After the Global Rallycross Championship series folded earlier in the year, U.S. fans were uncertain on how they were going to get their rallycross fix. Luckily, the Americas Rallycross (ARX) Championship was formed to fill that void with many former GRC crews like Subaru Rally Team USA and Andretti Volkswagen Rallycross Team bolstering the field.
This weekend was the first event of the series actually held on American soil, the season-opener being hosted in Britain—more specifically, the historic Silverstone Circuit. Andretti Volkswagen driver Tanner Foust took the first round in his Volkswagen Beetle rally car, followed by his teammate Scott Speed, and Liam Doran took the last spot on the podium in his Citroen DS3 machine.
This time, it was Speed who took the top spot at Circuit of the Americas. His back-and-forth battle with Ken Block provided the entertainment and proved to be the closest fight of the night as he was nearly unbeatable around the recently-built infield track. The drama continued into the final where Block was ultimately defeated, having the door shut on him by Speed, himself a three-time GRC champion.
When being interviewed during one of the semi-final heats, Speed mentioned Block by saying, “that guy is always running into someone.” In the post-race interview, a reporter referred to the final round as easy for Speed to which he responded: “That was not easy, I had to brake 50 meters before the first two corners because I was getting plowed in the back by the 43.” He was, of course, referring to Block’s No. 43 Hoonigan Ford.
Former Subaru rallycross driver and skateboard legend Bucky Lasek, who was commentating, responded with “Scott, tell us how you really feel.”
Block got his word in, though. Being arguably the king of burnouts and donuts, during his post-race interview, Block responded to the applause for his celebratory spins in the infield by saying, “Scott was doing some pathetic donuts, so I had to show the fans what it is really all about.” A hysterically laughing Lasek then commented “Hey, Ken! you should tell us how you really feel,” after saying the same thing about Speed.
Speed’s Andretti Autosport teammate Tanner Foust grabbed the third and final spot on the podium at day’s end.
Now that the drama has settled, there is a new leader in the Americas Rallycross Championship standings. Speed leads Foust by 1 point, 56 to 55 respectively. Subaru driver Patrik Sandell is in third place, but 16 points behind Foust. He is followed by fellow Subaru driver Chris Atkinson with 29 points and COTA second-place finisher Block who now has 24 points after not participating in the first round at Silverstone.
The next event on the Americas Rallycross Championship calendar brings the drivers to Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada on August 4-5.
Andretti Autosport team dominated now-defunct Red Bull Global Rallycross
Last year’s Red Bull Global Rallycross champion Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team with its Beetle Supecars and drivers Scott Speed and Tanner Foust are moving to Americas Rallycross.
The season begins May 25-27 in Silverstone, England, at the new Silverstone Rallycross circuit during the Speedmachine Festival. The Americas Rallycross opener will be held in conjunction with the British round of the 2018 World Rallycross Championship (WRX).
Red Bull Global Rallycross ceased operations in April.
“I’m excited to compete with ARX,” said Scott Speed, driver of the No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle. “The competition is going to be tough, but our Beetles are ready. I think this new series will be a great place to push our team and the cars in 2018.”
Tanner Foust is ready to return to the world stage at Silverstone, having won races in the 2011 and 2012 European Rallycross Championship, the first American to do so. “Having World Rallycross expand its reach to the U.S. is going to make the competition so much more accessible for fans to better understand the sport,” said the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle driver. “ARX will be a great platform to find new fans and spread the word about rallycross.”R
Speed won the last three Red Bull Global Rallycross championships (2016-2018), while Foust won the top drivers’ title in the GRC series with Olsbergs MSE Ford in Ford Fiestas in 2011 and 2012.
The pair will continue to race in the Beetle Rallycross vehicles, which are built by Volkswagen Motorsport in Europe. The cars have been updated to improve their handling characteristics, but will race with the same 2.0-liter 560-horsepower turbocharged engines that propelled the team to success in 2017.
“Our team has been able to achieve great success in rallycross and we look forward to continuing that legacy with the new ARX competition,” said Michael Andretti, CEO Andretti Autosport. “Scott and Tanner are some of the finest drivers on the planet in this motorsport discipline, and our cars are ready and better than ever.”
For information on the livestream of the first round of the 2018 Americas Rallycross on CBSsports.com on May 25, visit www.arxrallycross.com.
After Silverstone, the series will continue with three events:
July TBD, Austin, Texas — Circuit of the Americas
August 4-5, Trois Rivieres — Canada
September 29, Austin, Texas -– Circuit of the Americas
Scott Speed clinched his third consecutive Red Bull Global Rallycross Supercars championship in Saturday’s season finale at the Port of Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross teammate Tanner Foust took the race win.
“The whole week leading up to the race was just thinking about all the what-ifs and all the problems that could happen, even going in with such a big lead,” an elated Speed said after the checkered flag. “But my hat is off — I have the best team out here, and we have great partners. It’s a team effort!”
Speed and Foust entered the weekend with only 30 points separating them, while Loenbro Motorsports’ Steve Arpin remained alive in the championship hunt as well. Foust pared down the lead to 24 with a perfect trio of heats, setting up a showdown in the final with both drivers on the front row, while Arpin was mathematically eliminated in the early stages of the event.
Foust won the finale, while Speed recovered from a slow start to climb back to second place in the late stages of the final, while Patrick Sandell finished third. Speed’s runner-up finish gave him the points championship over Foust by an 826-807 margin.
“We snuck qualifying away from Scott, and then there was a little glimmer of hope in the heats,” Foust said after the victory. “Scott had a little bit of trouble, and coming into the final we had a chance to win if Scott was worse than eighth. It’s a big gap, but I was feeling it, and the whole team was hungry for that. But I’m so happy for our team — we had a tough Atlantic City, but since then we’ve won everything we’ve driven up to the line to do, and that’s not easy in this group. Hopefully, we’re going to carry some of that for next year.”
Full Supercar results from Red Bull Global Rallycross Los Angeles
- Tanner Foust, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross
- Scott Speed, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross
- Patrik Sandell, Subaru Rally Team USA
- Steve Arpin, Loenbro Motorsports
- Cabot Bigham, Bryan Herta Rallysport
deJong, Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE
- Sebastian Eriksson, Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE
- Austin Dyne, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
- Chris Atkinson, Subaru Rally Team USA
- Oliver Eriksson, Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE
Final 2017 Supercar championship standings
- Scott Speed, 826 points
- Tanner Foust, 807
- Steve Arpin, 743
- Sebastian Eriksson, 651
- Mitchell DeJong, 640
- Oliver Eriksson, 601
- Chris Atkinson, 585
- Patrik Sandell, 582
- Austin Dyne, 562
- Cabot Bigham, 473
- Austin Cindric, 102