had the speed again. The speed is the reason we were able to go from the back to the front in the final. It was difficult to go through the day not knowing what was wrong and why we didn't have the pace. So I was happy we found and fixed the problem so we could come back in the final. That's all thanks to the hard work the guys put in, in under 30-minutes. So thanks to them for their support this weekend."
Battle in Seattle.
He is THE man of the hour in the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC). At the latest round in Atlantic City (USA), Scott Speed (USA) won everything there was to win in the Andretti Autosport team’s Volkswagen Beetle GRC. The GRC show returned to the Evergreen Speedway in Seattle (USA) after a year’s break. Speed is now looking to back up his impressive display when he returns to action in the northwest of the USA on Friday and Saturday, and to take a big step towards defending his GRC title.
“The last race in Atlantic City was silky smooth for us, and we teased absolutely everything out of our car,” said Speed. “I am very proud of where our team is at the moment. We are in excellent shape to end the season successfully.”
The ninth of the season’s eleven races will be held in Seattle. With three races remaining, the Andretti pair of Speed and Tanner Foust (USA) are leading the way in the Drivers’ Championship. Speed has 409 points (three wins) to his name, while Foust is second with 400 points (also three wins).
Foust has some ground to make, following a puncture in the final last time out in Atlantic City. “It was a tough end to the last race, but I am ready to bounce back with a win,” said the 2011 and 2012 GRC champion. “I remember a lot of races at the Evergreen Speedway, and am looking forward to seeing some familiar faces again. They can look forward to a huge show.”
Speed claims third win in a row in Atlantic City.
Scott Speed (USA) won round nine of this season’s Global Rallycross Championship (GRC). The championship leader in the Andretti Autosport Volkswagen Beetle GRC came home ahead of Patrik Sandell (S) and Brian Deegan (USA) to win the final in Atlantic City (USA). Speed had previously secured pole position in qualifying and won all the A heats and the A semi-final.
After victories in New River and Washington, DC (both USA), this was the third win in a row for Speed. His team-mate Tanner Foust (USA) was similarly dominant. He won all of his B heats and the B semi-final. However, fourth place in the final meant he narrowly missed out on the podium. The next race in the Global Rallycross Championship will take place in Seattle (USA) on 17 September.
“As a child, I wanted to be a fighter pilot.”
Tanner Foust has enjoyed what is probably one of the most exciting and varied careers possible as a racing driver. The American, who now does his racing for Andretti Autosport at the wheel of the 560-hp Volkswagen Beetle GRC in the Global Rallycross Championship, has driven pretty much everything out there. He started out in circuit racing, initially funding his career with jobs as a driving instructor, including on the snow and ice of his native Colorado. He later switched to rallying, before ending up in the sport of Rallycross, a mixture of rallying and circuit racing. As if that were not cool enough, his all-round driving talent and professional manner has also earned him jobs as a stunt driver in Hollywood and as a TV presenter. In an interview with Tanner, who lives in sunny California, we discussed the current GRC season, in which he leads the championship, and his fascinating career.
Tanner, the Global Rallycross season is going very well for you – better than last year. How happy are you?
Tanner Foust: I'm very happy! We have had a few incidents, dropping nearly 100 points in the championship but overall have been very consistent. Andretti Autosport is doing a really great job together with Volkswagen this year. And the Volkswagen Beetle GRC is breath-taking. Before each race weekend we fit a passenger seat in the Beetle and take two people for a ride. When you meet them a year or two later, they still talk passionately about this experience, as though it were yesterday. That is how much fun it is to drive this car. It is so quick that television does not really do it justice.
Why are you stronger this year than last season?
Foust: The Beetle GRC is fundamentally an extremely competitive car that was engineered very well out of the box. However, you only really notice many of its strengths when you have driven a few races in it. You can test as much as you like, but you only make the really important findings once you are in race mode out on the track. We identified the weaknesses and improved in those areas. This year, we are reaping the rewards of this hard work. Furthermore, my team-mate Scott Speed and I complement each other perfectly. He comes from circuit racing and has driven in Formula One and Nascar, so he has a completely different background to me. He is faster than me in some sections at the start of a race weekend, while I am quicker than him in other sections of the track. Telemetry and discussions with Scott then allow us to determine where we can improve and how. This is a really efficient way to get quicker on a race weekend. And that is what makes us stronger as a team.
