Saturday, 7 March 2015
Its been a busy two weeks for the TCR International Series and the domestic TCR Series and for Craft-Bamboo Racing...
Here are the latest announcements...
The TCR Asia Series has unveiled an impressive five round calendar for its maiden season, with the opening event at Guangdong International Circuit on August 16.
“Our original plan was to start in May in Korea, however after taking into account the organisation and logistics aspects, we decided to postpone the first event,” explained David Sonenscher, CEO of WSC Asia, the series promoter.
“We had to be realistic and accept the fact that most of the cars may not be delivered in time for an earlier start. Our first round will now be alongside the China Touring Car Championship which will allow us to showcase the new category to one of the biggest markets in the world. Already we have significant interest in the series from some of Asia’s most competitive teams, many of whom are waiting for the delivery of cars,” Sonenscher added.
After Guangdong, the 2015 TCR Asia Series will visit Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, while the venue for the final race meeting will be unveiled at a later date.
Sonenscher said: “For Singapore,our competitors will enter in the TCR International Series, while in Thailand they will have their own races. We are already looking forward to include Japan and Korea in the 2016 calendar.”
2015 TCR Asia Series – calendar
16 August, Guangdong International Circuit, China
6 September, Sepang iCircuit, Malaysia
20 September, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore
25 October, Buriram International Circuit, Thailand
22 November, TBA
Craft-Bamboo Racing announced a title partnership with LUKOIL, to compete in the 2015 TCR International Series.
Entering the maiden season of TCR International Season under the name Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL, the team presents itself as a competitive force with a trio of SEAT León cars. The strong driver line-up, which will be announced soon. This partnership is a demonstration of the team’s clear intention to challenge for both the team’s and driver’s championship titles.
Craft-Bamboo Racing has a successful Touring Car history dating back to 2009. In 2013 they claimed the independent title with a third place overall in the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing declared: “I am thrilled to announce our three car entry into the TCR International series. We are very excited to be working with LUKOIL because not only are they an excellent partner, but they also have a reputation for backing winners. The title is our aim but we know how difficult that will be with so many top teams and drivers.”
Marcello Lotti, CEO of WSC Ltd, added: “We are extremely pleased to welcome Craft-Bamboo Racing and LUKOIL. This will prove to be a powerful alliance between a team that has established itself as a winner in many different categories and one of the most dynamic oil companies on the global market. The fact that these two prestigious brands have decided to join the series in its maiden season, is a further evidence that the TCR concept is sound and well grounded.”
Westcoast Racing announced that American racer Kevin Gleason will form one third of its attack on the inaugural season of the TCR International Series.
Westcoast Racing was created in 1994 by Dick Jönsson-Wigroth and has gone on to establish itself as the world’s leading Swedish touring car team by accumulating several championship titles over the course of two decades in the highly esteemed Swedish Touring Car Championship.
Westcoast Racing will field a trio of Honda Civic cars built and developed to the new TCR technical regulations by JAS Motorsport.
With a background in US-based touring cars, Gleason has demonstrated skill and adaptability by seamlessly transitioning between different specifications of race cars and accumulating various high profile race victories along the way. His key achievements include a win in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge VIR 13 Hour and the 2014 ADAC Nürburgring 6 Hours.
“I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Westcoast Racing team for the inaugural TCR International Series season,”said Gleason. “The team is well proven and brings a vast array of experience that I’m sure will help see it quickly adapt to the new challenge it faces in 2015. Beyond the team itself, I expect the Honda Civic TCR to be a competitive package, especially with the support of JAS Motorsport and Mugen. I look forward to building these relationships into a successful campaign.”
Westcoast Racing Team Manager, James Nixon, said: “Westcoast Racing is delighted to welcome Kevin Gleason to the team. His pace and hunger to succeed is very apparent and that was a big appeal when we started our conversations. The TCR International Series is the ideal category to start a full season campaign and to perfect his racecraft on some of the best tracks in the world. I have no doubt Kevin will soon be a name we all know and remember in touring cars.”
Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL announced Sergey Afanasiev as one of the three drivers that will be contesting the new TCR International Series.
The 26 year old Russian began his career with LUKOIL in Formula Russia in 2003. His first season was a success, taking three wins and the title in his first year of professional racing.
