Race Ready

A look behind the scenes of the wow-worthy logistics of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship with the Volkswagen team.

Intense levels of competition at the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) continue to fuel enthusiasm for both casual and hardcore motorsports fans. Red Bull GRC takes the sense of urgency, speed and high pressure of auto racing to new levels. And unlike other events, Red Bull GRC is a traveling show, moving from location to location to create on-the-spot build-outs of racing venues.

The series’ logistics are particularly unique. When Red Bull GRC moves, it’s not just the paddock that goes with it, but dozens of generators, portable restrooms, race control towers, curbing and over six million pounds of concrete and fencing, according to Chip Pankow, founder and COO of the race series.

Red Bull GRC deals with the challenges of putting together race circuits, setting them up, and tearing them down on the fly. The result is a series that keeps teams, drivers and fans on their toes at all times. “Most racing series travel from established racing circuit to established racing circuit,” says Pankow. “The difference with Red Bull Global Rallycross is that we typically build the circuit — that usually includes most of the infrastructure, including, in many cases, electricity, water and Wi-Fi.”

 

So how does a team prepare a Red Bull Global Rallycross car? “Pre-season testing is very important in as many different scenarios and conditions as possible,” says John “TZ” Tzouanakis, who manages the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team. Red Bull GRC courses are built to include common features — passing zones, faster and slower turns, jumps — so while a course may be brand new to the team, there are aspects they can prepare for. Race events themselves involve a series of qualifying races before a main event, with track marshals resetting the circuit after each heat and clearing debris from contact sustained by drivers with either the course wall or each other.

The unpredictability of Red Bull GRC attracts fans as well as competitors like Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross driver Tanner Foust. “The track can either be short and tight with limited passing or long and technical with opportunities to advance,” Foust says. “Fractions of a second in reaction time can determine the winner.”

Fan access is a draw for Red Bull GRC, too. “They have a front row view of our pits, access to the drivers that is unparalleled in most other series, and attractive locations that only this series could bring,” says Foust.

With great fans, interesting settings and fast-paced action — tracks under a half mile and racing rain or shine — smarts, endurance and ability win out over horsepower here. “It can be a mad scramble,” says Tzouanakis, but the confidence and pride are clear as he calls his Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross crew “some of the best in the business, and our winning record reflects that.”

 

Meet the Drivers

Tanner Foust

Foust is a highly decorated driver specializing in the rally, rallycross and drift disciplines. In his impressive resume you’ll find two U.S. rallycross championships (2011, 2012), four X Games Gold Medals, two Formula Drift championships (2007, 2008), three appearances in the Race of Champions and the distinction of being the only American to win a round in both the European Rallycross Championship and the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Foust is also a world record setter, famous for successfully navigating the world’s largest “loop-the-loop.”

 

Scott Speed

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A veteran of many different forms of motorsport, Speed has quickly found a home in Red Bull Global Rallycross. He won his first ever Red Bull GRC race and is the owner of three X Games Gold Medals. Speed is won his second consecutive championship with Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross in 2016, joining teammate Tanner Foust as the series’ second winner of multiple championships.