Big Announcements for 2015 Red Bull GRC Season

Photo by Red Bull GRC

Photo by Red Bull GRC

 

Long Beach, CA is full of excitement this week.  Not only is the city preparing for the 41st Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, scheduled to take place April 17-19, it was also host to Red Bull Global Rallycross Media day held at the Hotel Maya.  The media was on deck to get the latest news and answers to some questions they’ve been waiting to ask drivers, teams members and VIP since the end of last season.

We’ve seen a few announcements made leading up to this week such as Subaru Rally Team USA unveiling the VT15 at the New York International Auto Show to be driven by Bucky Lasek. Further news, racecar driver Nur Ali will be joining Alejandro Fernandez as the second driver for the AF Racing team in the GRC Lites Championship.  For the first time, DirtFish Rally School will join the GRC Lites championship as DirtFish Motorsports with Tanner Whitten at the wheel. And, for the pièce de résistance, Ken Block will be back for a full season.

Red Bull Global Rallycross has come a very long way in a short amount of time.  From its debut at X Games 16 in 2010 to running 12 events across the U.S. and occasionally 11157419_10153291109238179_8535078208903576739_oabroad, GRC has attracted well known names within the race industry such as Andretti Motorsport and Chip Ganassi Racing, both fully committed to winning this championship. As of this week, the latest to throw their hat into the ring is BHR, Brian Herta Rally Sport. They announced that seasoned GRC drivers, Patrik Sandell and Austin Dyne, will pilot the 650 Hp supercars built by M-Sport and Collete Davis will be behind the wheel of a GRC Lites car.

This is a very exciting day as we start a new adventure in motorsports. The Red Bull Global Rallycross Series has shown amazing growth over the last couple years, and we are excited about the first rate television package. The demographic for the series complements our existing efforts in the Verizon Indycar Series, and we now have a real one-two punch to offer our partners. I’m especially proud to welcome Sean Jones as a partner, we have been friends since we raced against each other almost 25 years ago.”  - Bryan Herta

Rhys Millen Racing will be back this season with a new driver competing in the GRC Lites Championship.  Jackie Heinricher has a race resume that includes Ferrari Challenge and open wheel cars in the Jim Russell Formula 3 series.  She will be driving the No. 57 which will feature livery for Manadoob, a non-profit organization for which Jackie will have the honor of being their first ambassador.  The organization is designed to “empower every child with the skills they need to lead a better life through the development and growth of self-esteem, self-awareness and kindness while enriching the lives of the educators who reach out to teach them.”

Heinricher-FeaturedPhoto by Red Bull GRC

Lastly, we are finally able to confirm that Nelson Piquet Jr. and SH Rallycross will return to Red Bull Global Rallycross this season.  However, the big news was that Piquet will enter the season with a new primary sponsor, Hydroxycut, for seven out of twelve races, including X Games in Austin, TX.

I am really looking forward to competing again with SH Rallycross in this year’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship. It’s a series that I absolutely love. I had so much fun last year. Together we achieved a lot and had numerous podiums and a lot of highlights. We didn’t get that elusive win, but this year that is very much our expectation. The team and set up we have this year is a different ballgame.” – Nelson Piquet Jr.

 

Source: http://www.redbullglobalrallycross.com/news/

http://www.manadoob.com/

Header Photo by Red Bull GRC

Patrik Sandell & Bryan Herta photo from Facebook.com/Patrik Sandell

EKS RX DEBUTS CARS AND DRIVERS FOR 2015 WORLD RX

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Earlier this week Barcelona was the host city for the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship media day event, and judging by the amount of media and VIP that attended, we think it proves that interest in rallycross is growing quickly and the newly formed World Rallycross Championship is well on it’s way to becoming one of the top auto sports to watch and follow. In less than two weeks, April 24-26,  World RX will officially begin its second season in Montalegre, Portugal.

Anton Marklund and Edward Sandström were both on hand at Circuit de Catalunya to represent EKSRX.  Edward will be piloting one of the two Audi S1 EKS RX quattros at the second round of the World RX in Hockenheim.

Sandstrom, who stepped in as the wild card for EKSRX last season in Belgium, is definitely looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the supercar.  ““It’s great to be back. Last year was about preparations, now it’s time for final exam. If everything works out I have a great chance to reach the podium”. “As a race driver Hockenheim is certainly familiar grounds, but to be back in an RX car will be amazing. It’s also a great opportunity for the sport to reach a new audience,” said Sandström.

