With the 2012 Global Rallycross Championship underway, there has been some talk as to whether or not the series is REAL rallycross. Sure the series has cars that are very similar to the ones seen the ERC, and some of the best drivers in the world, but is the GRC just mimicking what is seen in Europe? Yes and no. The fact is, to make Global Rallycross into something that is accepted and known in the U.S, the events must be seen. Not only seen, but seen at venues where people are already in the area for another event, or are motor sports fans in general. This is exactly what the people behind the GRC are trying to do this year, and judging from the first event, it looks to be a success.
By putting on the events in conjunction with NASCAR and Indy races, the series will introduce drivers and vehicles to fans who may have never even heard of rallycross. These fans already like motor sports, but something different and exciting such as rallycross should draw them in. It makes sense that some people think the GRC isn’t real rallycross though. The course in Charlotte consisted of a small jump, some water filled barriers, and a water soaked turn that proved to be treacherous for a few competitors. The main reason for the handicapped course was that NASCAR officials didn’t want dirt all over their track. I applaud the GRC for trying to make a good course out of what little resources they had, but I believe they can do better.
Regardless of the strange course, there was plenty of action, and great racing. The Ford team seemed to have picked up where they left off last year, and Marcus Grönholm didn’t skip a beat. Ford having a two-time World Rally Champion under their wings definitely helps, but I believe their cars simply are better than everyone else’s at this point. While most of the other teams started developing their cars last year, Ford has been racing the Fiesta for the past 5 years in the ERC. Hopefully with a little more development and testing, some of the other teams will close the gap. Rhys Millen Racing seems to have made great strides in their Veloster Rallycross program, and Subaru acquiring Sverre Isachsen should help as well.
We will have to wait and see what happens in Texas, but judging from yesterday in Charlotte, it is going to be a wild ride.