Red Bull GRC gears up for “monumental” event in Washington, D.C.

2 Comments

After the first two rounds of the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross championship, the mission is clear for almost everybody in the paddock: Stop Scott Speed.

The ex-Formula One and NASCAR racer and his Andretti Autosport crew have shot out of the gates with back-to-back wins at Top Gear Festival Barbados and more recently at X Games Austin.

Those triumphs have enabled him to build a 28-point gap (110-83) early on in the driver’s championship over another ex-F1/NASCAR driver, Nelson Piquet Jr.

Now the scene shifts to RFK Stadium in Washington, DC – or, to be more precise, the “Festival Grounds” that lie outside the former longtime home of the Washington Redskins.

A half-mile, asphalt and dirt course has been constructed there, featuring a tantalizing passing opportunity at the Turn 3 hairpin, a jump between Turns 6 and 7, and a joker situated near the 10th and final turn.

The event is being put on by Andretti Sports Marketing, so expect Speed and Andretti Rallycross teammate Tanner Foust to be as motivated as ever (the latter especially so after his X Games run ended with a rollover in his quarterfinal heat).

As for Piquet, the closest championship pursuer to Speed, he believes that the DC track will lead to a wide-open affair for everyone.

“It has been a while since I last raced on a counter-clockwise track, so I think DC should be fun,” he said recently to the GRC website.

“I’m anticipating a lot of action in Washington. The track seems wider, with room for overtaking in the first two corners. I also like the balance in tarmac and dirt sections, a combination that should provide lots of fun for the drivers and a great show for the fans.”

Another driver to keep an eye on will be Bucky Lasek, who is coming off his first-ever GRC podium finish in Austin. As a native of suburban Baltimore (Dundalk, Maryland), the Subaru driver and skateboarding icon will enjoy home support this weekend.

Here’s the entry list for this weekend’s Volkswagen Rallycross DC event:

#00 Steve Arpin, Royal Purple Racing/OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
#04 Sarah Burgess, BMI Racing Chevrolet Sonic
#11 Sverre Isachsen, Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
#14 Austin Dyne, Barracuda Racing Ford Fiesta
#18 Patrik Sandell, Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
#27 Emma Gilmour, Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
#31 Joni Wiman, Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
#34 Tanner Foust, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo
#43 Ken Block, Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
#67 Rhys Millen, Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
#75 Nelson Piquet Jr., SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST
#77 Scott Speed, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo
#81 Bucky Lasek, Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI

Additionally, here’s how the driver’s standings look heading in:

1. Scott Speed, 110 points
2. Nelson Piquet Jr., 83 points
3. Brian Deegan, 70 points
4. Steve Arpin, 69 points
5. Patrik Sandell, 52 points
6. Austin Dyne, 50 points
7. Bucky Lasek, 49 points
8. Joni Wiman, 39 points
9. Sverre Isachen, 34 points
10. Rhys Millen, 30 points
11. Ken Block, 29 points
12. Emma Gilmour, 15 points
13. Tanner Foust, 11 points
14. Pat Moro, 3 points

You can watch the event LIVE on NBC this Sunday, June 22, at 2 p.m. ET.

Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
1 Comment

Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.