Red Bull GRC: Series confirms Ottawa for Canadian date in June

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool
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Red Bull Global Rallycross has confirmed its Canadian date, which was listed as a TBA on the schedule release earlier this year. The series will visit the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa for a doubleheader on June 17-18.

The full release from the series is below:

For the first time in its seven-year history, Red Bull Global Rallycross will head to Canada for a championship event in 2017. On Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18, Red Bull GRC will visit Ottawa, the country’s capital, for two rounds of action at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. The event is part of the Ottawa 2017 calendar, a year-long celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.

“Ottawa represents a perfect fit for Red Bull GRC as we return to international competition in 2017,” said Red Bull GRC CEO Colin Dyne. “We’ve been fortunate to see many Canadian fans at our events in the United States over the years, and we’re looking forward to bringing our racing formula north for the very first time, and to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. As Ottawa 2017 celebrates the 150th anniversary of Canada, we can’t think of a better way to join the celebration than by staging an event in the nation’s capital.”

The museum is easily accessible off of the Sir George Etienne Cartier Parkway, with the double header event utilizing portions of the Rockcliffe Airport. The course will feature long straightaways and wide-open corners, allowing the 600-horsepower Supercars to reach top speed. The paved main course and Joker Lap will merge leading into the dirt section, just before cars fly over the finish line on the series’ signature 70-foot jump. With grandstands set throughout the dirt section and up to the finish, fans will be up close to some of the most exciting moments of the 2017 season.

This year, as Canada celebrates its sesquicentennial, a record number of Canadians and visitors will gather in the nation’s capital to join in the festivities planned throughout 2017. Ottawa 2017 is presenting 12 full months of big, bold and immersive experiences that will complement national celebrations and annual events and festivals. Residents and visitors from Canada and abroad are invited to explore Canada’s history and culture through vibrant events that will spark the imagination and inspire for the future.

“As the nation’s capital, we’re happy to welcome this exciting event to Canada for the first time. Red Bull Global Rallycross will thrill participants and viewers across the country and around the world, while showcasing our city in a new and dynamic way, said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. “In support of Ecology Ottawa’s One Million Trees project and to further support this important legacy of the sesquicentennial year, the series’ organizers have committed to planting 10,000 trees in Ottawa.”

“Red Bull Global Rallycross will be yet another legacy of the Ottawa 2017 celebrations, with the opportunity for the event to return in subsequent years. It’s one of the bold new events we are helping to bring to Canada’s capital with the support of partners like CIBC and Ottawa Tourism. We’re equally happy to engage our federal partners at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum to showcase this important institution on an international scale,” said Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau.

Featuring the sport’s biggest stars and factory-supported race teams, Red Bull Global Rallycross has a long and storied history of international events and competitors. In 2013, it became the first rallycross series to visit three continents in a single season; last year, Supercar drivers represented 10 different countries, including Canada. Fort Frances, Ontario native Steve Arpin was among last year’s five race winners and is expected to join international stars like Tanner Foust, Scott Speed, Chris Atkinson, and many others.

 

IndyCar drivers say Thermal Club could host race after successful opening day to test

IndyCar Thermal race
Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY Sports Images
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THERMAL, Calif. – The “motorsports country club” passed the first test (figuratively and literally) with NTT IndyCar Series drivers pleased enough to proclaim The Thermal Club as race-eligible after its debut.

Though there were a few minor incidents on the 17-turn, 3.067-mile permanent road course east of Palm Springs in Southern California’s Coachella Valley, there was no significant damage for the 27 full-time cars that turned 1,119 laps Thursday.

Perhaps more importantly, drivers seemed to enjoy the ride around the track, which is unlike anything on the current circuit.

“I would love to race here,” said Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Marcus Armstrong, who posted the 10th-quickest time (1 minute, 39.9077 seconds) in the No. 11 Dallara-Honda that he will race on street and road courses after coming from the F2 Series. “I think it’s awesome. Would have to do a lot of neck training prior to the race because it’s much like a European circuit, quite demanding on the neck, towards the end of the lap anyway.