Afanasiev progressed through various single-seater series, culminating with a third place in the 2010 FIA Formula Two Championship; the following year he finished third again in the AutoGP. In 2013 Afanasiev switched to the FIA GT1 World Championship and was crowned champion in the Pro-Am division.
Earlier this week Afanasiev has completed four successful days of testing at Valencia and Barcelona with the SEAT León Racer, which allowed him to familiarize with the car and adapt to front wheel drive.
Afanasiev said: “The TCR International Series is a new challenge for me and I'm looking forward to the season. We conducted several tests, in which I learned the car. The new SEAT León is very different from GT cars, but I did not have any problem adapting."
Evgeny Malinovskiy, Head of LUKOIL Racing, commented: “I am pleased to present our international project for 2015 with Craft-Bamboo Racing. We decided to combine the efforts of two successful teams to conquer another challenge. I believe that in our maiden season in the TCR International Series we will be able to fight for the championship. From my point of view, this series is one of the best championships for independent teams.”
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing, commented: “I am delighted to welcome Sergey to the team, he is a true professional and has already been adapting well to front wheel drive racing. I am sure that he will achieve success this season, he has impressed in his attitude and shown very good pace in testing.”
Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil announced Pepe Oriola as the second of three drivers that will be contesting the 2015 TCR International Series.
The young Spaniard began his career in karting at the age of nine and moved up to Touring Cars when he was 15 to finish on the podium in the final round of the SEAT Leon Supercopa. In 2011 Oriola became the youngest ever driver in the FIA World Touring Car Championship at 16 years old and in the 2013 WTCC Race of Morocco he took his first win and became the youngest ever driver to win an FIA World Championship race.
“The feeling is very positive with Craft-Bamboo Racing and we have already begun working to prepare for the TCR International Series that will surely become a championship of reference. It has a very attractive calendar and several races will be shared with Formula 1, which is another attraction for this championship,”Oriola said.
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing, commented: “I am so pleased to welcome Pepe Oriola to Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil, he is a proven race winner and despite his young age will not be a number two driver. He brings with him tremendous speed and experience in Touring Cars and I expect him tol be a championship contender. I think Craft-Bamboo Lukoil will give him the environment to take the step from a race winner to a champion.”
Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL announced Jordi Gené as the final driver in the trio that will contest the TCR International Series.
A factory development driver for SEAT since 2005, Gené was instrumental to the development of the SEAT León Racer. The Spaniard has been focusing on testing and development during his role in the past few seasons. His professional input has helped SEAT to prepare the car for its upcoming series debut. Gené’s distinguished career in motorsport contains multiple championship wins spanning numerous racing disciplines, including the FIA World Touring Car Championship, in which he won four races and helped SEAT win the manufacturers titles in 2008 and 2009.
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing, stated: “It is great to welcome our third driver, Jordi Gené. He is a proven race winner and brings with him vast amounts of knowledge as a factory development driver for SEAT. I have high expectations for results with the quality of drivers and years of collective racing experience they possess, and will be looking forward to a very exciting season.”
Gené said: “I am really looking forward to this new project, and I'm also very motivated to participate in the TCR International Series with the SEAT León Racer, especially after having collaborated with SEAT Sport in its development. I know the car very well and I've done some testing during the pre-season, which I also have combined with karting to make sure my reactions and skills are up to the challenge.”
At Craft-Bamboo Lukoil, Gené joins his fellow countryman Pepe Oriola and Russian racer Sergey Afanasyev.
Finally, WSC Ltd, the promoter of the TCR International Series, appointed Touring Car legend Nicola Larini as the driver in charge for the forthcoming Balance of Performance test.
The Italian ace will take the wheel of the various eligible cars on Monday and Tuesday next week at Barcelona’s Catalunya Circuit.
A former Formula 1 driver and tester, with 49 Grands Prix under his belt, including one second place at Imola for Ferrari, Larini established himself as one of the most successful Touring Car drivers in the latest twenty years. At the wheel of Alfa Romeo factory cars he was crowned Italian Supertouring champion in 1992, won the 1993 DTM, finished second in the FIA World Touring Car Challenge at Monza in the same year and claimed eight race victories in the FIA European Touring Car Championship between 2001 and 2003. From 2005 to 2009 he raced for Chevrolet in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, in which he was classified fifth in 2007.
