Rallicross got is start in the UK as a way to bring the best elements of stage rally to the masses without the need to trek into the countryside to catch the action. In the US it was a niche of a niche until 2009 when a rallicross was added to the X-games. Out of that grew the US-based Red Bull Global Rallicross series. The series made a stop to the spiritual home of stage rally in the US, the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle round of the GRC was held at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA just outside of Seattle. Some guy in a turbocharged, 4WD, 600hp “Beetle” won it.
Thanks Red Bull Global Rallicross
Stage rallies have been run in the Pacific Northwest since the late 60’s and have included events such as the Olympus, Nor’wester, Tour de Forest rallies. The Olympus was part of the World Rally Championship in 1986, 1987 and 1988 and was the last WRC rally event for the Group B rally cars. I’ve been a fan of stage rally since spectating at my first event in the early 80’s, but I never managed to make it to a GRC event when it was in town. This year I used my connections with DT to get a media pass and attend a rainy event at the Speedway.
In addition to the VW team, Honda is fielding a “Civic”, again sign me up for a 600hp, AWD Civic with a sequential ‘box.
Subaru has been a participant in the GRC since the beginning, but hasn’t had much success. For the Seattle round, they replaced both of their regular drivers with 7 time US stage rally champ David Higgins and former WRC driver Chris Atkinson. Unfortunately, Subaru was still behind the VW’s and Hondas.
Former American F1 driver Scott Speed is the second pilot in the VW team. His car was sporting local sausage maker Oberto livery for the event. Scott had some bad luck and bad traffic and lost his lead to Tanner Foust in the Championship this event.
The series is really fan friendly, Tanner Foust shook hands, signed autographs, gave away swag and posed for selfies with the fans. When I was in the grandstands, a couple drivers came up into the stands for selfies with fans.
In addition to the heavy metal Supercars, the series also has a Supercar Lights division for up and coming drivers. The car is a tube frame, spec car, powered by a 2.0L Ford making 300hp with AWD.
Here’s some crappy iPhone video I shot from the stands. All in all it was a fun event, easier than driving a couple of hours to the middle of nowhere to stand in the woods to watch a car speed by for a couple of seconds. Although, without that, it did lack a certain feeling of adventure. If your city is hosting a GRC event, I’d recommend checking it out.
Gianni is Daily Turismo’s Pacific Northwest correspondent and crusty old rally fan. You can see some of the rally pictures he’s taken over the years at Vintage Northwest Motorsport.