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.

Anton Marklund Joins EKS Team for World Rallycross Championship

260115_EKS_HeaderPhoto by EKS Media

 

Media Release from EKS Media 1/26/2015

 

“Anton Marklund joins EKS family

Anton Marklund will be at the wheel of an Audi S1 EKS RX quattro in the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship. The 22-year-old Swede joins Mattias Ekström as driver of EKS. “This is an amazing opportunity that Mattias and EKS are giving to me, both to score top results in 2015 and to develop on all levels for my future career”, says Anton.

Mattias has been a friend of mine since 2013, when we competed together in X Games Munich. He has helped me a lot already in my career and I’m really glad that I now will join the ’family’ of EKS.” In 2015 Anton will drive the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro in World RX and additionally compete in the brand-new Audi Sport TT Cup. Two races of the Audi one-make cup will be held at six DTM events.

Anton started his racing career in folkrace and moved to Rallycross in 2010 and became a professional two years later. In his first full season he earned the European Champion’s title in TouringCars with two top spots and six runner-up positions. Stepping up to a SuperCar in 2013 Anton was seen racing in FIA European Rallycross Championship, X Games, Gymkhana GRiD and Swedish Championship. 2014 was his most successful season so far, competing in X Games and the inaugural FIA World Rallycross Championship in a VW Polo of Marklund Motorsport, finishing 6th overall.”

Name _ Anton Marklund
Date of birth _ 09/12/92
Nationality _ Swedish
Hometown _ Boliden
Height _ 1.84 m
Weight _ 83 kg
RX events (SuperCar) _ 21
Best result (SuperCar) _ P2 (Canada 2014)
Hobbies _ everything with engines, hunting and wildlife
Motorsport _ since 2006, professional since 2012
Web _ www.marklundanton.com

Red Bull Global Rallycross Announces 2015 Schedule

Photo by Red Bull GRC

Photo by Red Bull GRC

 

Red Bull GRC Media Release 1/13/2015

 

“Red Bull Global Rallycross is pleased to announce a 12-race schedule, its largest ever, for the 2015 season. Once again featuring marquee stops in major urban environments, the race calendar kicks off in sunny Florida on May 31 and ends with a return to the bright lights of Las Vegas on November 5.

“The 2015 Red Bull Global Rallycross schedule stands to be our best yet,” said Colin Dyne, Red Bull GRC CEO. “The combination of one of the strongest calendars in all of motorsports, as well as one of racing’s best broadcast packages, thanks to our partnership with NBC Sports Group, is one that will take the racing world by storm this year. With more races and points on the line, we expect to see a thrilling chase for the championship. We are grateful to our many partners for their support throughout the 2014 season, as well as NBC for a fantastic job in their event broadcasts, and we look forward to bringing these relationships into 2015.”

The full 2015 Red Bull Global Rallycross points championship schedule is featured below. Broadcast dates and times will be released at a later date.

  • May 31: Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL
  • June 21: Daytona, FL
  • July 5: United States Military Base
  • July 25: Detroit, MI (I)
  • July 26: Detroit, MI (II)
  • August 15: Washington, DC
  • August 30: Seattle, WA
  • September 12: Los Angeles, CA (I)
  • September 13: Los Angeles, CA (II)
  • October 3: Barbados (I)
  • October 4: Barbados (II)
  • November 5: Las Vegas, NV

The 2015 points championship features 12 rounds at nine unique venues, including several of the series’ most familiar stops from seasons past. This year’s calendar is also marked with three doubleheader events, including the second straight doubleheader in the series’ home city of Los Angeles, and the expansion of the series’ popular Barbados race.

Red Bull Global Rallycross will also return to the NBC family of networks for the 2015 season, with 14.5 hours of original content, an increase of 4.5 hours from the 2014 season. For the first time, GRC Lites will have its own broadcast slate, with 30-minute broadcasts of all events airing  on weekdays on NBCSN.

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.”

