Foust reflects on Red Bull GRC’s evolution, growth, what wins mean now

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Having captured the 2011 and 2012 Supercars championships in the Red Bull Global Rallycross, Tanner Foust knows a thing or two about bringing home hardware.

Which is why if he and his Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team do so this year, it will mean more in what is arguably going to be the deepest field yet in series history.

Andretti is one of four IndyCar team owners in Red Bull GRC, along with Chip Ganassi, Bryan Herta and James “Sulli” Sullivan (with Dennis Reinbold as a partner).

That is in addition to rally powerhouse organizations like Olsbergs MSE (OMSE), Subaru Rally Team USA, Hoonigan Racing Division and Rhys Millen Racing.

So if you win in Red Bull GRC 2015, you’ve accomplished something. Foust more than anyone can attest to that, as he saddles up in the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle.

“I was with GRC when it was a napkin scratch,” Foust told MotorSportsTalk during the Red Bull GRC media day in Long Beach.

“We kind of dominated the series when people were just learning the sport.

“So winning now, when you have the likes of Herta, Ganassi, and Andretti battling it out, it’s quite a bit more gratifying and quite a bit more difficult.

“Everybody has upped their game. Everyone knows that. We’re all a lot more serious. Hopefully it produces great racing and a great show.”

Foust has been busy this offseason, between returning to drifting in a 900-horsepower Rockstar Energy Drink / Nitto Tire Volkswagen Passat, and he’s racing in select stops of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, Formula Drift and the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.

GRC is his focus for this year, but Foust notes that keeping fresh is half the battle given the length of the offseason from Las Vegas last November to Fort Lauderdale on May 31.

“According to Jalopnik.com I’m on a warpath to drive every Volkswagen model made in a race at some point this year and I’m doing pretty good so far!” Foust said.

“My focus is GRC. It’s a short season. It’s only seven events plus X Games. There is time to chase other opportunities and have fun.

“Building and drifting a 900-horsepower Passat was just as it sounds – pretty out of the box! It’s still a great adventure.”

Foust is determined to build on the 2014 season, which was arguably his toughest yet in the championship. Despite 10 heat race wins, Foust had only one win in the feature races and ended ninth in points.

“You can’t help but be very focused when you’re with the Andretti crew. Everyone is focused on performance and winning. Talking GRC, that is the environment.”

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.