Next up is the race in Atlantic City. What are your expectations there?
Foust: The track is very long and has a lot of slow corners. The opposition will be very strong there, because they have greater grip than us in the slow corners. On the other hand, I believe we have the best engine, which is why we should have the advantage on the straights. We never drive on the same circuits in the GRC, even if we are back racing in the same city. The circuits are re-designed every season. That is what makes this series so attractive, but it is a big challenge for us and the engineers, because old data is worthless. Fortunately, we have very capable engineers who are doing an amazing job.
How have you spent the time leading up to the race in Atlantic City?
Foust: I had a few days off and enjoyed the sun. I only came back yesterday from Monterrey, in the north of California, where I visited my mother. I got my pilot’s licence this summer and flew there myself. The plane, a Bonanza, is quite an efficient plane and ideal for medium distances. I always wanted to get my pilot’s license. As a child, I wanted to be a fighter pilot, mainly because I had a cool uncle who flew fighter jets. I ultimately had to tone that dream down somewhat into the realm of the Bonanza, but learning to fly has been an incredible rewarding experience.
How did you get into motor racing?
Foust: When I was a kid, my parents and I lived in Scotland for a few years, because my step-father was in the Navy. We lived in a farmhouse and I was allowed to drive the cars around a bit. We also had a 1977 Volkswagen Bus, which I was allowed to drive part of the way to school. It was back then that I came into contact with rallying for the first time. Rallying had always been big in Scotland. I had clearly been bitten by the driving bug was not into racing yet. I did know who Colin McRae was but didn't attended a race there. I never thought I would end up making a career out of it – particularly as nobody in my family knew much about motor racing and I didn’t have a clue how the business worked.
What happened next?
Foust: When I was 13, I moved with my parents to California and then finished high school in Virginia. I went to college in Boulder, Colorado, where I studied aerospace engineering. I wanted to design cars and was very interested in aerodynamics. At that time, however, I was spending too much time skiing. I was always out on the slopes, which had a negative effect on my grades. They were really underwhelming. I then got a job as a bus driver in the ski resort of Vail when I was 19 or 20. That was actually a cool job, but also the only one, from which I have ever been fired. A colleague and I were driving in a large car park in Beaver Creek and we did some donuts in the snow with the buses. We were spotted, and fired. I then went back to Boulder and finished my degree in molecular biology. Even then, however, I already knew that I was not going to work in this area. I think I was much more determined to make my family happy after those few years of dragging my feet. As fascinating as biology is never really loved the subject – it was not my great passion.
I had a new job in the last few years of school. I worked for a company that developed rides for theme parks during the summer months. I gained a bit of business savvy that way. I then moved to Florida for the job, but missed the mountains too much and ultimately moved back to Colorado. As we were landing in Denver, I saw a racetrack near the airport. I drove straight there and ended up chatting to a guy who offered me a job as a mechanic in his team. In return, I was occasionally allowed to drive his cars at the racetrack. It was there that I got my first racing licence.
How did you finance the rest of your career?
Foust: I was eventually landed a job at the Pikes Peak International Raceway, where I made a lot of contacts. I worked there as a sponsorship sales person while simultaneously racing in SCCA club racing. At the races I instructed other competitors for money, teaching fairly wealthy amateur racing drivers how to shave time from their lap times. For 120 dollars, I showed them which areas of the track they could improve in. Back then we did not have GoPros to learn from so another car on the track could provide the most beneficial perspective. It all was a bit tricky because I was quite inexperienced myself at the time. However, this summer job did at least fund some of my racing. Later, I was also an instructor at a ice driving school in Colorado. It was fascinating to watch the human condition at work in an extreme environment. I studied the physiology of what it takes for humans to drive cars at the limit, sliding and reacting, like it was a college course. It was, and still is, fascinating to connect some of those biology studies to my passion for driving.
So how did you get into Rallycross?
Foust: By 2009 I had been rally racing and competing in Formula Drift for 7 years. It was then that I saw a video of Marcus Grönholm driving a rallycross car and winning in Sweden. I was absolutely thrilled, as those things looked damned quick. I thought it must be great fun. His team principal at the time was Andreas Eriksson, and I really wanted to meet him. That came to pass in 2009, when they took part in the Pikes Peak hillclimb. We struck a deal, which allowed me to drive his rallycross car at the X Games. I just knew that the car would be faster than any other car there. And that proved to be the case. After a partial season in 2010 contested my first full Rallycross season in 2011, in the European Rallycross Championship. As the first American to race in the series I was proud to finish 2nd, but more importantly it was there that I met Jost Capito(outgoing Volkswagen Motorsport Director, editor’s note). Together with him and my manager and Andreas we worked hard to make the sport more popular in the USA under the name Global Rallycross.