Exclusive: Six Questions with Patrik Sandell

Photo by © QNIGAN.COM
Photo by Drive Motorsports International

Photo by Drive Motorsports International

“I believe in one speed…Flat Out  – Patrik Sandell

Rallycross360 first took notice of Patrik Sandell back at the beginning of the 2013 GRC season.  In the very first round of the GRC season on a very dusty track in Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, Sandell earned the bronze medal. Later in the season the gritty Swede earned a silver medal in the Gymkhana Grid competition at X Games.

Sandell is no stranger to rallycross.  He raced his first rallycross event when he was just a young teen in Sweden. However, he ended up following the longer road of stage rally and began pro racing back in 2005 after winning the Swedish Rally Championship.  A year later he went on to win the Junior World Rally Championship.  Sandell has traveled all over the world racing in the World Rally Championship and has also competed in the Chinese Rally Championship.

Now Patrik has come full circle back to his roots of rallycross. He pilots the #18 Kobalt Tools OMSE Ford Fiesta ST and just completed his second season with Red Bull Global Rallycross.  The highlight being his winning the Washington D.C. round and finishing 6th overall for the season. He can often be seen riding his mountain bike around the paddock between heats often chatting with fans and fellow competitors.

Photo by Rallycross360

Sandell at far right talking with, from left, Ken Block, Sverre Isachsen, photographer Qnigan, and Joni Wiman – photo by Rallycross360

There have been a lot of well known drivers from other race disciplines such as David Coulthard and Kurt Busch, who have expressed an interest in giving rallycross a try. What are your thoughts on this? “It’s fantastic.  I have my background in stage rally (WRC) and it was the same for me a few years ago.  I have followed the sport over the years and when I tried one of the cars for the first time I was sold.  It will be interesting to see what the future will bring for all those great drivers.”

 With regard to GRC, do you think there could be a problem down the road with smaller privateers getting pushed out because so many big names with good sponsor connections will make it more difficult for the privateers to compete?
“I don’t think so. I know that GRC as an organization likes to build their own rallycross stars.  It’s not very easy to just come in and deliver.  The drivers in GRC right now are a few of the best drivers in the world. So, this sport in America is getting harder and more difficult every year.”

Should GRC eventually add another class or two, just like European rallycross has S1600 and Touring classes, in order to give more drivers a chance?
“Right now Lites is the perfect stepping stone into the main class and I think they should keep developing it the same direction they started.”

Photo by Rallycross360

Photo by Rallycross360

There was a quote I read recently where you said, “I’m not a guy that’s really into cars, but I’m 100% into competition.” Most people think that if they are into racing then they must be into cars. Can you expand on that a bit more? In other words, do you follow everything your mechanics are doing to the car or do you prefer to stay away from that side and just focus on driving and competing?
[Laughs] “Yes, I know I said that.  What I meant was that I love to compete in whatever it is.  I ended up in motorsports but I didn’t know much about cars when I started as I was playing ice hockey my whole life before this.  Now I’m good at giving feedback to engineers and mechanics.

What are your plans during the remainder of the off-season?
I will do a lot of ice driving in Sweden and some training camps with a go-kart.  I’ll also do a lot of physical training to prepare for the season.

Photo by © QNIGAN.COM

Photo by © QNIGAN.COM

Please tell us about Flat Out Sweden? How are you involved? What type of clients typically visit? Does a driver need to have experience prior to attending Flat Out Sweden?
FlatOut Sweden is my event company that I have been running for a couple of years.  We are offering all types of ice driving and other winter activities.  We recently started to organize trips to motorsports events.  Last year we had a full plane to Italy for the RallycrossRX event and 30 people to Las Vegas for the final GRC event.  I love this side of motorsports as well.  It’s a good way to show and get people to feel the same thing I feel in my car.  If you want to come and improve your skills or just have a blast, go to www.flatoutsweden.com

You can follow Patrik on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or visit his website: www.patriksandell.com

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