After multiple attempts over the past few years, the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship finally makes it to the Motor City. The host location is the famed (or maybe infamous if you’re an IndyCar fan) streets of Belle Isle.
The track hits my personal sweet spot being 0.757 miles long, and the joker lap is very unique with the standard lap and joker encompassing different paths around the signature fountain. I do have concerns about the tight Turn 1 potentially causing red flags as the exit is extremely narrow with a concrete barrier on the outside. The use of dirt is lackluster as well. The only use of it is after the jump on a straight stretch. Maybe turn 8 will be a bit interesting under braking as the cars transition from dirt to pavement, but if this series wants exciting “dirt flinging” then the cars need to be going sideways through the dirt/gravel and not in a straight line. That’s my take on it, but here’s the official description from redbullglobalrallycross.com.
“As in Fort Lauderdale, the start line and finish line are on the same straightaway, but the start line is closer to the left-hand turn one. Entering turn two, drivers can go right around the Scott Fountain for the main lap, or left to take the Kobalt Tools Joker Lap, before the track merges leading up to the series’ signature 70-foot jump. Following the jump, drivers will confront a set of wide, fast straightaways and dirt tracks before taking the tenth and final turn back onto the frontstretch.”
Red Bull GRC Race Preview: Detroit
IN BRIEF: Rounds five and six, the halfway point of the 2015 Red Bull Global Rallycross season, will see the sport tackle Belle Isle for its inaugural visit to Detroit. Points leader Ken Block enters the event with a 31-point advantage over Sebastian Eriksson, while Fords hold the top five championship spots coming into the weekend.
TUNE IN INFORMATION:
Saturday, July 25, 2PM ET on NBC and liveextra.nbcsports.com
Saturday, July 26, 4:30PM ET on NBC and liveextra.nbcsports.com
NBC Sports Group will be offering live streaming of the Global Rallycross Detroit race through the NBC Sports Live Extra app via desktop, mobile and tablet.
TICKETS: Click here
EVENT SPOTTER GUIDE: Click here
2015 SPECTATOR GUIDE: Click here
LAST RACE: Ken Block took advantage of a red flag situation in the main event to grab his second win of the year at MCAS New River. Patrik Sandell, who led handily before the red flag, took his first podium of the season for Bryan Herta Rallysport after a last-lap dive into the Kobalt Tools Joker Lap, while SH Racing Rallycross driver Nelson Piquet Jr. completed the podium.
DRIVER CHANGES: All 12 Supercar drivers who competed at MCAS New River will be returning to the track in Detroit. No additional drivers will be running this weekend.
THE TRACK: The Belle Isle course features 10 turns and .757 miles of track. Featuring one of the most pronounced Kobalt Tools Joker Laps of the season, as cars split around the James Scott Memorial Fountain, the track should offer numerous passing opportunities and fast, wide-open stretches. Click here for more information on the track.
BLOCK REGAINS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD: Another race victory, combined with misfortune for key championship rival Sebastian Eriksson, allowed Ken Block to regain the Red Bull GRC championship lead that he initially claimed in Fort Lauderdale. Block’s fifth career Supercar victory puts him at 181 points for the season; last year, championship leader Nelson Piquet Jr. had 184 points through the season’s first four races.
SUBARU COMING OFF BEST WEEKEND OF SEASON: For the second time in four races, Subaru Rally Team USA put both Sverre Isachsen and Bucky Lasek in the main event at MCAS New River, with Lasek’s LCQ victory the team’s first session win of the season. Both drivers scored season-best finishes; Isachsen came home sixth, while Lasek, who briefly ran in podium contention, placed seventh at race’s end.
VOLKSWAGEN LOOKING TO REBOUND: Owing to mechanical issues, neither Tanner Foust nor Scott Speed was able to make the main event at MCAS New River, marking the first time in Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross history that both cars missed the main event. Speed finished second in the Fort Lauderdale season opener and won gold at X Games Austin, but since then has not finished better than ninth. Foust’s last-place finish at New River was his first finish outside of the top five all season.
QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of this weekend’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Detroit:
Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle: “A doubleheader through a rat maze of concrete involves staying off the concrete—I think that’s the obvious thing. When you cruise around the track, you realize that it’s going to have really difficult visibility. Not only do you have some big cars right in front of you, but you also have walls that are higher than your eye level. But it’s kind of a bumpy surface, there’s rain expected, and so just the slightest little slip off of line would be a catastrophe I think, and it could be a big crash. The jump not having any sides on it, it’s going to be important not to go from 15 feet straight to grass. So for sure, there’s a lot to be careful of, but it’s a fast track and a lot of the corners you really can attack.”
Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI: “Definitely this a venue for horsepower. For the moment, we’re trying to make more horsepower every race. We will fight with what we have, we’ll push really hard again for this race. You need to try to use your head, of course, but you have other drivers also, so you’re not alone in deciding what you can do in the corner because there are other guys. If they push me, I’ll definitely push back.”
Austin Dyne, #14 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST: “These kinds of tracks have a lot of character. Certain parts of the track have a lot of concrete, and there are a lot of parts with a lot of really bumpy asphalt which makes it cool. When it’s all flat and perfect it looks kind of boring. This track definitely has a lot of character and there are a lot of fast, kind of sketchy fast corners which makes it really exciting. It should be cool on TV for the fans, and with some really tight stuff it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.”