As well as your career as a racing driver, you have also worked in the film business. You have been a stunt driver in such Hollywood blockbusters as “Fast and Furious”, “Iron Man” and the Bourne films. How did that come about?
Foust: I actually have three careers: racing driver, stunt driver and presenter. My first role as a stunt driver came in the big-screen adaptation of the popular US television series “The Dukes of Hazzard”. The stunt director was a rally fan, and the film featured a scene that had a bit of rallying in it. As such, Rhys Millen, who went on to race GCR, and I were chosen to do some of the driving. Rhys played the good guy and I was the bad guy. That was my first job as a stunt driver. It is great fun. You get to write off cars on purpose, where costumes and gain an insight into the remarkable world of Hollywood. I work as a stunt driver in films once or twice a year still.
I started working as a presenter on a programme that was shown free of charge on hotel entertainment channels. I drove cars and presented them to the viewers. To be honest, it was a bit boring. However, that did pave the way for me to present other car programmes on the TV sport station ESPN, the Speed channel and NBC. The biggest breakthrough for me was presenting Top Gear – one of the biggest car programmes in the world.
You have done so many different things: raced in Rallycross, won many medals at the X Games, and been involved in the film and television industry. And now you have a pilot’s licence too. Is there anything left, which you would still like to do?
Foust (laughs): There is so much to do out there. I would love to get back into circuit racing but it also seems like my attention is moving toward getting a young and excitable audience into cars and racing. I think that is now a big part of my passion is demonstrating that I have made a great career from a pure enthusiasm for cars, and that those kids who share that enthusiasm should be encouraged to chase down their dreams and get involved in the industry! So, my future will hopefully be more and more involved in inspiring the next generation of racers and drivers out there. Even with automated cars around the corner I still think unlocking the human potential in a race car is a great thing.
Boardwalk Empire – the GRC visits the east coast.
Atlantic City – the city with only around 40,000 inhabitants in the US state of New Jersey is rather small. But is world-famous. As well as casinos, amusement parks and beautiful beaches, the city on the Atlantic coast has been made famous through pieces of music and TV. Bruce Springsteen dedicated a track to the city on his album Nebraska, and the famous TV series Boardwalk Empire was set in Atlantic City. And last but not least, Miss America is crowned on the beach there every year.
The city also has a lot to offer both visually and in terms of entertainment. And this weekend the volume will be cranked up in the seaside resort around 200 kilometres south of New York City. The Global Rallycross Championship will hold its ninth round of the season. The fans will be revved up once again with spectacular drifts, jumps and wheel-to-wheel duels. They will set the mood for the race weekend at a parade of the GRC cars on the famous promenade on Friday afternoon.
Volkswagen driver Tanner Foust heads to New Jersey as the overall leader. The American has already won three events this year, but is expecting tough competition in Atlantic City. "The track has a few slow turns, I think my rivals will have an advantage there," said Foust. However, there are also a few long straights. "We have a good engine, which is why we will have an advantage there," said the 43-year-old, highlighting the major strength of his 560 hp Volkswagen Beetle GRC.
Foust's fiercest rival comes from his own ranks. Andretti Autosport driver Scott Speed has consistently improved in recent races, won the last race in Washington D.C. and is just six points behind Foust in the overall standings. So everything points to another thrilling and entertaining race weekend – and another attraction in Atlantic City.
Speed celebrates commanding victory in Washington D.C.
Scott Speed (USA) and the 560-hp-strong Volkswagen Beetle GRC are again back on top: the defending champion produced an excellent display at round eight of the Global Rallycross season in Washington D.C. (USA) to claim his second win in succession.
With track conditions proving difficult in places following a number of showers, Speed won the heats, a semi-final and then the all-important final to take his place on the top step of the podium for the second event in a row, having previously triumphed in New River (USA). Team-mate Tanner Foust (USA) won a heat and the second semi-final to claim more points in the Drivers’ Championship. The next race weekend is on 27 and 28 August in Atlantic City (USA).
High school memories of the capital.