“I have accepted with pleasure to run this test; it is going to be an interesting experience and I trust I will be able to deliver a clear and detailed feedback that help to balance the performance of the different cars. I have gained enough experience in Touring Car racing and with the turbo engine to duly accomplish this task,”declared Larini.
Marcello Lotti, CEO of WSC, said: “Having a very experienced driver like Larini is the best guarantee of success for the test. From his undisputed driving skill and technical knowledge, Nicola is the right person to help our technical department to fix Balance of Performance among the different cars. We are very grateful to him for having accepted our invitation.”
The Balance of Performance will be based on three different parameters: the minimum weight of the car (+/- 70kg), its ride height (-10/+20mm over 80mm) and the air restrictor (95/90% of nominal diameter).
All the best!
Rallycross is big news right now in the Motorsport World...
And 2015 is an important year.
Let me explain why...
In 2013, the running of the FIA European Rallycross Championship was taken over by IMG Motorsport and they relaunched the brand as "RallycrossRX" Several big name drivers joined the series in the form of Petter Solberg and Tanner Foust, going up against regulars such as Liam Doran and Timur Timerzyanov whilst being joined by newcomers like Timmy Hansen and Anton Marklund.
The series proved so popular that the FIA took the step to create the first ever World Rallycross Championship or WorldRX for 2014. In came factory supported efforts from Peugeot-Hansen, Ford OMSE and VW-Marklund whilst names such as Jacques Villeneuve, Toomas "Topi" Heikkinen and Manfred Stohl raced in Supercar machinery taking on the best. With added live TV & Internet coverage, the series boomed with many European rounds seeing over 40 Supercar entries and Petter Solberg crowned as the first ever World Rallycross Champion.
So, why is 2015 so important?
Well, the fact that the RallycrossRX regulations have been left largely unchanged means that there are plenty of Supercars out there to use and race that are eligible in Domestic, European & World Championships. Factor in the point that its relatively easy to transport a Supercar to any of the EuroRX events and that alone allows domestic series competitors to take on the best from WorldRX and even have a chance at winning the EuroRX Title. All this means that you can expect large numbers of entrants and big crowds at Rallycross events.
The hugely positive effect that the expansion of WorldRX has had on Rallycross has begun to spread. In 2014, The 5 round FIA European Rallycross Championship saw large entries in the Supercar, Touring Car, Super1600 and RX Lites catergories. This prompted a rethink for the Support Catergories that resulted in a revised calendar in 2015 that now allows drivers from the various different European Domestic series to compete on home turf and compete in Europe as well at little more cost.
This has led to 3 British drivers confirming their intention to contest the Euro Super 1600 catergory in Citroen C2's this year.
But theres also growth to be seen in the British Championship. In 2014 Julian Godfrey secured his 4th British Rallycross Championship title. However there were plenty of regular drivers chasing him for that title in Supercars, such as Steve Hill, Simon Horton, Steve Harris, Kevin Proctor and Colin Anson. Godfrey enjoyed a good early season run that helped him build up a cushion of points, but the racing remained close and fast between all of the competitors.
British Rallycross veterans Mark Flaherty and Ollie O'Donovan both returned to the series. O'Donovan piloted a Mk 2 Ford Focus from midway in the season and took three event wins. Had he contested a full season, Godfrey would have been pushed hard. Flaherty, a veteran from over 20 years ago made sporadic appearences in a LD Motorsports Citroen DS3 during a fact finding return to the series.
This has led to early confirmations of programmes for BritishRX. O'Donovan has confirmed he will run a full programme in British RX and EuroRX in a new Mk7 Ford Fiesta Supercar run by RX Racing Ltd with further appearences in other WorldRX rounds possible. Andy Scott, whose Albatec Racing team contested all WorldRX 12 rounds last year has confirmed a two car assault on BritishRX for 2015 with further plans for EuroRX & WorldRX to be announced.
Add in confirmation of renewed series Title Sponsorship from The Shannon Group, a revised calendar and a revised TV & Online package that will hopefully be confirmed and this could see BritishRX on the road to becoming a domestic series that is capable of rivalling both the BTCC and British GT Championships, the UK's two biggest domestic Championships.