Mattias Ekström has a large amount of confidence in his drivers. “”Anton’’s development is really impressive. The whole team likes him and I believe he has every opportunity to go all the way this season. It’s also comforting to see how well Edward and Anton are getting along. Edward’s experience in motorsport is an asset for Anton and the team and it’s my conviction that he will put on a show for the RX fans.”“

Media Day Barcelona

Media Day Barcelona

You can check out some awesome video content of Mattias Ekstrom and EKSRX Team on Facebook or follow on Twitter and Instagram @EKSRX

 

Information Source from  EKS Media and http://www.eksrx.com/

Photos from EKRSX.com

 

Barbados Welcomes Red Bull GRC Back to Bushy Park for Doubleheader

 BarbadosFeatured2Photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross

Red Bull Global Rallycross Media Release 04/02/2015

After a stunning debut event last year, featuring a crowd of 21,500 passionate motorsport fans, Red Bull Global Rallycross is pleased to announce its return to Bushy Park Barbados for the upcoming Red Bull GRC season. On October 3-4, the series will take to the track for a doubleheader, the headline event of the venue’s 2015 race schedule.

“After an amazing reception for our debut event, we are incredibly excited to bring Red Bull Global Rallycross back to Barbados for the 2015 season,” said Red Bull GRC CEO Colin Dyne. “Bushy Park Barbados hosted one of our most amazing events on the 2014 schedule, and with the incredible work they’ve continued to put into the facility, returning was a no-brainer. We look forward to giving the Bajan fans two incredible races that should be crucial to determining 2015’s champion.”

Having hosted the Race of Champions on December 13-14, Bushy Park Barbados is one of the highest-profile event venues on the Red Bull GRC calendar. Track management has invested in numerous developments since Red Bull GRC’s 2014 season opener, including a new VIP structure with luxury VIP suites and a new permanent race control building.

“We were delighted that so many drivers said how much they enjoyed their visit last year,” said Bushy Park executive chairman Mark Maloney. “As a racetrack, Bushy Park Barbados presents them with a different environment and a different challenge, and I am really pleased that Red Bull GRC sees it as complimentary to their city center events in the United States, so much so that they are expanding on last year’s program with the doubleheader format.”

This year’s event will feature slight configuration adjustments to the course, one of the most popular on the 2014 schedule, to further improve on the competition. The doubleheader will also see the Red Bull GRC Lites class compete outside of the United States for the first time, complementing the 600HP Supercars that headline every Red Bull GRC event.

In 2014’s race, which served as the season opener, Scott Speed took his third career Red Bull GRC victory in the debut event for Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross. Speed beat Steve Arpin and Brian Deegan across the line after a thrilling main event that saw Ken Block suffer a frightening rollover in the track’s final corner. All of the above drivers are expected to return for 2015’s doubleheader, as well as two-time series champion Tanner Foust, 20-time X Games medalist Bucky Lasek, and defending Supercar champion Joni Wiman.

For more information on Red Bull Global Rallycross, head to www.redbullglobalrallycross.com. Follow the series on Facebook at Facebook.com/RedBullGRC, Twitter and Instagram at @RedBullGRC, and YouTube at YouTube.com/RedBullGRC

For more information on Bushy Park Barbados, head to www.bushyparkbarbados.com. Follow the venue on Facebook at Facebook.com/BushyParkBarbados

 

Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Expands into Red Bull Global Rallycross with New Partner Loenbro

Photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross

Photo from Red Bull Global Rallycross.com

Red Bull Global Rallycross Media Release – 03/18/2015

 

 

CONCORD, N.C. (March 18, 2015) – Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. (CGRT) announced today the formation of a two-car team in the Supercar class of Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) with new partner Loenbro and drivers Brian Deegan and Steve Arpin. CGRT joins the vibrant and growing series and looks to continue its history of on-track success while also complementing the team’s continued focus on reaching millennials as a vehicle to grow interest in motorsports.

CGRT joins forces with energy services and construction company Loenbro, which serves clients throughout the Rocky Mountain region and beyond, to field the two-car team out of CGRT’s Concord, N.C.-based shop that houses their NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series programs. Founding brothers Paul and Jon Leach are entrepreneurs who built a company on a foundation of strong core values and a tireless effort to exceed clients’ expectations, and have had life-long personal interests in the world of motorsports.

The 16-time X-Games medalist Deegan will pilot the No. 38 RockStar Energy Drink Ford Fiesta ST, with teammate Arpin in the No. 00 ENEOS Ford Fiesta ST. Arpin will run the full 12-race calendar, with Deegan competing in seven races. The two will also compete in X Games Austin this summer as it returns to Circuit of the Americas from June 4-7.

