R: What's it going to take to extend GRC's reach? Will it be more star names from other branches of motorsport, will it be established rally names, or will it take homegrown American stars?
BG: Well, I think you've hit on one of the cool things about GRC. We'll probably always want to have a mixture of open-wheel, stock car, rally and action sport drivers. We think they'll all recognize that just getting behind the wheel of one these beasts is great fun. That's why, when we've performed in front of the IndyCar or NASCAR guys, they're hanging on the rails, checking out the action. They kind of think our guys are nuts for what they do – but then, some would argue traveling 200mph around an oval or down a straight is kind of nuts too! So I think it will be a combination of names that get attracted to GRC, but there need to be more top cars – top drivers won't want to do it just for the sake of doing it. They want a chance to win. With those top names involved, then the audience grows, and the new guys who come in and compete with them become known, too.
R: So with Petter Solberg now available and Sebastien Loeb (LEFT) more available – in semi retirement from the World Rally Championship – any chance of enticing them?
BG: Well, again, as we get more manufacturers involved – and we anticipate at least two new ones coming in next year – I think that's when we will get those kind of guys. Simon Pagenaud is clearly interested and Alexander Wurz is another driver who just the other day expressed an interest in rallycross and the X Games. Like I say, the stronger cars and stronger teams attract the stronger drivers. Remember, Loeb didn't just come in and grab a car for the X Games this year. He had a car run by Kenneth Hansen that was winning the European Rallycross championship. It's those kind of programs that attract those kind of drivers. And with Global X Games showing up in Germany, Spain and Brazil, you'll get more of those programs, I'm sure.
R: Super Car Lites – is it definitely happening, and if not, what will it take to get it off the ground?
BG: I think there's a lot to be said for having a feeder class with well-built cars that handle like the GRC cars. For us to introduce it, we'd have to make sure there was a real field that we could promote, and how would we do that? Well, obviously, we'd have to have a sponsor who could help promote it and to cover the costs that come along with it. To get a sponsor, we'd have to make sure there's entertainment value and a strong field. So everything has to happen together, so it's undecided whether it can happen for next year but certainly we're very interested in it and we're taking to Andreas [Eriksson] about how it might work.
R: Why has GRC been such a hit? And, for example, why have you been able to nail down an ESPN contract, something that makes you the envy of many racing series in this country?
BG: The ESPN deal was a relationship that was developed through the X Games coverage: They want a good competitive field in X Games, so when I began talking to them about the GRC concept, they were interested. It was obvious that X Games Rally was popular, but there was still the question of introducing rallycross as opposed to the special stage format. But compared with special stages, rallycross – cars actually in side-by-side competition – doubled the ratings and so instantly we knew we had a winner. So it was natural to spin off a series from that: GRC promoting the X Games, and X Games promoting GRC. I think it's safe to say that ESPN thinks it's a cool deal, the X Games background gives it extra appeal and the way it's portrayed is like a street fight. We are to rallying what UFC is to traditional boxing or snowboarding is to skiing. It's appealing to a different personality and the way we present ourselves isn't just to the traditional motorsports crowd.
But don't get me wrong, we still have a lot to do to make it an even more entertaining show and at the center of it there always needs to be a good race. It's got to be a true competition, a fair competition, an entertaining competition…and one where the best driver/car/team combination on the day is the one that wins. We can build the entertainment parts, but they always have to be structured around a great core product.