But both EuroRX & WorldRX continue to grow in 2015 as well. Tommy Rustad confirmed over the winter he will race a VW-Marklund Motorsport Mk5 Polo Supercar in EuroRX. Per Eklund announced his intention to run a VW Beetle in EuroRX as well, returning an inconic name to Rallycross.
2014 French Rallycross Supercar Champion Fabien Pailler has confirmed he will contest EuroRX 2015 in a Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar, a similar machine to the Albatec Racing and Hansen-Peugeots campaigned this year in WorldRX. 2014 EuroRX Champion Robin Larsson is looking to expand to a WorldRX campaign, whilst VW driver Johan Kristoffersson and KMS Motorsport are looking to a larger Rallycross programme in 2015.
WorldRX has seen 2 brand new teams confirm their full season campaigns for 2015. WRC driver Manfred Stohl and Austrian Rallycross driver Max Pucher announced the formation of WorldRX Team Austria, running two Mk7 Ford Fiesta Supercars built by Stohl Racing. Munnich Motorsport confirmed they are running two Audi S3 Supercars with Team Owner/driver Rene Munnich driving one of the cars in a full campaign. Swedish Rallycross racer Ramona Karlsson has announced an original route to competing this year, setting up a Crowdfunding scheme to allow her to run the first ever Female Supercar Rallycross team in EuroRX
With the confirmation on New Years Eve by 2014 WorldRX Champion Petter Solberg to defend his title and the return of Mattias Ekstrom's EKSRX Team, who have signed Anton Marklund to be his team-mate, VW-Marklund signing Per-Gunnar Andersson... All this already and theres still more to come from big hitters such as Peugeot-Hansen, Ford OMSE, LD Motorsports and others as well.
Add in new venues in Barcelona, Spain and the Double-Header with the DTM at Hockenheim for this year and the chances of the show getting bigger and better are 100%!
Recently Tino Anayi, WorldRX Managing Director for IMG Motorsport confirmed the increase in Social Media alone last year was huge. The Championship witnessed huge growth via its social platforms with Facebook likes showing a percentage increase of 348% over a 12 month period. Twitter saw a 202% increase in followers, while Instagram proved to be the biggest growth platform with a 900% rise. Overall, the average reach across all social media platforms per event rose from 430,000 in 2013 to 6.7 million in 2014.
Thats huge interest on a Global scale.
In the US, the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship saw an increased entry last year with Manufacturers such as Ford, Subaru, Hyundai, Chevrolet and Volkswagen represented. Former F1 driver Nelson Piquet Junior joined SH Motorsport whilst Ford OMSE fielded Joni Wiman & Patrick Sandell. Gymkhana star Ken Block competed in his Hoonigans Division Ford Fiesta with limited appearances in EuroRX.
Andretti Autosport joined the series with support from Volkswagen. Scott Speed & Tanner Foust drove for the team, starting out in works Volkswagen Polo Supercars before switching to GRC Beetles. The Team has confirmed both drivers will return in Beetles this year. Subaru Rally Team USA have also confirmed they will be back with two cars for regulars Sverre Isachsen and Bucky Lasek and a limited programme for Travis Pastrana. The Championship itself has confirmed a larger 12 round Calendar for 2015 as well.
In a time where Motorsport fans are looking for a bigger and better spectacle than the current pinnacle of Motorsport, Formula One, Rallycross is stepping up to meet that need. The Supercars alone are machines to behold themselves: Flame Spitting Monsters, producing over 600bhp from 2 litre Turbocharged engines, using 4 Wheel Drive to slide and drift on various surfaces such as Dirt, Tarmac and gravel. These guys are sliding sideways in cars that can accelerate faster than an F1 car.
Now dont get me wrong. I love Motorsport as my regulars know. I watch F1, Touring Cars and Rallycross and I enjoy them all. To all the people I talk to who say Motorsport is boring, I recommend Rallycross as its a new, exciting sport again. It has a very large coverage base utilising the Internet and Social Media very well and in 2015, its prescence can and will only grow.
I'm looking forward to the 2015 Rallycross seasons in:
The FIA World Rallycross Championship
The FIA European Rallycross Championship
The Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship &
The MSA British Rallycross Championship
I hope you'll join me in what is looking to be a stellar year for Rallycross in general.
