Tag Archives: ken block

Global Rally X – Las Vegas

25 Sep

As visitors to my blog know, I am a big fan of the sport of Rally Cross and the American series, Global Rally Cross (www.Global-RallyCross.com). Having attended the first GRC event in 2011 held at Irwindale Speedway, I was impressed with the potential of the series, and what I hoped/thought it could become.

I haven’t been able to attend any of the 2012 events so far, but I have made sure to watch all of the races on ESPN.

One of the things I’ve been a bit disappointed with is the general design of the courses used for the events held at NASCAR super-speedways. I realize that through GRC’s relationship with Speedway Motorsports, and the goal of showcasing the action in front of the largest crowd possible, the course designs are going to be somewhat limited using the existing oval asphalt and pit-lane in front of the main grandstands.

The biggest issue I have with the course designs is that they favor the driver who gets the hole-shot at the start of the race. With next to no opportunity to perform an overtake any where else on the course (too narrow, no high speed or double-apex corners, lack of gravel).. if you are the first car to the first turn, barring any mechanical issue or serious driving mistake, you will win the heat/race.

As a passionate motorsport fan, I’d love to see the courses offer the opportunity for talented drivers to attempt overtakes at several locations. I believe this would make the racing more exciting and unpredictable and help to draw more fans to this sport.

Take a look at the graphic of the LVMS course layout below:

 

I have to assume the course will be run counter-clockwise, as I can find no markup that says otherwise.  I am happy to see dirt/gravel for Turn 1, but I am hoping the “shortcut” section is also of dirt, and not asphalt. If it is, that would make this course the one with the highest percentage of dirt of all the courses so far in 2012. Ideally, I’d like to see GRC courses have 50% dirt/gravel. This forces the teams to set the cars up differently, creates additional challenges for the drivers and opens the door to more passing and lead-changes… all good things for rally cross.

What are your thoughts on the LVMS course, and of the 2012 GRC season so far?

Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it to this weekend’s event, but I will be watching on TV! be sure to tune in as well. Motorsports like this need as many viewers, both in person and on TV/Internet as possible!

Global Rally Cross @ XGames

2 Jul

I always look forward to the Rally Cross segment of the annual X Games carnival. Especially the last two years as the format and organization of the Rally Cross racing has improved dramatically. I love the downtown setting of the racing, and truly wish that more of the GRC events could be held in such locations.

I was hoping that this year’s X Games stop would be more of a departure from the first two GRC events of the year (lacking dirt, too-tight of a race course, wanting of racing excitement, etc.)  Sure, there were dirt sections, a small dirt bump as well. I think it would have been great to see 50% of the total length of the course be dirt/gravel. The loose, low-traction surface would have provided some VERY interesting racing action.

I was bummed to see they turned the gap jump into a table-top jump, but I completely understand GRC management chose to do it. As a race event organizer for the better part of a decade, I’ve been in similar situations where the absolute priority of driver safety took precedent over “excitement” or cool factor.

I was stoked to see Sebastian Loeb racing in the event, my wife and I have been HUGE fans of his for many years. I think the fact that GRC was able to lure the 8-time WRC Champion to this event speaks volumes for the series and the fledgling sport here in the United States. It should be quite interesting to see how ESPN and GRC are successful or not as they both go global with their brands and events in 2013. I wonder how many of the U.S. based GRC teams have the budgets to attend all or most of the global X Games/GRC rounds…..?

I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the GRC management will be able to address my biggest criticisms so far this year over the remaining 2012 events (lack of gravel sections, courses too tight, lack of passing, first guy to turn 1 at the start of the race wins the race, etc.). But who am I and what does my opinion matter….?   😉