Red Bull GRC Returns to Seattle
The Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship Series returns to the Pacific Northwest this weekend, and once again large crowds of spectators are expected. Two years ago Red Bull GRC was hosted at the DirtFish Rally School in Snoqualmie, Washington just 30 minutes east of Seattle. The combined promotional efforts of Red Bull GRC, Subaru, and DirtFish brought in a record sold out crowd that was multiple times what other venues had seen. It proved that there is a thirst for motor racing, especially anything with rally in the name, in the upper corners of the continental US.
This time the venue is unfortunately not the DirtFish Rally School (which many including myself have stated as the best multi-surface location used to date), but instead is at the Evergreen Motorsports Park northeast of Seattle. Evergreen’s primary track is a 5/8 mile banked outer oval that was used in NASCAR for many years back in the day. Today the track has been transformed for multi-purpose racing featuring the bigger outer oval, 2 smaller inner ovals, a figure-eight track, a drag strip, and can be converted to a 3/4 mile road course. Not quite the natural terrain we saw at DirtFish Rally School, but the track does offer a lot of optional configurations to make an interesting race course.
Red Bull GRC’s 0.791 mile course design appears to initially follow one of the banked ovals before diving into the infield where the track will transition to dirt/gravel. And if this picture is correct, this is some of the best uses of dirt of the series all season. The normal lap offers lots of dirt in (GASP!) the corners! Yes, indeed dirt in corners, something the series has lacked a bit in the past. This should offer some interesting challenges with setups as teams find the best compromise between the tarmac and dirt surfaces. To add some extra excitement, the great equalizer of rain showers is in the forecast as well.
Rally is of course big in the Pacific NW and Subaru Rally Team USA is capitalizing on that with their entries. Instead of the usual suspects of Sverre Isachsen and Bucky Lasek, SRTUSA have entered newcomer and former Subaru factory WRC driver Chris “Atko” Atkinson, and 6 times consecutive Rally America Champion David Higgins, as their two drivers. The rest of the entry list are the usual supercar subjects. Who will have the edge in the slippery conditions this weekend?
|00||Steve Arpin||Fort Frances, ON||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|07||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Brasilia, BRA||SH Rallycross/DRR|
|14||Austin Dyne||Los Angeles, CA||AD Racing|
|18||Patrik Sandell||Ostersund, SWE||Bryan Herta Rallysport|
|31||Joni Wiman||Pohja, FIN||Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE|
|34||Tanner Foust||Dana Point, CA||Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross|
|38||Brian Deegan||Omaha, NE||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|41||Scott Speed||Mt. Holly, NC||Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross|
|55||Chris Atkinson||Bega, AUS||Subaru Rally Team USA|
|75||David Higgins||Trefeglwys, WAL||Subaru Rally Team USA|
|93||Sebastian Eriksson||Hagfors, SWE||Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE|
And of course we don’t wan to leave out the GRC Lites drivers. Often this is where the closest racing action is seen as all these young drivers compete in identical 300HP 4WD mid-engined machinery.
|2||Cabot Bigham (R)||Mill Valley, CA||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing|
|3||Travis PeCoy (R)||Yorba Linda, CA||AF Racing|
|16||Oliver Eriksson||Osmo, SWE||Olsbergs MSE X Forces|
|21||Conner Martell||Colchester, VT||DirtFish Motorsports|
|24||Tanner Whitten||Rochester, IL||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing|
|25||James Rimmer (R)||Sammamish, WA||DirtFish Motorsports|
|44||Christian Brooks (R)||Santa Clarita, CA||AF Racing|
|45||Miki Weckstrom (R)||Espoo, FIN||Olsbergs MSE X Forces|
|53||Cole Keatts (R)||Lewiston, ID||Olsbergs MSE X Forces|
|54||Jon Bennett (R)||Fort Knox, KY||CORE autosport|
|56||Scott Anderson (R)||Fort Collins, CO||CORE autosport|
|126||Alejandro Fernandez||Bogota, COL||AF Racing|
The first practice and heat races start today with the main event being held tomorrow. Tickets for the race are available here: Red Bull GRC Seattle Tickets
The televised Supercar event will air Sunday, September 18th on NBC at 10:30 AM Pacific Time and on Red Bull TV at 11:00 AM Pacific.
GRC Lites race will be aired on NBCSN September 22nd at 2:30 Pacific.