One final thing to add. If your reading this and you love talking about Rallycross or your a fan of all things Rallycross and you are on Facebook, type in "Rallycross Talk" into the search bar. Its a group dedicated to all things Rallycross and we chat about everything there.
Heres The link:
All the best!
Saturday, 7 February 2015
Subaru Rally Team USA have announced that drivers Sverre Isachsen and Bucky Lasek will lead the charge for the team’s rallycross efforts in 2015. Both drivers have renewed multi-year contracts with Subaru and will compete in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship and Summer X Games.
Sverre Isachsen, a former three-time European Rallycross Champion and Bucky Lasek, one of the most recognizable names in action sports have been with Subaru since 2011. Last year, the duo led Subaru to their most successful season to-date in the burgeoning series, earning a combined five podiums including an X Games Silver Medal by Lasek and victory at the Seattle, WA round for Isachsen.
Action sports icon Travis Pastrana will join the team at select rally and rallycross events in 2015. Pastrana’s schedule will be announced at a later date.
“It was an easy decision for us to keep them on the team,” explained Rob Weir, Subaru Motorsports Marketing Manager. “Bucky and Sverre put Subaru on the podium five times last season and continue to play a key role in the development of our rallycross program. Both drivers share tremendous pride for the Subaru brand and the success of Subaru Rally Team USA.”
“The team as a whole is like a family and we have worked so hard together the past few years to develop this program and we are winning now, fighting at the top,” said Bucky Lasek. “I’m so happy to continue to be a part of this family and the Subaru motorsports heritage.”
Red Bull Global Rallycross will feature a 12-race schedule, its largest ever, for the 2015 season. The series will again return to the NBC family of networks and will include LIVE coverage on NBC.
Broadcast dates and times will be announced shortly by the series.
All the Best!
The release on the TeamHARD.com website was as follows...
We are very excited to announce that we will be returning to the British Touring Car Championship this season after agreeing a deal provisionally for one Toyota Avensis.
Kieran Gallagher will be at the wheel of our first car having been with us now for the last two seasons. Kieran has been a big part of the team and has the drive and ambition to get to the very top. Having sampled BTCC at his home track of Knockhill in 2013, there was only one place he wanted to be. Provisionally a deal was in place for a Clio Cup debut, but when the opportunity came up for a full season in the BTCC, he jumped at the chance.
Kieran knows this is a big step up and will be a very steep learning curve but we believe there is more than enough potential there to be fighting for points from the very start. He has a lot of experience in various Championships including VW Cup, BTCC, Porsche Carrera Cup and Legends in just a very short racing career so far.
Kieran said “I am over the moon to be fulfilling my lifelong dream to be competing for a complete season in the BTCC. After driving the Insignia for Team Hard at Knockhill in 2013, I made it my ambition to someday race again in the series and to do it with Team Hard is awesome. As soon as Tony offered me the chance to join them for their return, I immediately said yes and literally cannot wait to get going. I know this is a big jump, but at the same time I feel I can learn very quickly and will want to get up to speed and fight as high as possible up the grid. It will be a huge learning year but I am more than up for the challenge”
We will be taking over one of the United Autosports entries for 2015 and beyond. Having confirmed our first driver, we are now looking to run a second and are in discussions with several drivers.
“This is a very exciting programme, we are going to be in this for many years. Initially we will run the Avensis but have further plans hopefully for 2016. We have seen glimpses of how quick the Toyota can be on its day and the development we have planned, we hope to see a marked improvement”
We joined the championship in 2012 in a privately run S2000 Honda Civic before taking over the Vauxhall Insignia’s, and building a very much new and improved second version culminating in a 2nd place overall in the last race of 2013 at Brands Hatch. We also built the first two VW Passat CCs introduced to the Championship 2013 securing a brace of podiums in only its 3rd race weekend at Thruxton.
“This is a totally new approach from us,” said Gilham. “We have gone back to being a family-run team and there are no outside influences this time. We are building this for the future.”
The team confirmed at the end of December that they intend to build and race at least one NGTC Volvo S60 in the 2016 BTCC season, returning the famous Swedish brand back to the UK's top domestic motorsport championship.
All the best!