The eighth round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) will be held in Washington D.C. at the weekend. The event in the capital of the USA kicks off the second half of the GRC season. Scott Speed of Andretti Autosport was victorious with the Volkswagen Beetle GRC in New River. Both last year's champion Speed and his team-mate Tanner Foust are keen to take the recent positive results with them into the second half of the season.
“I’m so relieved to have finally won again after everything we’ve gone through in the first stretch of the season,” said Speed. “We’ve been quick all along, so for our hard work to pay off meant a lot to me and the team. I’m hoping we’ve turned the corner and can put in another strong finish here to start the second half of the year.”
In the overall standings, Speed is currently in third place with 279 points. Team-mate Tanner Foust heads to Washington as the leader of the drivers’ standings (295 points). “We were super fast again in New River,” said Foust. “I’m looking forward to putting on a good show just a few miles from Volkswagen’s headquarters in Virginia. Traditionally we haven’t had the best luck at this race, so we’re due a strong result in front of a lot of Volkswagen fans.”
But this isn't the only connection Foust has with Washington D.C. “This event is always a nice trip down memory lane for me—I went to high school in the area,” he said. “It’s nice to visit some of the old stomping grounds.”
Volkswagen driver Speed claims first win of the season.
Scott Speed won round seven of the Red Bull Global Rallycross. The reigning champion from the Andretti Autosport team claimed his first victory of the 2016 season at the MCAS New River military base, near Jacksonville, on Saturday. Speed had only made it into the final through the “Last Chance Qualifier”. However, he made a fantastic start with the Volkswagen Beetle GRC, laying the foundation for his eventual victory.
“I was so surprised to come out of the first corner in second place, but when I was I just ran with it and we took what we were given,“ said Speed. “Such a great way to end the day and I’m so happy that these fans stuck around to watch this amazing show.“ Speed’s team-mate Tanner Foust was eighth.
Get the party started!
One thing is certain: whatever happens, the coming double-header in the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) in New River (NC) will be followed by the sound of champagne corks popping and a lively party – regardless of the results of the two races: after all, the United States celebrate their 240th Independence Day on Monday 4 July.
The fourth race weekend of the season will already be history by then, and if Tanner Foust and Scott Speed of the Andretti Autosport team continue where they left off recently, the national holiday will not be the only reason to celebrate.
The last race in Daytona finished Volkswagen Beetle GRC ahead of Volkswagen Beetle GRC. Or, in other words: Foust ahead of Speed. Both scored valuable points towards the overall championship standings. With 265 points, Foust is still sitting pretty at the top of the championships. Reigning champion Speed is currently third and has far from given up the dream of defending his title.
The double-header in New River offers two opportunities to add to their points tallies – and against a spectacular backdrop at the heart of a military base. A stage that attracted tens of thousands of spectators last year, when New River hosted a GRC event for the first time. Large crowds are expected again this year. As such, a spectacular show and reason to celebrate are guaranteed.
Andretti: Two reasons to celebrate.
“The sun always follows the rain” – a saying that held true, figuratively speaking, in Daytona at the third race weekend of the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC). The rain stayed away on the Pacific coast in the US state of Florida. The rest of the saying fitted in perfectly with how the weekend went for the Andretti Autosport team: they celebrated an impressive one-two result for American drivers Tanner Foust and Scott Speed.
The weekend at Daytona featured two races, in the same double-header format that had characterised the season-opener in Phoenix. Events did not go according to plan for the Andretti team on Saturday. Foust won the heats but had to retire early in the final, as did team-mate Speed, who struggled with technical problems in his Volkswagen Beetle GRC. For Sunday, the team used the replacement Beetle after the mechanics worked through the night to get it ready for the second race. Speed thanked his team by securing a podium finish.
“After starting from last place in the final, finishing in second is just great. It shows how good our cars are, and how great our team works together,” said a visibly relieved Speed after the race weekend. “I am happy that I was able to reward my mechanics with a podium finish after their hard work through the night”. Team-mate Foust also showed his respect for the team. “This team performance deserved some champagne,” said Foust, who claimed his third win of the season in Daytona. The American driver defended his lead in the overall standings. He now has 265 points, 32 ahead of Ford driver Steve Arpin. Speed is third with 226 points.
A weekend by the sea.
