Tag Archives: GRC Lites

OlsbergsMSE Holds Successful Lites Test in Las Vegas

Nearly two dozen drivers showed up to the Global Rallycross track on the Las Vegas Strip to test GRC Lites for the first time on Friday, less than 24 hours after GRC held its season finale event. Drivers with experience ranging from go-karts and dirt late models to the 24 Hours of Daytona cycled through a pair of Lites cars with coaching from season runner-up Sebastian Eriksson and fifth place driver Alexander Westlund.

The fastest time of the day belonged to Indy Lights and Grand-Am veteran Gustavo Yacaman, who posted lap times comparable to current series drivers. Yacaman, as well as most of the other drivers on site, raved about the 300-horsepower Lites vehicles.

“This was the first time I drove four wheel drive, or anything with a handbrake,” said Yacaman, “but I found it very nice to drive. The car is very nimble—it drives very similar to a go-kart. The jump was the first time I’ve ever jumped in a race car, so that was pretty cool. I’m just looking forward to racing against someone else with these cars. It’s very, very cool.”

Stage rally drivers adjusted quickly to some of the differences in the GRC Lites cars. Besides differences in power and grip, the car required some changes in driving mechanics, including the adjustment to a sequential gearbox rather than standard shifting.

“I drive Super Production, so I haven’t really had any experience driving a sequential,” noted Brenten Kelly, an instructor at DirtFish Rally School and Rally America competitor. “That was one of the issues that everyone seemed to have at first. Second, the grip that we had out there was not what I expected—it reacts a bit different.

“The cars feel amazing, it’s just getting comfortable in that car will make it a lot better. I found in the beginning that it was working well to use the brakes to turn the car, and then after thinking about it a bit I realized it was actually slowing me down quite a bit. On the tarmac it didn’t perform the same, but on the gravel I think you could get away with a bit more of it.”

“(The car) is pretty cool—it handles extremely well,” added Winston De Wardt, a fellow DirtFish instructor and the first driver of the day. I’m a little finicky with figuring out downshifts with it, but it’s just getting comfortable with it. It was really just finding what it’s capable of and how hard you can push it.”

Even a handful of drivers without lengthy backgrounds in racing got in on the fun. Kit Cope, a veteran mixed martial arts fighter best known to the GRC world as Ken Block’s personal trainer, even stepped into one of the Lites cars, as he hopes to set up a ride in the series in 2014.

“The car is super peppy,” explained Cope. “It takes a little bit of getting used to in that the shift points are really high. That was only second time I had driven a sequential, and only the first time I had driven tarmac. Everything else that I’ve done has been dirt, so (I was) picking rally lines instead of natural racing lines, and the apex is way later in the rally line.

“It just took a little bit of getting used to as far as changing surface and changing cars goes. The car is super cool. It picks up when you want it to pick up, it revs super high—it’s so much fun. You can’t have a bad day in a race car!”

But one of the biggest names to test a GRC Lites car was Andreas Bakkerud, who stepped into the Lites car in the afternoon after much of the testing was finished. Bakkerud, who had been in Las Vegas as a spectator, finished fourth in this year’s European Supercars championship as a rookie, taking two victories along the way.

“First and foremost, it’s very nice to drive,” Bakkerud commented. “I was surprised—it was very fun and the cars are equal, so you can find the best driver. It has less horsepower, but it has the performance we are looking for. This was the first time I drove it and it was good fun.

“It was strange—but it was strange in a good way. I need to struggle with it to go faster, and that’s a good thing.”

The full list of drivers who appeared in Friday’s test session, along with their car assignments and driver coaches:

Photo credit: Andre Consorte

Top 10 GRC Moments: GRC Lites Debut in Loudon

In anticipation of the 2013 Global Rallycross season finale, held on the Las Vegas Strip on November 6-7, Global-Rallycross.com looks back on the 10 most significant events in the series’ three-year history. These stories will appear on Global-Rallycross.com once a day from Monday-Friday on the weeks of October 21-25 and October 28-November 1. Click here to purchase tickets for the 2013 Global Rallycross season finale.