Several FIA WTCC teams were confirmed to be taking part in this years inaugural TCR International Series by series boss Marcello Lotti in a recent interview on the Italian Omnicorse.it website
Lotti confirmed that Zengo Motorsport, Proteam Racing and Campos Racing will be entering cars for the Championships first season. He also confirmed which cars/models will take part as well.
Seven teams in total have been confirmed so far, each of which should field three cars. Target and Zengo will use SEAT Leons, Onyx and Proteam Racing will be using Ford Focus STs. WestCoast Racing has already confirmed it will use Honda Civics built by JAS Motorsport.
Campos Racing has revealed it will use Opel Astra's and Lotti confirmed that the Astra will be used in its VLN Configuration, before the new model due to be released next year is eligible. Engstler Motorsport are due to start with SEAT Leons before making the switch to the Volkswagen Golf later in the year.
It is expected that there will be a 20 car gelrid for the Malaysian opening round with the full 24 cars expected to compete after May. Team Target Competition have already released images this week of their three TCR SEAT Leon Racers through Social Media.
TCR has appointed SEL Sport & Events Logistics as the official carrier for the 2015 TCR International Series.
A company owned by the renowned haulage contractors Gruppo Arcese, SEL Sport & Events Logistics will be in charge for all logistics and transportations during the series’ maiden season.
SEL has built itself an excellent reputation as Official Carrier and Transportation Supplier of a number of important motorsport series such as MotoGP, Superbike World Championship and World Rally Championship. The combination of its logistics and transportation activities enables SEL to provide a service based on the experience of more than twenty years in support of different sports.
Pier Carlo Bottero, CEO of SEL said “This agreement represents a demanding challenge that we face with the same professionalism and enthusiasm we devote to any new project we are involved in. This new opportunity will enable SEL to further implement its top level service that is especially dedicated to the world of sports.”
Marcello Lotti, TCR Series boss explained “We are very pleased and proud with sealing this deal with SEL Sport & Events Logistics as Official Carrier of the TCR International Series. Arcese it’s a leading group in worldwide transportation and logistics. It’s another premier brand that has chosen to be linked to this new series for Touring Car racing.”
SEL has also been appointed as the Official Carrier of the TCR Asia and GT Asia by series’ promoter David Sonenscher.
Finally, on Monday, Promoters of a number of different Touring Car series that plan to adopt the TCR technical regulations had a meeting in Barcelona for a two-day Working Group with the aim of establishing a common strategy.
The meeting was chaired by Marcello Lotti, CEO of WSC Ltd (the promoter company of the TCR International Series), assisted by David Sonenscher, promoter of the TCR Asia Series.
Twelve countries were represented by championship promoters and members of National Sporting Authorities: BeNeLux, China, The Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, USA and Venezuela; one of the first items approved was the plan to create from 2016 a TCR Central America Series that should visit Colombia, Costa Rica, The Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, USA and Venezuela.
The participants unanimously expressed their will to cooperate with the aim of establishing the TCR category on a global scale, adopting one corporate identity and a single set of technical regulations.
This should arouse interest from the car makers’ national dealers or importers and will create an international market among teams for buying and selling cars and parts. On the sporting side, each national series will be free to choose its own format, tailored on the local tradition and the drivers’ needs.
Marcello Lotti commented: “I am very pleased to see that the concept we launched a few months ago is already meeting with such a large and enthusiastic consensus. After the meetings we had in Barcelona I am even more convinced that a bright future is expected for TCR.”
The first ever TCR International Series event is due to take place in Malaysia as part of the support bill for that weekends Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix that takes place on 27-29 March.
All the best!
The young Swedish Rallycross star will join Team Principal and driver Ekstrom in one of the teams Audi S1 RX Quattro's that proved to be so competitive during the 2014 season. Marklund will also take part in the new Audi TT-Cup, a six round one make series supporting the DTM this year. Ekstrom himself has confirmed he will race for Audi in the DTM this year as well as contesting non-clashing WorldRX events.
The Audi S1 RX Quattro proved to be fast out of the box last year with Ekstrom winning his home SwedenRX event and finishing second to Petter Solberg by 5000th's of a second at the memorable GermanyRX event.