QUOTEBOARD

Chip Ganassi, Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams: “As a fan of motorsports I’m particularly interested in the GRC cars, their horsepower levels and the absence of traction control but make no mistake about it, we are in this series to win – both on and off the race track. Also, GRC has proven to be a very innovative and fresh take on today’s motorsport product. The series is targeting a new demographic and aligns with ours and more importantly with our partners’ focus on connecting with Millennials.”

Paul Leach, President, Loenbro: “Loenbro is thrilled to partner with Chip Ganassi Racing and to do great things with Steve and Brian behind the wheel. My brother and I have had a passion for racing since we were kids, and many Loenbro employees are big fans of the sport. Chip Ganassi Racing is committed to excellence, innovation and winning with integrity. Our company shares these values and the Loenbro family is proud to join them in this partnership.”

Colin Dyne, CEO, Red Bull Global Rallycross: “Chip Ganassi Racing has been an integral part of the motorsports landscape for the past 25 years. We are proud to have them join Red Bull Global Rallycross for the 2015 season and look forward to racing with them for many years to come.”

Brian Deegan, Driver, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams: “This has been a life-long goal to be partnered with a world class racing organization that has won numerous championships from the Indianapolis 500 to the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 At Daytona. I look forward to working with them and building a winning GRC program that can win GRC championships.”

Steve Arpin, Driver, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams: “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of such an established team like Chip Ganassi Racing entering GRC with the support of Loenbro and partnership with ENEOS. For me, being a race car driver my whole life, this is the opportunity of a lifetime and one that any driver would dream of. Mr. Ganassi has set a high standard with the way he operates his race teams both on and off the race track, and just through the early stages of preparing for this season it is easy to see why the organization has such long-lasting partnerships and why its employees wear the team’s logo with so much pride.”

History of Rallycross: John Sprinzel’s Small but Crucial Role

John Sprinzel racing his Austin PMO 200 at
first televised rallycross event at Lydden Hill
John Sprinzel racing his Austin PMO 200 at first televised rallycross event at Lydden Hill

John Sprinzel racing his Austin PMO 200 at the first televised rallycross event at Lydden Hill

“A small claim to fame is that I thought up the word ‘Rallycross,’ as it really was a kind of combination of autocross and a rally special stage. Nowadays there is a European Rallycross Championship (and there’s even rallycross on Hawai‘i), so we really were at the cutting edge of a new facet of the motorsport diamond.”  –  From the book Lucky John by John Sprinzel

John Sprinzel is a gentleman who has made his mark in race history. He competed all over the world in rally, rallycross, and saloon racing. Within the race world he was a businessman, a competitor, and a commentator. Sprinzel was friends with not only Robert Reed, Raymond Baxter, and Bud Smith, but also race legends such as Vic Elford, Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Roger Clark, and many more well-known drivers from back in the day.

John with Stirling Moss and Pedro Rodriguez

John on the left with Pedro Rodriguez and Stirling Moss

As a young man, John was never really interested in racing cars – he preferred riding motorcycles and even did a bit of yacht racing. His race career officially began back in 1955 when he and a friend, Lutz Arnstein, signed up for the RAC International Rally of Great Britain. However there was one problem. They lacked a very crucial piece of race equipment – a car. John convinced his mom to lend him her Austin A30 by telling her he wanted to go on a little holiday in the Wales and Lake District areas. She had thought it was a bit odd that he wanted to take a holiday in March but lent him the car anyway.

Lucky_John_BookThe rally began in Hastings. John and Lutz were given a letter by the Hasting mayor to give to the mayor of Blackpool, which was the halfway point of the rally where the competitors would overnight. The presentation of the letter was televised on the evening news, which was being watched by John’s mom. She saw her car and asked her husband if he thought the car on television looked like her car. Then she noticed the lad driving and, well, as John says, “she was a good sport.” They finished sixth out of twenty in their class, not bad for his first time out. A few years later he won the 1959 British Rally Championship in an Austin-Healey Sprite.

He went on to race in many different rallies and races around the world, including the Monte-Carlo Rally, RAC Rally, the Alpine Rally, and Liège-Rome-Liège. He also raced East African Safari, Holland’s Tulip Rally, and the Tour de France. In 1960 he won overall in his class at the 12 Hours of Sebring driving an Austin-Healey Sebring Sprite.

1237921091_27109.f_magi_grsWhen it comes to racing, John has seen it all. We asked him if he could share a few of his favorite tales from the track and he simply said, “Far too many stories to pick one out. Many are in the book.” 