DATE: July 11, 2013

LOCATION: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, NH

IN BRIEF: For the very first time, the all-new GRC Lites class competed in a Global Rallycross event when the series visited New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Nine drivers showed up for the maiden event, including defending TORC Pro Buggy champion Mitchell deJong, Ferrari Challenge veteran Harry Cheung, and Kevin Eriksson, son of OlsbergsMSE principal Andreas Eriksson.

But in the end, it was Joni Wiman, the protege of five-time GRC Supercars race winner Marcus Gronholm, who took the first GRC Lites checkered flag. Wiman, driving for the Set Promotion outfit, beat Sebastian Eriksson and Kevin Eriksson (no relation) for the first race victory.

EFFECTS: GRC Lites have taken the world of rallycross by storm, attracting drivers from across the globe looking to become the next rallycross superstar. Some of the best racing of the year has taken place between the young drivers, who have fought relentlessly to knock off Wiman from the top place in the class. As of now, the young Finn is the only winner in GRC Lites history, having locked up the title in Charlotte.

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

OTHER TOP 10 GRC MOMENTS

Recap-LitesFeatured1

OMSE to Hold GRC Lites Test in Las Vegas on November 9

Current Global Rallycross Supercars team champion and GRC Lites car builder OlsbergsMSE will hold a test session in Las Vegas on November 9, two days after the Global Rallycross season finale. Current Supercar and Lites drivers will be on hand to offer coaching during the test.

This will be the second major test day for OMSE’s GRC Lites car in two months. Last weekend, 40 drivers attended a test session in Sweden, where current drivers Kevin Eriksson and Sebastian Eriksson were on hand to share their race experiences in the car.

The test is geared toward drivers interested in competing in the 2014 season, with costs applied to the budget of a 2014 race program. Interested parties should contact Brad Manka ([email protected]) by October 25 and include their track record in motorsports.

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

Recap-LitesFeatured1

GRC Lites Race Recap: Atlanta Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: Once again, Finnish phenomenon Joni Wiman came out on top of the GRC Lites race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, winning his fourth consecutive event in only four starts. Mitchell deJong fought Sebastian Eriksson tooth and nail to secure second place, with Eriksson coming home third.

HEAT RECAPS: Wiman and Sebastian Eriksson won their heat races, with Westlund also transferring from the first race and deJong from the second as Kevin Eriksson suffered a late mechanical failure. In the last chance qualifier, Reinis Nitiss and Kevin Eriksson would coast to the final two transfer spots in the final.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: Initially, Wiman’s streak of GRC Lites victories looked to be in jeopardy, as Sebastian Eriksson took the lead on the start and through the joker. But by the halfway point, Eriksson’s lead was gone, as he and Wiman traded the point multiple times until finally the Finn pulled away.

From there, Sebastian Eriksson was forced to defend second place from both deJong and Kevin Eriksson, who pushed forward despite starting last in the six-car final. On the very last lap, deJong finally made it past for good, securing his second consecutive runner-up finish.

RESULTS: The results from GRC Lites at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

  1. Joni Wiman, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  2. Mitchell deJong, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  3. Sebastian Eriksson, #37 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  4. Kevin Eriksson, #39 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  5. Alexander Westlund, #55 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  6. Reinis Nitiss, #15 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  7. Geoff Sykes, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  8. Austin Dyne, #99 AD Racing GRC Lites
  9. Harry Cheung, #88 Cohesive Front Racing GRC Lites
  10. Tyler Benson, #4 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 84
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 62
  3. Mitchell deJong, 55
  4. Kevin Eriksson, 53
  5. Alexander Westlund, 52
  6. Austin Dyne, 44
  7. Geoff Sykes, 40
  8. Harry Cheung, 35
  9. Halid Avdagic, 29
  10. Reinis Nitiss, 23
  11. Tyler Benson, 7

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

GRC Lites Race Preview: Atlanta Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: GRC Lites begins the second half of its season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as drivers attempt to top Joni Wiman and become only the second winner in class history.