“This is an amazing opportunity that Mattias and EKS are giving to me, both to score top results in 2015 and to develop on all levels for my future career,” explained Marklund who went on to finish sixth in last year’s World RX driver standings. “Mattias has been a friend of mine since 2013, when we competed together in X Games Munich. He has helped me a lot already in my career and I’m really glad that I now will join the EKS family.”
Marklund has so far competed in WorldRX for his family run team. He won the European Rallycross title in the Touring Car catergory in 2012, before the team moved up to a single entry Volkswagen Polo WRX Supercar in the 2013 FIA European Rallycross Championship and in last years World Championship, he was joined at Marklund Motorsport by Toomas 'Topi' Heikkinen. Marklund scored a podium finish in the first ever CanadaRX event.
Norwegian Rallycross and Touring car legend Tommy Rustad confirmed last year that he will be contesting the 2015 FIA European Rallycross Championship in a Marklund Motorsport built VW Polo Supercar. Marklund Motorsport have also confirmed that they will reveal their 2015 driver lineup in the coming weeks.
The 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy kicks off in Portugal at the Montelagre Circuit on 24th - 26th of April.
All the best!
The Swedish Rallycross legend explained that due to the FIA opening up the Supercar Homologation rules this year, this has opened up the oppurtunity to take the Beetle Supercar racing in the World Championship. The team has been testing and developing the Supercar for the past twelve months.
“We’ve been working on this project for a long time, so I’m pleased that now we can make plans to use the Beetle,” said team owner Per Eklund. “We have one car running now but there are some changes to make before we can race.“
However the exact plans for how many events the Beetle will contest in either the World Rallycross Championship or the European Rallycross Championship also depends on drivers that can bring a capable budget for the season.
"There has already been a lot of interest in the Beetle and I’ve spoken to several drivers who would like to race it, but so far nothing has been agreed and I’d really like to find to a driver who has the budget for a full World Championship season in the car,” continued Eklund. “If we can’t get a full World Championship then we will focus on European events. I think the car can be a winner.”
The chance to take the car into regular Rallycross action has been made possible due to the FIA adding the Volkswagen Beetle to the list of cars eligible for Rallycross competition this year.
The FIA has also opened up the engine regulations this year to allow a larger range of Supercars to be run and to ensure that two litre engines can continue to be used even if a manufacturer does not produce a suitable a two litre base engine. This means the Eklund Motorsport VW Beetle will be the first Rallycross Supercar to take advantage of the Custom Engine Regulations.
The VW Beetle Supercar in another guise has already seen action in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship in 2014. The Andretti Autosport Rallycross team introduced the car for its drivers Tanner Foust and Scott Speed in September last year at the Los Angeles round of the series. However the Supers in Red Bull GRC run to a different specification used in FIA WorldRX.
"We are delighted to announce the 2015 schedule and first standalone broadcast slate for the GRC Lites class,” said Red Bull GRC CEO Colin Dyne. “GRC Lites is an important feeder series for Red Bull Global Rallycross, and the source of our future champions for years to come. We are incredibly grateful to our fantastic partners at NBC Sports Group for helping us ensure that the future stars of our sport make it to television, and we know that our fans will be excited to watch the most talented young drivers in the world.”
The full 2015 GRC Lites points championship schedule is featured below. Telecast dates and times will be announced at a later date.
May 31: Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL
June 21: Daytona, FL
July 5: United States Military Base
July 25: Detroit, MI (I)
July 26: Detroit, MI (II)
August 15: Washington, DC
August 30: Seattle, WA
September 12: Los Angeles, CA (I)
September 13: Los Angeles, CA (II)
October 3: Barbados (I)
October 4: Barbados (II)
November 5: Las Vegas, NV
With a 12-race schedule, its longest ever, the third season of GRC Lites competition will be the most intense in series history. The nine-city tour includes three doubleheader events, as well as the class’ first trip outside of the United States with an October visit to Barbados.
Introduced in 2013, GRC Lites is the official feeder series of Red Bull Global Rallycross. GRC Lites races feature 310 bhp, all-wheel drive spec vehicles built to emphasize driver skill over mechanical advantage.