John had competed in a few rallycross events before taking on the role as a rallycross commentator for ITN (Independent Television News). In his book Lucky John, he recalled the meeting that led to him being sent up to Mallory Park for a test run as a commentator. “I competed in the first event which Vic Elford, who won with the borrowed Porsche UK’s demonstrator and Peter Harper in a Hillman Imp. We were invited to the studios to see a tape of the program where we heard the commentator remark on the “front-engined” Imps. I was sitting next to Robert Reed, the director, and casually remarked that I could do every bit as well as this guy, and was a little stunned to be taken up on the offer. The next weekend I was sent up to Mallory Park to do a test commentary on the sports car race.” He continued to commentate rallycross events for the next couple of years.

RF 163 - John Sprinzel - Speedwell Sprite

Monte Carlo Rally

John shared with Rallycross360 a few of his memories and recollections of the humble beginning stages of rallycross and his small, yet crucial, role in its history.

“TV Director Bob Reed reminded me in an email that we met at the old ABC studios with Barry Gill and sorted out the format, and that I had dreamed up the name ‘Rallycross.'”

However, when it comes to the invention of the sport itself, John gives the credit to his friend, Raymond Baxter. “Raymond Baxter and the BBC actually ‘invented’ Rallycross more or less in the form it is run today a couple of years earlier at Brands Hatch in the car park on February 9, 1963,” said John. “We entered the Work’s Vitesses just back from the Monte. I think it was Vic Elford, Mike Surcliffe, and myself. Run at Brands Hatch car park, the invited drivers were those factory cars and crew who had just returned from the Monte Carlo Rally, and the events were televised with plenty of snow and mud.

“ITV World of Sports cottoned on to the idea with the events at Lydden and Croft. I then took over as commentator for ITV for the next couple of years….we did run one TV event on the RAC’s special stage, the year the rally was cancelled because of the foot and mouth epidemic. The main reason the sport was so popular with the TV companies was that the races could be timed to exactly fill in gaps in the World of Sport programming, holding cars on the start while a horse race was completed to make Dicky Davis’ hand over to me virtually seamless.”

John's car which was also driven by Stirling Moss at 1961 Sebring

John’s car which was also driven by Stirling Moss at 1961 Sebring

Did you ever dream the sport would become as popular as it has, reaching to the different corners of the world? 
“At the time I wasn’t sure about rallycross getting as popular as it has become. But I knew that it would be great for TV because you could fill the gaps in regular programming, and it initially wasn’t too expensive to take part in. But, no, I didn’t foresee a world wide championship nor even a series in Hawaii.”

How does it feel knowing that you played a part of this sport coming to fruition and that you helped bring it to the masses?
“It feels great to have popularized the sport, which proved to be a relatively inexpensive way to get into motor racing for many folks who would never have tried more ‘conventional’ racing.”

In this day and age, do you feel that race car drivers are not able to hone certain skills because they have safety features and technology to rely on, or do you think the technology has created better drivers?
“As in all things, racing is doing the best you can within the limits of the technology at the time. It is much safer now, so people take far more risks with less chance of injury or death. But yes, I think the pure skills of car control were probably greater in my era, without all this aero and computer assistance. If you watch video of Moss, Hawthorn, Fangio, Clark, Hill, and company, you will see car control that is amazing, whereas today’s heroes hardly ever drive anywhere near the limit. Also they seemed to actually like each other, which isn’t often the case today.”

If you could jump back into a rallycross car today, which current manufacturer’s car would you prefer to drive? Why?
“Hard to pick, but I always loved Porsches, and if they were interested in rallycross, they would probably be successful. Dave Richards’ Banbury crowd would get my vote for preparation.”

JohnSprinzelWhat cars are currently in your garage?
“Up until last month my Bug Eye Sprite of 21 years ownership and a Toyota RAV 4. We are thinking of getting a Porsche Macan, but with only about 60 miles of paved road on our little island, that might just be a little extravagant!”

Do you still follow rallycross closely and, if so, which championships do you tend to follow?
“I watch a lot of motorsport on the telly (not much else to do on Molokai) though rallycross seems a little less adventurous these days as on the mud and grass of yesteryear. F1 is a must-see though, the absolute acme of skill and technology.”

Who’s your favorite current rallycross driver or team?
“Petter Solberg is one of my favorites. He is always so enthusiastic about the sport.”

Sprinzel has lived a life full of excitement and adventure, taking advantage of almost every opportunity that has come his way. He says the pièce de résistance of his racing career was having an Austin-Healey model named after him called the “Sprinzel Sprite,” or Jon Sprinzel’s Sebring Sprite Coupé.

On behalf of rallycross fans everywhere, we’re grateful to John Sprinzel for his contributions to the great sport of rallycross.

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