Speed and family. Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool

Scott Speed’s blog: My time in Red Bull GRC… so far

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Editor’s note: Providing a behind the scenes take during his 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) season, Scott Speed, driver of the No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle GRC for Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross (VARX), will contribute to NBCSports.com, giving readers his view from behind the visor.

In his first blog installment, Speed looks back on his time in the series while looking ahead on his fourth season with the team, highlighting the ups and downs while heading to season-opener Memphis defending back-to-back championship titles.

The season begins at Memphis the weekend of April 29-30. Qualifying coverage airs at 12 a.m. ET on April 30 on NBCSN, the race at 1 p.m. ET on NBC. 

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool

If I could sum up my time so far in GRC in one word, it’d be “exciting” for sure. From the moment I first drove a GRC car all the way to winning two championships, it’s been ups and downs; a lot of exciting highs and lows.

Standing out, winning my first X Games gold in Brazil really started it all. It was my introduction to the sport. I was brought in to guest drive that weekend and no one expected me to win. From the first time I got in the car, I felt super comfortable. We came from being the underdog to win gold. Without that moment, I wouldn’t be racing GRC now. That race changed my career.

On the flip side, Daytona last season isn’t exactly my favorite memory. Catching on fire while leading is something I don’t want to repeat, and without that we would’ve most certainly won the race. It would’ve changed the points landscape and made last year less stressful.

But in pairing with Volkswagen and Andretti Rallycross, it obviously was a great decision by everyone from the start. I think it’s one of those things where it was a no-brainer for me. Volkswagen has had so much success globally in their rallycross programs, and Michael [Andretti] has always run a first-class operation. Everyone’s been super happy this whole time and it’s been outstanding since day one.

Heading to Memphis to start the 2017 schedule, there’s some added pressure for the three-peat, no question. But I think it’s great we’re able to continue success, working together with VARX and partnering with Oberto, Circle K and Rockstar this season. Their brands fit my personality and lifestyle so well. Between Rockstar and Oberto which I consume every day, I love representing those brands. Oberto’s great for getting nutrition, especially while I’m on the road traveling so much. So I’m very much looking forward to working with everyone this season.

Defending back-to-back championships won’t be easy with the target on our backs. We’re going to hopefully go and not make the same mistakes we’ve made in past, not going to catch on fire like I did in Daytona. I know we can win, I know we’re fast enough. That’s the difference. I’d like to focus on minimizing the downsides, the small mistakes this year.

Photo: Louis Yio/Red Bull Content Pool

I’m also already looking forward to Seattle. It’s my time to go up there and have a great showing this year, and to do it in front of Oberto’s home crowd. I’m looking forward to getting redemption out west and I know we can.

Above all, I’m looking forward to having my family at the track. It’s something I’ll continue to look forward to every time I go racing like I have. For me, racing has always been a family sport. It means everything to me with GRC being so family-friendly. My dad got me in to the sport when I was younger, and my mom has supported me along the way. For my wife and kids to be around me, to share the experiences with me, it means everything. It doesn’t feel the same when they’re not at the track. It’s something I feel very passionate about, and look forward to sharing every step of the season with my family as we work hard to three-peat.



Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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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.