PRACTICE SPEEDS: First session l Second session l Combined

‘AN AMAZING PLACE’: IndyCar and its big plans for Thermal

“I think it’s cool. Very flowing, banked corners, banked high-speed corners. In terms of racing, it could be potentially not a lot of overtaking. You’d have to commit hard (in) maybe Turn 1. It wouldn’t be the easiest place to overtake. As a whole facility and circuit, it’s very enjoyable.”

Juncos Hollinger Racing No. 77 Chevrolet driver Callum Ilott, another F2 veteran who is entering his second year in IndyCar, was seventh fastest. Ilott said Thermal would “set a standard really of what we want to be doing with this series.

“It’s really, really high level, high tech,” said Ilott, whose rookie teammate Agustin Canapino went off course twice but incurred no major trouble. “As a circuit, yeah, it’s got a little bit different corners. I think the overtaking — we’ll find a way, we’re IndyCar — someone always sends it down the inside. I think if we can extend the straight and get some overtaking between Turn 6 and 7. It’s definitely a great circuit to drive and good fun and a bit different to the normal winter training we get in Florida. So I like the circuit.

“I think if we could, it would be good to race here once.”

Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta, who turned the fastest lap (1:39.3721) in his No. 26, also was optimistic despite the passing challenges.

“I think it really comes down to tire deg, what people are showing with that,” Herta said. “It will be tough to pass, right? A lot of the good braking zones, you’re coming off of high-speed corners, so it will be hard to follow.

“But you never know. I would say some of the tracks we go to would be terrible for racing, and IndyCar still puts on a great show. You never know until it’s tested and proven right or wrong.”

The possibility of adding an IndyCar race at The Thermal Club has been floated, but there would be some challenges. It likely would be a made-for-TV event given it’s a private club (and filled with multimillion-dollar homes filled with vintage cars). The test is closed to the public and open only to members and VIPs.

There also are some areas that would need to be improved, namely the galvanized steel Armco barriers that ring the track and generally are considered antiquated in motorsports.

“I think the Armco might propose a little bit of an issue,” Ilott said. “Again, it depends on what angle you’re hitting them obviously. It’s a pretty straightforward process to make it a bit safer and a bit more cushiony. I’m not in charge of that stuff. I just drive and try not to hit those things.

“I think it’s a straightforward process. To be fair, everyone has had a little moment today, spun and carried on. That’s a good start. Obviously there are anomalies, these things happen. So far, so good.”

Said Herta: For sure. It probably needs a little bit of work. They’ve already done a lot for us to come here already. It seems like if they do want to have a race here, they’re willing to put the work in and money in to upgrade the facility to make it a little bit safer for us.”

Christian Lundgaard of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing was second fastest (1:39.3767), followed by Alex Palou (1:39.3970) and Romain Grosjean (1:39.4826). Will Power was the top Chevrolet driver in fifth (1:39.5690).

Though Andretti had two of the top four times, Herta downplayed the significance other than getting reacclimated to his team.

“Just a lot of knocking the rust off,” he said. “It’s quite a long offseason without being in the car. I don’t know how much we’re really going to learn from running here. It’s really good to get the team back into it, get all the boys working again. Yeah, just get everybody back into the flow of it.

“It could be a huge shake-up when we go to St. Pete and who’s up front and who’s at the back. It is too early to tell. It’s nice just to be back in the car and get lap times down, get everybody working again.

“The track surface is very strange, very different to anything I’ve really felt in IndyCar. It’s seven first-gear corners. We don’t really have that many anywhere we go on a street course. It is quite a bit slower than our natural terrain courses. But I don’t want to be in here and dig it the whole time. It’s a fun track to drive, especially the back section. It keeps you on your toes. It doesn’t really replicate anything else that we go (race).”

The test will continue with another six-hour session Friday.