The little cars accelerate off the line faster than those in Formula One.The drivers aren’t afraid to bump and run — they lean on each other hard and often during the frenetic action.The Red Bull Global Rallycross series is not your father’s racing.
Well, Dad might like it, but the sport is aimed at 18- to 34-year-olds, said RBGR cofounder and chief operating officer Chip Pankow.
“It has a younger demographic than other forms of motor sports,” Pankow told the Free Press last week. “It’s fast-paced. Things happen quickly in Global Rallycross.”
RBGR will showcase its wares on Belle Isle on Saturday and Sunday in a doubleheader.
What can you expect?
It’s colorful — from the drivers’ suits and helmets to the paint schemes on the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Beetle and Subaru rocket ships that make up the bulk of the grid.
The racing format is intense — most races are over in less than 10 minutes.
Most of the dicing is on the tarmac: The course is about three-quarters of a mile long at Belle Isle and includes a trip around the Scott Fountain.
But there will be dirt and jumps, too.
Something like the World Rallycross Championship meets AMA Motocross.
The cars are turbocharged, produce 600 horsepower and can go from 0 to 60 m.p.h. in less than 2 seconds.
They also handle 70-foot jumps.
“The drivers and the cars fit the Red Bull brand perfectly,” Pankow said. “They are incredibly exciting.”
Who are the drivers?
Ken Block heads a field of racers with experience in F1, rally, short-track and motocross, among other forms of auto sports.
Block, the DC Shoes founder, is the face of the series, a rally champ with business genius and fearsome driving skills.
He is backed up by Tanner Foust, a stunt driver, X Games medalist and Top Gear host, who can do just about anything on four wheels.
Then there are ex-Formula One drivers Scott Speed and Nelson Piquet Jr.
After leaving F1, both tried NASCAR — Speed running in the Sprint Cup and Piquet in the Camping World Trucks and the Xfinity Series.
They have found a new home in Red Bull Global Rally.
“I think the platform works well. It’s a pretty democratic list of drivers,” Pankow said of the grid. “The guys are intense, just great competitors.”