Interview: Faren Looks to GRC Lites as Career Launchpad
He hasn’t competed in Global Rallycross yet, but don’t let a lack of familiarity fool you—Eric Faren is one of the most talented young drivers in the rallycross world. Boasting a diverse background and a strong racing pedigree, the 23-year-old Swede has been competing for various championships across Europe over the past decade.
As he intends to move to a higher level of competition in 2014, Faren decided to compete in the final race of the GRC Lites season as a one-off driver, in order to gain valuable experience in a four-wheel drive car. Competing against a handful of familiar foes from his time in Europe, he will use Thursday’s race in Las Vegas as a litmus test as he plans for next season. Faren spoke with us about his racing background and getting used to the GRC Lites car in advance of his first series start:
For American fans who might not know you yet, tell us a little bit about yourself. What are some of the biggest accomplishments in your career so far?
I grew up during my father’s (Ronny Larsson) rallycross career, so I’ve been in the paddock my whole life. I started with karting when I was 10 and raced for six years all over Sweden in different categories. In 2007 I did my first season in Rallycross, in the Swedish Junior Championship. Then I drove circuit racing in the Swedish Junior Touring Car Championship for a couple of years.
In 2012 I decided to get back to Rallycross and got a good deal with Hansen Motorsport in the Super1600 European championship. I had a good first year in Europe and finished best of the rookies. We also had a one-off title deciding final in the Swedish championship that I was able to win. The goal for this year was to win the European championship, but I had some bad luck in a couple of races and finished 4th overall. It was all in all a good season.
You’re making your first start in GRC Lites in the last race of the season in Las Vegas. What made this the right time for you to make your debut?
My plan is to take a step forward for 2014, and the Lites category is one of the options. I have focused on the European championship this year, and after our final race I had a test with the Lites car in Sweden. It felt really good and I thought it would be a good idea to drive in Vegas as preparation for next year.
How much different is it to drive the four-wheel drive car instead of the front-wheel drive Super1600 car?
The test was actually my first time ever in a four-wheel drive car, but it felt really good and I think it will suit my style of driving. The difference is not that big, except for the four-wheel drive. The style of how to drive the engine is very similar.
A few drivers, including Kevin Eriksson, Reinis Nitiss, and Joni Wiman, have raced in both Super1600 and GRC Lites this season. Have you watched them race in GRC Lites, or talked to any of them about the difference between the cars?
I’ve been watching all the GRC races and also talked to them a bit about it. I think we have quite the same opinion about the differences.
Besides those drivers, you’ve also raced against the Set Promotion team in Super1600 this year, and you’ll race them again in GRC Lites. Does that experience of competing against them and their drivers help you, even in a new car?
Not really, but they are all great drivers and the team is very professional. I’ve always enjoyed racing against them and I’m sure I will in the Lites car too!
As a one-off driver, we know you’re going for the win in Vegas—if you do well, would that influence your plans for next year?
A full season of Lites is one of my possible options for 2014. If I do well in the race and everything feels good in Vegas, of course that will have some influence in my decision.
Images via Eric Faren/ERC24.com