It’s not every day a Volkswagen Beetle goes flying with the air. However, during one September weekend in Los Angeles, rallycross fans were treated to just this type of sight. It was the seventh and eighth round of your Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship (GRC), where Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross unleashed the auto on which its pinned its hopes for next year and beyond: the VW Beetle GRC. It’s not just a literal leap, but also a figurative one from the beginning of the 2014 season, when the team fielded two Polos rented from a Swedish team, Marklund Racing.The thought was to make use of this year like a learning process to build up the team and infrastructure. The driver choices were an excellent start: Scott Speed (the last American Formula One driver and experienced NASCAR racer) and Tanner Foust, Top Gear U.S. co-host, renowned stunt driver, rally driver, and drifter. Foust has enjoyed considerable success in this series, having been champion for the first two years and runner-up last season.
Speed won his first-ever race in GRC at the beginning of last year’s season, prompting what was meant to be a one-off drive into a full calendar and scoring another victory toward the end. “”I adore (racing in GRC),”” Speed says. “”It brings me back to as i was racing karts being a kid. The cars are simplyduring the X Games in La in 2010 and began its first full season in the year 2011. The 2014 season ran 10 main races, all in the United States-except for the opener, that was part of the Top Gear Festival in Barbados.
A typical race weekend includes practice then qualifying for several six-lap heats of four cars, allowing drivers to earn a bonus point or three based on where they finish. Right after the heats come the two semifinals. The top three from each semifinal advance to the main event. The remaining cars get into a Last Chance Qualifying (LCQ) session, where the top four move on to the final.
All of the tracks, ranging in length from half a mile to some mile, are temporary. So, there’s a variety of layouts with dirt or tarmac surfaces, a signature jump, and a “”joker”” lane. The joker lane tends to have a faster inside line that adds a level of strategy, as it can only be used once. Leading drivers tend to take it in the first lap to extend their advantage, and some wait to work with it as their very best chance for a late pass.