These cars are also the same as the RX Lites catergory that supports the FIA World Rallycross The RX Lites Cars are identical, meaning that the formula encourages driver ability and the talent to find the best setup in order to succeed in cars that have 310bhp, are all-wheel-drive like a Supercar and are rear-engined machinery, which is designed to make sure costs are kept to a minimum. This allows the racing to remain close and exciting between the drivers as they compete on a level play field for the championship win.
Competing on the same courses as Red Bull GRC Supercars, the class is designed to provide future stars with the ideal rallycross training ground. Defending Supercar champion Joni Wiman won the inaugural GRC Lites title in 2013, while Mitchell DeJong won last year’s Lites championship.
As yet there has been no confirmation of when this series will be shown Internationally, but this is expected to be on Motors TV.
All the best!
Read on and Enjoy!
On the Yokohama stand was another of the cars I wanted to see on my ticklist. During the show, British Rallycross Driver Ollie O'Donovan confirmed that he would be competing in the 2015 British Rallycross Championship and at least six rounds of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in his new RX Racing Ltd Mk7 Ford Fiesta Supercar with title sponsorship from Tyre Manufacturer Yokohama. Ollie was rapid in his return to British Rallycross in the second half of 2014, taking his Mk2 Ford Focus Supercar to three event wins, so I'm expecting him to be fast out of the box again.
Sticking with the Rallycross theme, our visit to ASI2015 could not go without stopping by the M-Sport Stand, where on display they had the 100th Ford Fiesta Rally Car they have built, alongside which was the famous Hoonigans Racing Division Ford Fiesta Supercar of Ken Block, who contested several rounds of last years WorldRX series, resulting in a podium in Norway.
All of this had me absolutely glowing with happiness as Nik and I walked around looking and taking in all the sights and sounds of the show. One stall I wanted to see was the Brabham Stand, where this year David Brabham is taking the team into Sportscar racing in the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship with an entry in the LMP2 class. I'd like to thank Sam Williams who happily explained the whole project to Nik and I on how it worked and what the public received back depending on how they subscribed to the Online programme that the funds raised so far by the fans and public.
For me, seeing the Brabham name in Motorsport again is something I've long hoped for. Before my following of Williams in Formula One, when I began watching the sport it was Brabham I was happiest seeing on the TV and I'll happily be keeping an eye on them this years FIA WEC.
I also took the oppurtunity to speak with several different BTCC drivers during the show, conducting my first ever interviews for the blog and I'd like to say thank you to Simon Belcher, Tony Gilham, Aiden Moffat and Richard Hawken for allowing me the time to interview them. I'll be posting their comments and thoughts on the season ahead in Part 3...
There was one other box to tick during our visit to the show, however it remained empty once we made our way home. My son Aaron is a big Drift fan and it turns out that former Boyzone member Shane Lynch had launched his new Maxxis Tyres sponsored Nissan 370Z. But could we find this bearded wonder? Nope. Hunted high and low for him too. Couldn't sniff him out at all.
One of my favourite moments of the day came just before lunch. We were headed back towards the Dunlop Stand when I spotted Rob Austin having a few photos taken with some fans. As he went to walk past, Nik collared him for a quick couple of words. She apologised for stopping him on the way to the loo, however Rob said he was off for a sneaky fag. But he did impart to Nik that Sherman would have a new look body shape and a new livery that would be revealed at Media Day...
I'm the blogger... She gets the exclusives!!!
I can happily say we both enjoyed Saturday at the show and its definitely something we want to go to again in 2016. It was amazing to be walking around and seeing so many different motorsport disciplines represented in one show, before the start of their various 2015 seasons and we have the knowledge that we saw them first.
One other moment that made my day at #ASI15 was catching up with my fellow Social Media TinTop family. Normally this takes place at BTCC Media Day, but this year saw an earlier chance. I managed to catchup with Baz Taylor and Daz Vallis, admins on the BTCC Fans Group and also with fellow blogger Alan Faulkner and I have to say it was great to chat to these guys and its up the excitement of BTCC Media Day even more. It was also great to catchup with Gemma Newman, who will be GridGirl for Speedworks Motorsport as well as catching up with Tony & Samantha Gilham and also with Gary Allen, who is Team Manager at Laser Tools Racing for a second consecutive season.
Finally I want to say Thank You to all the people at ASI for picking me as an Official Blogger and giving me this fantastic oppurtunity to attend the show. It been an amazing experience!