Today we saw the long awaited launch of the 2015 Global Rallycross Championship Calendar. The 12 event season on 9 venues lasts from May to November, and there are more points to battle for than ever. But how will this compare to the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship season, as well as the X-Games?
Since the start of the GRC, the rallycross in the X-Games has been included as GRC rounds. Now they've split up, making it a separate event. This is probably due to TV rights, but I think it could be better for GRC to establish themselves as a racing series rather than some kind of extreme sport. The last season were slighly less about the show and more racing, and I hope they continue in that direction.
I know that several drivers in the GRC are interested in doing a few races in the WorldRX as well. Tanner Foust has won races in both the European Rallycross Championship and the WorldRX, and enjoys racing here. Ken Block also entered his two first rounds last year, making it to the final in both. And I have to mention Sverre Isachsen, who's triple European Champion and did the Canadian WorldRX round last year. I haven't heard of any WorldRX drivers that are interested in a GRC round, but we might see them in X-Games. The focus will therefore be on the appearance of GRC-drivers in the WorldRX, and not the opposite
Because of this, it's interesting to see how many races that clash, or are very close to each other in the two series. From what I can see, only three events will clash:
- WorldRX of Germany will clash with the GRC round at Daytona, FL
- WorldRX of Sweden will clash with the GRC round at the US Military Base
- WorldRX of Turkey will clash with the GRC double header round in Barbados
The WorldRX round at Lydden Hill, GB is the weekend before the GRC season opener, and the WorldRX at Loheac, France is right between two GRC rounds. Also, the week before those two rounds the WorldRX are in Norway. So unless the GRC drivers can find a customer seat it's unlikely that they enter any of those rounds. And it's a shame, because Germany, Sweden, Lydden and Loheac ranks among the best rallycross tracks in the world. Those rounds will have a massive entry anyways, but I'd love to see the GRC guys live as well.
But what about the other WorldRX rounds? Are they attractive enough for the GRC guys to come all the way from the US to compete? Portugal is one month ahead of the GRC opener, and could serve as a preseason test round. The track is rather tricky, and we always see some action here. Belgium is two weeks ahead of the season opener, and could be early enough for the GRC guys. The problem here is that the round in Belgium isn't one of the classic rounds, and the track was built last year. It's not the most attractive round to attend.
A round that is very attractive for GRC drivers is the one in Canada. The Subaru team is based in Vermont, not that far away. Joni Wiman also raced here with OlsbergsMSE last year, and Tanner Foust joined Marklund Motorsport. There's a GRC round in Washington, DC the weekend after, but it should be possible to do both events.
With a busy period for both of the championships afterwards, it's not likely that any GRC drivers will enter in WorldRX before Italy and Argentina. Those rounds are quite far from each other in time, and the season final in GRC is right between the two.
So to sum up, I think it's most likely that we'll see the likes of Tanner Foust and Ken Block in Portugal, Canada, Italy and Argentina. Four rounds, which is more than last year. I still hope they can manage to do more, but we'll see.