TUNE IN INFORMATION FOR ATLANTA:

ENTRY LIST: CLICK HERE for the full entry list.

LIVE TIMING: CLICK HERE for Live Timing

LAST RACE: Joni Wiman’s dominance of the GRC Lites class continued at X Games Los Angeles, as he ran away with his third straight victory and a gold medal hanging around his neck. Mitchell deJong cruised to the silver medal, while Sebastian Eriksson—who had to give up second place due to a stop-and-go penalty—inherited third place when Alexander Westlund crashed in the race’s late stages.

THE TRACK: Atlanta’s ten-corner layout runs clockwise, utilizing much of the tri-oval and pit road sections of the oval. The tabletop jump returns to the oval frontstretch, while two long straightaways mean that cars with higher horsepower may have an advantage.

DRIVER CHANGES: Tyler Benson, son of former Super Bowl champion and NFL Pro Bowl selection Brad Benson, will take over for Halid Avdagic in the renumbered #60 car. Benson brings to GRC Lites a wealth of motorsports experience, from power boats to ATVs, and was trained by the Skip Barber Racing School at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Saturday’s GRC Lites event at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

Tyler Benson, Driver, #60 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: “I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. But being my first race, I’m going into it more as a learning type experience. I don’t expect to be in the back, but in reality I don’t expect to be in the front—I want to go out and learn what these cars are about, because I haven’t had a chance to get any seat time in them yet. I just want to get acclimated to the car, so that way, for the next race, I’m ready to keep progressing and pushing it harder.”

Geoff Sykes, Driver, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: “I did a little bit of training from X Games until now. I went to RallyPro at The Firm and spent a couple of days there fine-tuning my off-road skills, so I’m hoping to come in faster than I’ve been previously. I did a quick track walk and we’re going to have a lot of consistency changes with the asphalt—with the drag races here, it’ll be sticky asphalt on the inside, the regular NASCAR track on the outside, the grass on the inside. So there are going to be a lot of different changes here that we won’t see, so that’s going to be a lot of learning quickly. The schedule’s going to be a lot easier on us, so we are going to get a little bit of time to make changes on the car. The biggest change that I’m making in myself is that the easiest way to get time out of the car is the driver. Hopefully I’ve got a little bit more honed skills in off road and we’ll come in ready to battle.”

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 63
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 46
  3. Kevin Eriksson, 41
  4. Alexander Westlund, 39
  5. Mitchell deJong, 38

GRC Lites Race Recap: X Games Los Angeles

IN BRIEF: Joni Wiman remains the only winner in GRC Lites history, taking the gold medal at X Games Los Angeles in his X Games debut. Mitchell deJong and Sebastian Eriksson took silver and bronze.

HEAT RECAPS: The first heat race was cut short due to an incident involving Austin Dyne, with Wiman, Kevin Eriksson, and Halid Avdagic in transfer spots. Sebastian Eriksson, deJong, and GRC Lites debutant Reinis Nitiss advanced from the second heat. Alexander Westlund and Harry Cheung advanced from the last chance qualifier.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: As has been common this season, Wiman dominated the 10-lap final, checking out from an intense three-car battle between Sebastian Eriksson, deJong, and Westlund. Sebastian Eriksson was judged to have jumped the start, forcing him to take a stop-and-go penalty, an order which he ignored for much of the event.

When Sebastian Eriksson returned to the track, deJong and Westlund had passed him and were set to take the silver and bronze medals. However, Westlund hit a barrier on the last lap, damaging the car heavily and dropping him to sixth place.

