GRC Lites Race Preview: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
IN BRIEF: The long-awaited GRC Lites class makes its debut at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, kicking off a six-race schedule.
TUNE IN INFORMATION:
- Thursday, July 11, 5:30 PM ET on ESPN 3
- Saturday, July 13, 7:30 PM ET on ESPN
ENTRY LIST: Click here for the full entry list.
THE TRACK: New Hampshire features a 60-40 split of pavement and dirt, as well as a set of new and unique challenges. Unlike most Global Rallycross tracks, the joker lap at NHMS actually features a longcut, while an elevated hairpin serves as the last of eight turns on the layout.
THE CONCEPT: GRC Lites are designed to be the natural step before stepping into a Global Rallycross Supercar: they handle similarly to the series’ premier class, but feature about half the horsepower and are not turbocharged. The cars are identically built by OlsbergsMSE in conjunction with Avitas Motorsport, in order to emphasize driver skill over mechanical advantage.
THE DRIVERS: GRC Lites drivers have been making a name for themselves throughout the world of motorsport. The class will feature nine drivers at New Hampshire, with experience in every discipline of racing from stock cars to sports cars to off-road:
- Halid Avdagic, a Turkish stage rally veteran;
- Harry Cheung, the sixth place finisher in last year’s Ferrari World Challenge;
- Mitchell deJong, the defending TORC Pro Buggy Champion and Rookie of the Year;
- Austin Dyne, last year’s K&N Series West Rookie of the Year;
- Kevin Eriksson, currently fifth in the European Super1600 standings;
- Sebastian Eriksson, currently fifth in the Swedish Klass 1 standings;
- Geoffrey Sykes, last year’s National BMW Club Racing runner-up;
- Alexander Westlund, a veteran of the Swedish folkrace circuit;
- and Joni Wiman, the 2010 Formula Renault 2.0 UK Winter Series runner-up and protégé of Global Rallycross veteran Marcus Gronholm.
QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Thursday’s GRC Lites event:
Andreas Eriksson, Team Principal, OlsbergsMSE: “I’m really looking forward. I tested the cars a lot, but I’ve never seen them run against each other with these different drivers. I know they work fine, but we’ll see how it goes when they race each other. I’m pretty confident that they will like it.”
Mitchell deJong, Driver, #24 GRC Lites: “I’m really looking forward to going out and mixing it up with these guys. It’s a completely new car, it’s new to me—I’ve never driven anything like it. But it’s such a fun car and so competitive, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Geoff Sykes, Driver, #65 GRC Lites: “There’s definitely a lot of stuff to learn. I’m going to have a lot of stuff to learn going out with the launch control, and especially the jumping—I’ve never jumped anything before. So the first practice session is going to be a huge learning curve for all of us, I think. So I look forward to seeing all of the other drivers driving their cars, and seeing how we all compare right off the bat.”
Photo credit: Matthew Kalish