Quick and dirty – that is probably the best way to describe the coming weekend at the Daytona International Speedway. Particularly the new dirt sector. The muddy highlight for Tanner Foust and Scott Speed: the 70-foot jump – that is a full 21 metres. The city on the Atlantic coast, which hosts the second double-header of the season (two races on one weekend), also has plenty to offer away from the racetrack. Over 37 kilometres of beach not only make Daytona Beach the place to be for a spring break, but also guarantee a party atmosphere all year round.
This is the kind of atmosphere that we are well familiar with in the GRC. The two Andretti boys in the Volkswagen Beetle GRC are in party mood in the championship: Foust sits on top of the overall standings with 180 points going into races four and five in Daytona. Speed, meanwhile, is still within striking distance in third place, just 30 points back.
Foust defends his championship lead in Dallas.
This time there was to be no victory, but Tanner Foust can still leave the second race weekend of the Global Rallycross Championship in Dallas a happy man. In the Texan metropolis – or, to be precise, 1.3 kilometres outside Dallas at the Fair Park circuit – the American finished third in the final behind Patrik Sandell and Steven Aprin (both Ford) to retain his position at the top of the overall standings.
“It has been a fantastic season so far. Hopefully we can continue this way,” said Foust after the presentation ceremony. “I really enjoyed battling with the guys out there.” Foust’s team-mate Scott Speed came home fourth in the second Volkswagen Beetle GRC, and was somewhat frustrated after the race at the high-speed circuit.
The reason: he clashed in the first corner of the final with Foust, who had slightly lost control of his 560-hp Beetle on the outside of the bend, drifted a little and then collided with Speed as he tried to return to the racing line. “The collision damaged the rear right of my car. From then on I could do nothing but just trundle through the race,” said Speed. “It is a shame, as our cars were extremely quick.” Up to that point, Foust and Speed had won all the heats and the semi-finals.
As mentioned, Foust leads the championship with 180 points, followed by Sandell (155) and Speed (150). Next up for the GRC is another double-header – two races on one weekend. The iconic Daytona circuit hosts the GRC on 18 and 19 June.
Full speed to Dallas.
Tanner Foust and Volkswagen got off to a dream start in the 2016 Global Rallycross season: After two wins in the Volkswagen Beetle GRC with more than 600 hp in Phoenix, Arizona, the three-time GRC champion leads the drivers' standings and is highly motivated as he heads to Dallas, Texas for the second race weekend of the season (4/5 June). "You can't have a better start to the season," said Foust, "it makes you want more."
Foust's team-mate Scott Speed also performed well in the second Beetle GRC in the starting field. The GRC defending champion is just behind Foust in the drivers' standings after finishing second in Phoenix, and is eager to really get going in Texas. After the successes in Phoenix, Volkswagen are currently well in the lead in the manufacturers' standings.
The organisers have prepared a tricky course at Fair Park in Dallas for the GRC's return to the "Lone Star State" – as Texas is affectionately known. It may only be 1.3 kilometres long and only have two changes of surface from asphalt to gravel and back again, but the track is a tough one. Almost 80 percent is on solid ground, with the rest on a loose surface. Long high-speed straights are followed by tricky chicanes or turns, where the Rallycross fans can look forward to more duels worth watching.
Unlike at the start of the season in Phoenix, there will only be one race in Dallas.
First round, two wins!
The Andretti Autosport team enjoyed a perfect start to the season in the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC). Tanner Foust won twice in the Volkswagen Beetle GRC at the opening round in Phoenix. The doubleheader saw two GRC races held on the same weekend. In Saturday’s opening race, Foust came through to defeat Patrik Sandell (S/Ford) and compatriot Brian Deegan (Ford) in the final. Foust’s team-mate Scott Speed was fifth.
The second race, on Sunday, went even better for the Andretti guys: Foust again crossed the finish line first, but was this time followed by Speed in second place to present the team with a one-two. Third place went to Sweden’s Sebastian Eriksson (Ford).
“That was a perfect start to the season for Volkswagen,” said two-time GRC champion Foust. “However, we will be racing on very different tracks this season, some of which will play to the opposition’s strengths. It is going to be really exciting.” Foust tops the overall standings with 125 points, followed by Speed (100) and Sandell (94). The next round of the Global Rallycross Championship takes places on 18 June in Dallas, Texas.
Unleash the horses!
The new season of the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) gets underway at the weekend. And with a double dose of rallying action. Two rounds are scheduled for Phoenix, Arizona, in what is known as a double header.
