To celebrate the newly formed collaboration between Volkswagen and Warren Miller Entertainment, the two iconic brands teamed up to give their respective athletes a taste of each other’s sports at the recent Red Bull Global Rallycross race in Seattle. Warren Miller snowmobile rider Keith Curtis visited the GRC doubleheader to take in the rallycross action, and rode alongside Tanner Foust in his 600-horsepower Beetle GRC.
Snowmobile hillclimb is a timed form of racing, in which riders tackle a set course up a mountain one at a time. Whoever sets the fastest time up the hill at the end of the day is declared winner. Curtis is an accomplished snowmobile hillclimb racer with over 191 wins, 77 King titles and 39 championships under his belt, but his ride with Foust at GRC Seattle was his first experience in a racecar at speed.
“I didn’t actually think I would get as nervous,” said Curtis. “My facial expressions in the video say different. It was definitely a little more nerve-wracking than I expected.”
Although Curtis had never been to a GRC race before, he seemed immediately comfortable in the familiar setting of an event paddock.
“It’s all racing,” said Curtis. “I sense everyone’s tension and everyone’s competitiveness. I sense their willingness to want to win. I’m able to watch everyone on the racetrack and see where they make up time and where they lose it. It’s a similar feeling to my events.”
Curtis is making his second appearance in this year’s “Warren Miller’s Line of Descent, presented by Volkswagen” film, and was one of the inaugural snowmobilers to be featured in 2016. With the help of snowmobiles, skiers and snowborders are able to reach mountain areas that are inaccessible via normal ski lifts. In this way, Warren Miller has been able to film in pristine locations, untouched by other adventurers.
Starting in 2017, and for the next two years, Volkswagen will serve as the presenting sponsor of the Warren Miller Films U.S. film tour. With its renowned available 4Motion® AWD system and line of new and bigger SUV models, Volkswagen is the perfect fit for Warren Miller—an institution that shows athletes living a life of adventure to the fullest.
Foust found a similar connection between his sports activities and Curtis’s.
“I grew up skiing in Colorado and watching Warren Miller films. In college, we used to go to the annual Warren Miller film premiere where Warren would talk about his travels and his most recent film,” said Foust.
“Even though Keith doesn’t have a lot of experience racing cars, it’s clear that a lot of the skill set from snowmobile hill climb transfers over into rallycross. In both sports, it’s all about finding grip and mastering changing conditions. That’s what the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team works on each weekend and it sounds like that’s what Keith is fighting for during his events.”
After his ride, Curtis filmed a short promotional video with Foust and got to watch Friday’s practice sessions and first round of Heat races. He left Seattle impressed in the many abilities of the Beetle GRC machine and ready to return the favor to Foust with a trip to the snowy mountains of Montana.
“Tanner is a goofball and I love his enthusiasm for life in general,” said Curtis. “I would ultimately like to get Tanner out to ride a Polaris snowmobile or Timbersled snowbike. I could teach him how to ride and get him into some pristine country and show him a great time.”
With VW’s continuing collaboration with Warren Miller, you might see Foust on a snowmobile sooner than you think.