Global Rallycross Lites schedule announced
Global Rallycross announced that the inaugural season of its GRC Lites class will feature a six-race schedule. GRC Lites, the companion series to Global Rallycross's Supercar class that was confirmed last month, has been designed to be the ideal class for drivers to gain rallycross experience.
The six race dates for the new class are:
July 11: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H.
July 20: Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tenn.
Aug. 4: X Games Los Angeles, Irwindale, Calif.
Aug. 10: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Ga.
Sept. 22: Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.
Nov. 7: Las Vegas, Nev
“With the huge interest in rallycross, we talk to several types of drivers—from rally to open wheel, to stock car and dirt sports and nearly everything in between,” said Chip Pankow, founder of Global Rallycross. “The GRC Lites car is the perfect platform for them to transition into the sport—they are safe, fast and challenging to drive. We look forward to seeing the next wave of star drivers hone their skills in the class.”
The class features tightly-controlled spec vehicles, each built by OlsbergsMSE. The cars produce 310 horsepower from naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engines and feature all-wheel drive, sequential gearboxes and rally handbrake. Deliveries of the new cars have begun and drivers are testing in preparation for the first race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 11.
“I'm really pleased that we are starting this new series with the OlsbergsMSE Lites car,” commented OlsbergsMSE CEO Andreas Eriksson. “We have worked for over two years to create a racecar that is fast, nimble and fun to drive while being able to fly like the Supercars, but an equal goal for us was to make it affordable to run for talented drivers and drivers that want to experience rallycross on both higher performance and technical levels. I am sure that the drivers that race these cars will be the stars in Supercar in the future.”
GRC Lites will feature some of the most talented young drivers in all of motorsport. Drivers include Mitchell DeJong, a multiple champion in both the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series and TORC; Geoff Sykes, a three-time national and regional champion in BMW CCA Racing; and Joni Wiman, protege of 2011 GRC Supercars runner-up Marcus Gronholm.
“I think it's a fantastic new car, I have tested it and it feels really good—a good step for young drivers like Joni,” said two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm.
Having won nine championships in six years, Mitchell DeJong has driven a wide variety of vehicles. “They're all different and all fun, but now that I've had the chance to drive a rallycross lites car, I can honestly say it is the most fun vehicle I've ever driven,” he said. “I'm so stoked to be racing in the Global Rallycross series USA events this season. Looking forward, I'm hoping to have the opportunity to race the full GRC season in 2014. Andreas Eriksson has built the most amazing rallycross lites car! I've always loved spec class racing because it challenges me to be my best!"
Geoff Sykes, multiple national and regional BMW CCA champion, said the following in anticipation of the season: "I can't wait to get started! It's going to be a really challenging series, based solely on driver skill. The GRC Lites were specifically designed to be racecars. The engine placement and suspension makes it handle like a go-kart that can fly."
GRC Lites will compete alongside GRC Supercars at every United States-based event for the remainder of the 2013 season, including at X Games Los Angeles. Racing with GRC Supercars provides GRC Lites drivers great exposure and sees them competing on the same track layouts as the Supercar drivers.
“We're delighted to be the sanctioning organization for GRC's new Lites program,” commented Tom Campbell, president of SCCA Pro Racing. “The combination of reduced cost and identically prepared durable vehicles competing in the proven GRC Supercar format is a terrific formula that will open the sport to a broad population of enthusiasts.”