The inaugural Global RallyCross Championship will play host to a number of notable rally drivers, including two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm. The winner of the new U.S.-based series will then be invited to compete in this summer’s X-Games.
Having previously won two WRC titles in 2000 and 2002, the GRC appears to be right up Gronholm’s alley. He has also won the 2002 Race of Champions and earned the Nations’ Cup at the Race of Champions in 2006. For the GRC, Gronholm will be piloting a 600-horsepower rally-spec Ford Fiesta, wearing a blue-and-yellow Best Buy-sponsored livery similar to that used when he won at the 2009 Pike’s Peak
The Global RallyCross Championship will be a three-race series similar to motocross, with racers running on a multi-surface track with jumps. Unlike traditional rallies or the WRC, where each driver runs their own timed stage, up to six drivers are on the course at the same time.
The first race of the 2011 GRC series will be hosted near of Los Angeles, California, at the Irwindale Speedway. The track’s oval will be converted into course consisting of both dirt and tarmac stretches, along with a 70-foot-high gap jump. This jump at the first GRC race will mark the first time that a gap jump is used in rallycross competition outside of the X-Games. The competitors will go on to race at a rural industrial complex outside of Seattle, Washington, in April, and then finish the season in June at the Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado.
Joining Gronholm in a Fiesta will be three-time X-Games gold medalist (and TopGear USA co-host) Tanner Foust. Renowned racer Rhys Millen and five-time British rally champion Macus Dodd are both scheduled to compete in Veloster rallycrosscars, while Subaru Rally Team USA’s Dave Mirra will field Subaru WRX STI.
The inaugural event at Irwindale runs from March 25 to 26, and a two-day ticket for the race starts at $25. If you can’t make the scene, the Global RallyCross Championship will air on ESPN and ESPN2 following NASCAR and NHRA coverage, while ESPN3 plans on live streaming the series.
Source: Global RallyCross Championship