SX Global announces FIM Supercross World Championship Series

World Supercross Championship
0 Comments

SX Global announced plans for the FIM Supercross World Championship Series, a new international motorcycle racing series with a proposed start date of September, 2022.

The inaugural championship has been designated a ‘pilot’ season of five races running from September through November.

Future plans call for the Supercross World Championship Series to run in late summer and fall after the Monster Energy Supercross Series has ended. Many current supercross riders transition to the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross outdoor championship at the conclusion of the stadium season, when the World Championship is scheduled to compete, while others specialize in supercross only.

SX Global will utilize a different model with independent teams competing, rather than the largely factory-based system currently in place in the United States. To that end, they will issue 10 team licenses and provide financial support. Concurrent with the announcement of the series, SX Global announced an investment from Mubadala Capital, an Abu Dhabi-based wealth management fund, with more than $50 million earmarked for team and rider support over the next five years.

Mubadala Capital manages assets of more than $240 billion, with investments in other sporting and entertainment entities including EMI Music Publishing, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network.

“There is a massive fanbase and untapped demand for supercross outside the United States and backed by the financial support and significant resource of Mubadala Capital, we intend to feed that, bringing the sport to new regions through the most exciting and lucrative World Championship series in the history of the sport,” said Tony Cochrane, president of SX Global in a release. “We have created an entirely new model for supercross – one that emphasizes expanded financial support and opportunities for riders and teams, expanded opportunities for sponsorship and an elevated experience for fans.”

Australian-based, Cochran previously oversaw the expansion of the V8 Supercars series internationally with events in Shanghai, the United States, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and New Zealand.

Included in the financial incentives for teams will be appearances fees for each event as well as logistical and freight support to travel internationally.

The Supercross World Championship Series will replicate the two-class system with 450 and 250 divisions. Each of the 10 franchised teams will field two riders in each class. Another two wild card entries will allow for local teams to join the race and round out a 22-rider field.

Riders will compete for a purse of $250,000 for each event.

While the majority of Monster Energy Supercross riders are Americans, the World Championship Series believes there is expanded potential internationally because it has been underserved by the sport.

Additionally, the sport already has international appeal among riders. Last year’s second-place finisher in the American 450 points’ championship, Ken Roczen is native of Germany. The 2021 Motocross champion, Dylan Ferrandis, hails from France.

FIM also sanctions an outdoor series, the Motocross World Championship (MXGP) with races in 20 countries that runs from February through September. MXGP is currently in its 66th season.

“Over the years, there have been various attempts to build a true World Championship series for supercross, but none of them have succeeded, due to deficiencies in funding and resource, lack of global and regional relationships and a variety of other factors,” said Adam Bailey, managing director, Motorsport, for SX Global. “Our team possess the necessary supercross and international event background, relationships and expertise, and the funding to make this World Championship a reality.”

Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

Foust Copper X Prix
McLaren Racing
0 Comments

To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, unique trip it’s been for Tanner Foust in his first season with the Extreme E series as he took his early season lessons to Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he’s learned his lessons well.

In February, McLaren announced they would expand their motorsports program with an Extreme E entry. They signed two talented rally drivers in Foust and Emma Gilmour – and paired them for the opening round in Neom, Saudi Arabia with just a few days of testing under their belts. Baked by the Arabian desert sun, it was trial by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing into the final round and finishing fifth. As Extreme E headed to another desert halfway across the globe for Round 4, it was a good time to catch up with Foust and ask about McLaren’s progress. The Copper X Prix was held this past weekend in one of the most extreme regions in the world: the Atacama Desert.

MORE: McLaren considering Kyle Busch for Indy 500

“The shock going into the first race was the speed,” Foust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than we had tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles per hour [in race trim] and our testing speeds were more in the 60 to 70-mile range. Then, once we sort of got around that, the car got updated so you can drive it even faster.”

In rally racing, some incidents are out of a driver’s control. Even peeking around another car can be dangerous because of potholes that have recently been gouged in the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout up between laps. A couple of rollovers brought Foust back to earth – but the pace was there and that was important.

“We had some challenges this season,” Foust said prior to the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; made the final, which is a difficult thing to do in this series. I had two rolls in the first three events, but I have improved each time. Now we come into Round 4 in Chile in a pretty strong position. We have competitive times as a team. We are communicating really well and have our heads around this Odyssey vehicle.”

Foust’s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race – Extreme E’s version of a Last Chance Qualifier – and did so after passing the field. It was the same manner in which he qualified for Saudi Arabia’s finale, but this time things would be better. There were those hard-earned lessons on which to lean – and Foust had reps under his belt. He was not going to be caught off guard by any random obstacles.

Tanner Foust passed Sebastien Loeb heading to the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix finale, he pressured one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

Pitching sideways through a tight left-hander late in his stint, Foust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastien Loeb as they headed to the Switch Zone. There, he would turn the car over to his co-driver Gilmour.

The Extreme E series pairs male and female drivers with both taking a turn behind the wheel.

After the driver change, Gilmour lost the lead momentarily to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutierrez, but as they charged toward the finish line, she surged ahead and crossed under the checkers first.

“What an improvement for the team over this year,” Foust said after the race. “We have struggled through some of the events, being in our first year in competition. We showed true pace this weekend; overtaking Sebastien Loeb was a highlight.

“Emma put in a great run in the Final. I was fortunate to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then first in the Final but with some flag penalties, we had 20 seconds added to our time, which put us into fifth. It was a great feeling crossing the line first, I love this wide style track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

“Hopefully we can continue that momentum into Uruguay.”

Loeb and Gutierrez were elevated to the top of the podium, but no one can take away the feeling of crossing under the checkers first.


Racing Responsibly

Since cars were first invented, racing has played a socially responsible role by improving safety. As Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing needs to adapt to these new needs and requirements, which is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is more than simple racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to offset damage done by climate change and to erase the footprint caused by the events.

Foust, a biology major from the University of Colorado, was given the chance to rekindle his interest and give back to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

The Atacama is the oldest desert in the world at 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth and has the highest degree of ultraviolet light. And yet somehow life perseveres through underground rivers with oases dating back to Incan times. Foust participated in preparing a local habitat for the reintroduction of a critically endangered water frog to Chile’s longest river, the Loa, which snakes its way through the desert.

“I’m loving the experience,” Foust said. “I’m putting on a lot of Chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I never would have come here otherwise.

“I honestly am very honored to be a part of this sport. I am a huge believer in the fact that motorsports has done us good in the last 100 years. I think we benefit every single time we put our seatbelts on and drive down the road to the lessons learned in racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope motorsports continues that tradition.

“I think that motorsports like [Extreme E] does it in a responsible way, a gender-neutral way and a carbon-neutral way.”