Scott Speed is coming off his 4th straight rallycross championship. Photo courtesy Scott Speed's official Twitter account.

Scott Speed ready to take Subaru to same level as he did with Andretti/VW

1 Comment

Scott Speed has won a combination of four consecutive Red Bull Global Rallycross and American Rallycross championships driving for Andretti Autosport.

So what does Speed do for an encore?

He switches teams and makes what he calls “a leap of faith” heading into the 2019 American Rallycross season.

Speed will move from the Andretti camp and driving a Volkswagen to racing for the Subaru Rally Team USA next season.

And as for the “leap of faith”?

Speed believes that Subaru, which hasn’t won a rallycross race since 2014, is primed to bite into Andretti’s and VW’s domination over the last four years – with him behind the wheel.

“I’m excited for the challenge more than anything,” Speed told the United Kingdom’s The Checkered Flag. “It’s going to be a challenge and I think that’s what I’m most excited about.

“To be honest with you it’s more taking a leap of faith than anything. It’s going to be going through the same process and the same growing pains as what happened when we first joined with Volkswagen and Andretti.

“You just have to figure it out when you get there. I would not have made the move if I didn’t think I can win.”

Since joining Andretti and getting behind the wheel of the VW Beetle, Speed has lived up to his colorful surname in rallycross competition, winning 26 of 46 starts across Global Rallycross, X Games, ARX, and Nitro Rallycross.

And while he’ll have a new learning curve with Subaru, his knowledge of how Andretti Autosport had so much success with VW will definitely be to his and his new team’s advantage.

“No question, it has to, right?” Speed added to The Checkered Flag. “I know the car intimately, but in the same breath, I’ve always said I don’t focus on the other cars, I never have,” said Speed. “I somewhat know the advantages and disadvantages of each car but the aim of the game is focusing on your project and that is a mindset that I will carry on and implement.

“I’m going to do my job, we’re going to make our car the best it can be and that will be where all the focus is.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Don’t know the Rolex 24? You should. Here’s why.

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Hello, America. It’s time to go racing again.

Yes, Supercross is now three weeks into its season, and the Chili Bowl Nationals is now effectively the Christopher Bell Invitational after the young NASCAR star won his 3rd consecutive Golden Driller last weekend.

But the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway is the first marquee event on the American racing calendar – an event that just happens to have international prestige.

It’s also the start of Daytona Speedweeks, which culminates with NASCAR’s Daytona 500 on Feb. 17. But this is no mere opening act just warming up the crowd for the headliner.

In case you’re new to this event, here are a few reasons why it stands out:

Twice around the clock: Are you the kind of person that appreciates a challenge? Well, challenges don’t get much bigger in motorsports than a 24-hour endurance race where drivers, crews, machines, and strategies must work together flawlessly. For those behind the wheel in the Rolex 24, the obstacles are numerous: Punishing G-forces, extreme mental focus, lack of sleep, and staying on top of hydration and nutrition.

Star power: Speaking of those behind the wheel, the Rolex 24 traditionally draws top drivers from other disciplines such as IndyCar, Formula 1 and NASCAR to join sports car regulars from North America and around the world. As a result, the winners’ list is a Who’s Who of Motorsports.

This year’s field includes a clutch of NTT IndyCar Series drivers, highlighted by 5-time series champion and past Rolex 24 winner Scott Dixon. But pre-race buzz has centered on two particular interlopers: Alex Zanardi, the former CART champion making his first North American start since losing his legs in a 2001 crash, and Fernando Alonso, the two-time F1 champion looking to add another endurance triumph alongside his win with Toyota in last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Cool cars: If you’re a gearhead, the Rolex 24 is a 200-mile-per-hour candy store. Across the four separate classes of competition, 13 of the world’s premier car manufacturers are represented.

The majority of those manufacturers are found in the Grand Touring classes that feature vehicles based on road-going production models. Chevy and Ford’s eternal rivalry rages on in the factory-backed GT Le Mans, but the class also boasts efforts from BMW, Porsche, and Ferrari. It’s even more diverse in the pro-am GT Daytona, where Porsche is joined by Audi, Lamborghini, Lexus and Mercedes.

As for the exotic, purpose-built Daytona Prototypes, they are powered by engines from Cadillac, Acura, Mazda and Nissan.

Nifty fifty: This year’s Rolex 24 begins the 50th anniversary season for IMSA, the sanctioning body for North American sports car racing. A select group of teams will mark the occasion at the Rolex 24 by running historic IMSA paint schemes on their machines. You may not be familiar with these looks, but it’s worth discovering the history behind them.

Here’s an example. The Starworks Motorsports team (GT Daytona) will carry a scheme based on Audi of America’s 90 Quattro from the 1989 IMSA GTO season. Boasting sports car legends Hurley Haywood and Hans-Joachim Stuck in the driver lineup, the 90 Quattro captured 7 GTO wins that season.

Audi’s performance led one competitor to create a “no passing” sticker with Stuck’s face on it. Stuck’s response: A doll fixed to his car’s rear window that dropped its pants to moon anyone Stuck put behind him.

Status symbol: Last but not least, the Rolex 24 has a unique prize – a trophy you can wear.

Winners get a standard cup, but what they’re really after are the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona watches, which include a special engraving to commemorate their victory. A standard version of this watch retails for tens of thousands of dollars, but you can’t put a price on the ones awarded at the Rolex 24.

This year’s grand marshal, 5-time Rolex 24 winner Scott Pruett, sums it up as “the ultimate reward.”

“To be presented a watch engraved with the word ‘Winner’ after 24 hours of intense racing is a moment that lives with you forever,” he added. “Your Rolex is a constant reminder of the perseverance and hard work that goes into succeeding at the highest level.”