RESULTS: The results from GRC Lites at X Games Los Angeles:

  1. Joni Wiman, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  2. Mitchell deJong, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  3. Sebastian Eriksson, #37 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  4. Kevin Eriksson, #39 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  5. Reinis Nitiss, #15 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  6. Alexander Westlund, #55 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  7. Halid Avdagic, #4 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  8. Harry Cheung, #88 Cohesive Front Racing GRC Lites
  9. Geoff Sykes, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  10. Austin Dyne, #99 AD Racing GRC Lites

QUOTES: A collection of quotes from Sunday’s Global Rallycross event at X Games Los Angeles:

Joni Wiman, Driver, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites: It took very exact driving. It was very difficult to drive the first three or four laps, but then it was normal. In the hairpins, I saw the guys, and I could see if they were catching me. I didn’t know if they had done the shortcut, so the pressure was on. Of course we’re starting to think about (the championship), but we can’t too much. We have a good lead, and it’s safe, but you never know.

Mitchell deJong, Driver, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: It’s great. I’m just thankful to be able to race in (X Games). To be able to come out with a podium is so cool, and I can’t thank everyone enough for getting the car ready from Bristol. It was a tough track—it was a little wet, which made it extra challenging. I just did my best, tried to stay smooth and stay off the walls, and it seemed to work. It was a lot of fun, the car was great, and I can’t complain about it at all. It was cool!

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 63
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 46
  3. Kevin Eriksson, 41
  4. Alexander Westlund, 39
  5. Mitchell deJong, 37
  6. Austin Dyne, 35
  7. Geoffrey Sykes, 30
  8. Halid Avdagic, 29
  9. Harry Cheung, 27
  10. Reinis Nitiss, 12

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

GRC Lites Race Recap: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: After a hard-fought battle, Joni Wiman defeated Sebastian Eriksson for the victory in the first-ever GRC Lites race, held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

HEAT RECAPS: The two heat races were won by Sebastian Eriksson and Wiman, respectively, with Kevin Eriksson and Mitchell deJong also advancing directly to the final. Alexander Westlund won a rough-and-tumble main event, as Austin Dyne managed to avoid Harry Cheung’s accident in the chicane

MAIN EVENT RECAP: Six cars started the first-ever GRC Lites final, which took place between the Supercar LCQ and main event. Sebastian Eriksson took the lead initially over Joni Wiman, leaving the rest of the field to fight for third place.

Wiman shadowed Sebastian Eriksson for the first three laps of the ten-lap event, taking the joker on the fourth lap. Eriksson would take the joker lap soon thereafter, as Wiman caught up and made what would be the winning pass.

Sebastian Eriksson would continue to challenge, but Wiman would hold him off for the first victory in GRC Lites history. Kevin Eriksson, son of GRC Lites mastermind Andreas Eriksson, finished third after making a gutsy pass in the outside groove on the dirt section.

RESULTS: The results of today’s Sylvania Silverstar zXe Global Rallycross at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:

  1. Joni Wiman, #93
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, #37
  3. Kevin Eriksson, #39
  4. Mitchell deJong, #24
  5. Alexander Westlund, #55
  6. Austin Dyne, #99
  7. Halid Avdagic, #4
  8. Geoffrey Sykes, #65
  9. Harry Cheung, #88

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 21
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 18
  3. Kevin Eriksson, 15

GRC TV: Introducing GRC Lites

GRC Lites will make their long-awaited debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Thursday, July 11. The car, the brainchild of OlsbergsMSE team principal Andreas Eriksson, is designed to help young drivers showcase their talent. Eriksson, as well as drivers Geoffrey Sykes and Mitchell deJong, talk about what to expect from the new vehicle this season.

GRC Lites: Meet the Drivers

GRC Lites, the new class of Global Rallycross, is designed to emphasize the talents of young drivers looking to become the next rallycross superstar. Nine drivers will race in the series’ inaugural event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Thursday, the first event of a six race schedule that will take the spec-built series across the United States.

For fans who are looking to get familiar with the drivers in advance of the first race, here’s a quick primer:

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:

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:

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