The venue is the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park on the outskirts of the desert metropolis of Phoenix. There the GRC cars take each other on in wheel-to-wheel duels on an asphalt and gravel track around 1.5 kilometres in length. The name couldn't be more suitable since when the Rallycross cars start the heats or finals, it really does seem like wild horses are being unleashed.
The wildest of them all is the Volkswagen Beetle GRC. Initially, hardly anyone would have placed their money on the 560 hp four-wheel racer from Wolfsburg last year. It was only during the course of the season that the Beetle GRC, which was fielded by Andretti Autosport, turned out to be a real title contender. The Volkswagen drivers Scott Speed and Tanner Foust dominated the second half of the season. At the season finale in Las Vegas (USA), Speed claimed the championship title, ahead of Sebastian Eriksson (Ford), while Foust finished a strong third overall.
This sees Speed enter the 2016 season as the defending champion. Tanner Foust has taken on a tight schedule for 2016. Aside from his GRC involvement, the US TV star will also contest two rounds of the World Rallycross Championship for Volkswagen RX Sweden. Foust is eager to get the most out of both series.
Scott Speed: “Expect the unexpected!”
The Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) enters a new season. In an interview, reigning champion and ex-Formula One driver Scott Speed discusses what makes Rallycross so fascinating, his new Beetle GRC, and his mission to defend the title. He also speaks about his experiences of the German mentality within the Andretti team and his goals for the 2016 season.
Rallycross is enjoying increasing awareness and popularity around the world. How do you explain this trend?
Scott Speed: Rallycross combines many exciting and spectacular elements of rallying. American spectators, in particular, like shorter events, which are packed with all the more action. They want maximum entertainment, and we offer precisely that. Furthermore, Rallycross makes for incredible images and videos. To see how the car slides through the dirt, the big jumps, the wheel-to-wheel duels, and the drifts – the combination of all these aspects is what makes it so captivating for the spectators. It is a total entertainment package.
What did you get up to during the break from the GRC?
Speed: In preparation for the new season, we completed a lot of tests with our new Volkswagen Beetle GRC. I came away from them feeling very positive. We have also optimised some of the processes within the team. I am confident that we go into the season even better prepared than last year.
To what extent were you involved in the development of the new Volkswagen Beetle GRC?
Speed: I work very closely with the Volkswagen engineers. We exchange ideas, I offer suggestions, and we discuss solutions to improve the car. My primary role as driver is to provide input and report back on how the car feels out on the track, and on where we can still improve performance. We tried out a lot of things, and most proved to be real improvements.
You once said that you have never been as happy with a team as you are with your current team.
Speed: That is true. Volkswagen is the best team I have ever known in motorsport. I just like the approach of Volkswagen and the Volkswagen employees. Every mechanic works on the car as though it were their own. I don’t know whether it is the German mentality that drives people on, or just their personality. It is a pleasure to work with them every time.
Last season you won the title in the GRC. What does that change for you?
Speed: It is certainly not going to be any easier. It is not easy to win a championship, but it is even more difficult to defend one. When eight cars head into a corner at virtually the same time, it is impossible to avoid contact and sometimes things happen, over which the driver has no influence. That is part and parcel of our sport. We just try to focus on our job and our car, as that is something we can definitely influence. If we perform to the best of our ability, we should be in a good position again with regard to the championship this season.
For those watching from the outside, a Rallycross race sometimes looks very wild. Do you prepare tactically for a race, or do you just get in and floor it?
Speed: To a certain degree you do indeed just climb in and think to yourself “expect the unexpected”. From my point of view, the most important thing is to be in a position to react very quickly to certain things. It obviously doesn’t harm to give some consideration to tactics before the start, but more than anything you have to be ready for whatever comes your way once the race gets underway. Anything can happen.
With this in mind, how important is experience?
Speed: Very important. I have been involved with motorsport for a long time, and have experienced an incredible amount. I have learned a lot from my three years of Global Rallycross. The ability to adapt as quick as lightning to new situations is invaluable.
You are 33 years old. What are your plans for the future?
Speed: I have two wonderful daughters and a great wife, and I enjoy every second with them. Professionally, I am currently fully-focussed on Global Rallycross. I love the competition and love battling with the others. I would like to spend many more years in motorsport. What comes after that? I don’t know, but I don’t think I need to worry about that just yet.