We’re days away from the first Red Bull Global Rallycross event for 2015 and couldn’t be more excited! Instead of the usual race preview we’ve got something really special for you, My Life at Speeders. Greg Tracy and I recently chatted with the series’ Chairman and CEO, Colin Dyne. Not only is he a successful businessman but Mr. Dyne has a genuine love of motorsports. He was the CEO of William Rast which was in a partnership with Bryan Herta Autosport when Dan Wheldon won the 2011 Indy 500. The GRC has grown leaps and bounds over the past couple years, so we leapt at the opportunity to get the lowdown from the man-in-charge. Thanks for taking the time, Mr. Dyne!
MLAS (GT): Where do you want the GRC to be in 2, 5, and 10 years?
CD: We want to be the biggest rallycross series in the world—we think we’ve already done that. But we want to see this sport break into the mainstream. We want to grow the schedule, grow our team base, and expand our international presence. We want to see more drivers, more teams. We want to continue to build our relationship with Red Bull.
MLAS (MH): Have the Lites and Supercar equipment packages changed since last year and what are the most important elements in their configuration?
Colin Dyne: There have been a handful of changes from last year to this year. For example, we are very proactive on safety, so we’ve added numerous elements to the cars to help protect drivers in case of accidents. We have a center windscreen bar to decrease the size of the surface area for any windshield impacts, we have a right side driver’s net that helps support the seat and keep a driver in place, and we have impact absorbing material that we’ve put in the driver’s side doors, similar to what you might see in stock car racing.
MLAS (MH): The GRC competitors have very diverse backgrounds (F1, NASCAR, WRC, etc). Is that something that happened organically?
CD: Yes. We’ve built a product that has proven to be very attractive to drivers looking to take on the next challenge in their career. And plenty of drivers and teams out there have expressed interest in giving this a shot someday, because they’re racers, and we’re still a racing series, just one that has a well-developed show element and the “cool factor” with a demographic that everybody wants to reach.
MLAS (GT): One of the things I love about GRC is that it has given the opportunity to quite a few guys to move into a completely different sport, i.e. Bucky, Deegan. Has the X-Games generation redefined the ladder system of motorsports to be more about a drivers fan base than background?
CD: It’s complementary, it hasn’t changed the system entirely. A majority of our competitors, in fact, would have never competed at events like X Games had they not shifted from other racing disciplines into rallycross. Look at Chip Ganassi’s team: yes they have Brian Deegan, but they’re also running Steve Arpin, whose background is racing dirt modifieds and late models.
MLAS (GT): There has been such an influx of foreign drivers and sponsors, how will GRC address getting young American up-and-comers behind the wheel?
CD: We think that we’ve already been very proactive on that front with the GRC Lites class. We have multiple young and talented American drivers in the pipeline—names like Austin Cindric, Geoff Sykes, Tanner Whitten, Alex Keyes, and Collete Davis, who will all be running for that championship this year. GRC Lites has its own set of broadcasts this year on NBCSN, which helps these drivers get the exposure that their sponsors need to demonstrate ROI.
MLAS (MH): Would the series consider hybrid or even fully electric race cars?
CD: We would be happy to look at hybrid technology if the technology and the opportunity presented itself.
MLAS (MH): Do teams have any input regarding rule changes and new features like the new knockout qualifying format?
CD: Of course we listen to our teams for feedback on rules procedures and changes. We have a manufacturer’s council where we’ve brought up many of our ideas for 2015, and we had a lot of positive and productive meetings regarding changes for this year—particularly on the safety front.
MLAS (MH): Might we be seeing well-known compact car manufacturers like Honda and Toyota throwing hats into the GRC ring soon?
CD: We hope to see a lot of manufacturers take a hard look at what we have to offer. We’ve got a terrific television package and social media presence, but we’ve also got a redesigned manufacturer’s championship system for this season that makes the title race closer. In fact, if we had been using this system last year, each of the top four spots would have come down to the finale in Las Vegas. That’s something that a lot of racing series can’t boast.
MLAS (MH): Why was the Seattle fixture removed from the schedule?
CD: At this time, the Seattle event is not financially viable for us.
MLAS (MH): On a more personal note, you’re a lifelong motorsports fan and that passion has been passed onto your son Austin. Is it hard to separate yourself as Colin – the Dad, from Colin – the GRC boss?
CD: I have two jobs—one is Red Bull GRC’s CEO and one is being Austin’s father, and I deal with those two jobs separately.
MLAS (GT): If one of our readers wants to become the next Millen, Block, or Foust where should they be looking to get their start?
CD: By coming to our events and talking to Millen, Block, and Foust! In all seriousness, there are numerous racing schools across the United States that will give drivers an opportunity to learn the basic skills they need to get started. From there, it’s finding somewhere to race, working on your personality, and making the most of your opportunities.
A Final Word
It’s not too late to see the Red Bull GRC take over the streets in front of the Bahia Mar Resort & Marina in Fort Lauderdale on May 30-31, 2015. Tickets are still available online! The next best thing is tuning in to NBC on Sunday at 3:00pm EST for the Supercar finals and then NBC Sports Network to see the GRC Lites in action on Wednesday June 3, 2015.
As always, you can connect with Red Bull Global Rallycross online via the following links and some very cool contest:
Official Website: http://www.redbullglobalrallycross.com/