Tag Archives: OMSE2

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GRC Supercars Season Review: Scott Speed

If there’s a single driver in motorsports who has been racking up the frequent flyer miles over the past few years, it’s Scott Speed. After leaving Formula 1 for a return home to the United States, Speed has driven in everything from NASCAR to IndyCar, but nowhere has he seen more success than his debut season in Global Rallycross.

It took a single race for the open-wheel and stock car transplant to find the top step of the GRC podium, as Speed took the gold medal at X Games Brazil. Originally enlisted to appear solely in Brazil as part of a one-off deal, Speed’s performance impressed so many that he was given a deal to compete in all nine races.

The highs were high: a second win at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, a home race for Speed and his family, and five heat victories over the course of the season to go with his gold medal.

But the lows were similarly low: missing the final in Munich and Bristol, a struggle to make it to the final in Los Angeles, and pulling off early in the Las Vegas season finale when most of his rivals conceded that his road racing skills made him the driver to beat.

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“In these things, you can be fast—we were pretty fast at Bristol but we didn’t even make the final—so you’ve got to be lucky not to get in any crashes,” Speed said after his second victory of the year. “We stayed out of trouble and got lucky (in Charlotte).”

Lucky or unlucky, it’s hard not to be impressed with the way Speed adapted to yet another form of motorsport.

Interestingly enough, while the majority of his background saw him compete on paved tracks, Speed’s two race victories came on tracks that were almost completely comprised of loose surface material. But his road racing background shone through on the speed charts, as a third seed in Los Angeles and second seed in Las Vegas proved that he could adapt smooth racing lines and tire management to rallycross.

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It will be interesting to see if Speed can replicate his initial success in 2014. While two victories and fifth place in his rookie season are nothing to be ashamed of, any driver to make his way to Formula 1 won’t be satisfied with anything less than a championship trophy on his bookshelf at home. So should be Speed in 2014.

Photo credit: Larry Chen (1); QBA/QNIGAN.com (2); Matthew Kalish (3)

Interview: Buhl Brings IndyCar Experience To Global Rallycross at X Games

Robbie Buhl spent over a decade driving at open wheel racing’s highest level, competing in eight Indianapolis 500s and winning two IndyCar races during his career. Buhl spent his final five seasons behind the wheel as an owner-driver, taking his Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team to victory in their very first race at Walt Disney World Speedway in 2000.

Since then, Buhl’s organization has been an IndyCar mainstay, campaigning dozens of talented drivers through this year’s Indianapolis 500. But on Sunday, DRR will take on a new challenge—racing at X Games Los Angeles with Scott Speed and OMSE2, in partnership with SH Racing.

For Buhl, coming out of Los Angeles with a good finish is just one of the priorities as he seeks to get acclimated with Global Rallycross. Here, he talks about his initial interest in the sport, putting the program together, and how working with Speed has helped ease the team’s learning curve:

When did you first start looking into racing in Global Rallycross? What were your intentions in putting this program together?

It was probably about a year ago, when the GRC guys ran at Texas with IndyCar, we started watching it. Then, from there, we just kept talking to folks. There’s a lot of interest and a lot of buzz around the series, and we said “hey, we’ve got to start paying attention to this.” So we absolutely were looking at trying to do something to run all this year. That didn’t happen, but I’m really glad that we’re here with DRR-SH Racing, with Sulli (James Sullivan), who’s part of KV Racing’s entry with (Tony) Kanaan—they won the Indianapolis 500, so that’s a pretty good pairing with us, and we’ve got great support from Wix Filters and N.O.-Xplode.

This is really our pilot project—we’re here, we’re going to learn, we’re getting our feet wet. You can always watch from the outside, but you don’t really get quite the same perspective with being on the inside and running a car, talking to the driver and hearing the behind the scenes stuff. So this is our pilot project, running here, but what better place to do it than the LA X Games? This is the Indy 500 for GRC, without a doubt. We’re happy to be here with that.

You’re involved with the Star Car project alongside OMSE2. What prompted the decision to align with that program for this race?

It just goes back to the beginning of the year. Back in April or March, I was talking with the GRC folks, and Andreas (Eriksson) and the OMSE guys. That’s when Colin said “hey, we’re going to do a Star Car,” and I said “we’d like to run a car at X Games.” We all worked together, and that’s how it happened. At that time we knew there were a lot of good drivers out there—talk to any driver, and they’re all like “I want to drive one of those cars.” I want to drive one of those cars! Whether or not I’m going to go race one, I definitely want to have one to drive, and have some fun with for sure.

At that time, we didn’t really know who the drivers we’re going to be. We knew Scott ran that first race, and then it turned out that he was going to do the rest of them. I was like “hey, that’s cool with us.” He’s got a great background, winning the first race. But in terms of what he’s done in Formula 1 and NASCAR, there’s just a real appeal to what he’s done up to this point.

You’ve been involved in IndyCar racing as a team owner since 2000. What about Global Rallycross and its fanbase makes the sport a good fit for your team?

As a driver who’s been retired and a team owner in IndyCar, I love IndyCar and I love the Indy 500. But the one thing that just really is exciting about GRC, other than what the racing is, what the lifestyle of what this sport is and what it attracts, is that you talk to potential sponsors and owners and friends, and they say “tell me more about that!”

There’s just a really good interest level—from an auto manufacturer’s standpoint, this is the demographic that they have to get to at a young age. They have to start making an imprint on somebody at the age of 15 where they’re a supporter forever. So Ford wants to get a young person and carry them through the lifestyle of being a Ford customer, from the entry level Fiesta, all the way up to when they want to buy the family sedan, and take them on to Lincoln from there, even.

How has working with Scott Speed been so far? Do you have any hopes or expectations for him this weekend?

We want to learn all about the sport—where its strengths and weaknesses are, where we focus for our next step to be here full time, and how we do that. There are a lot of different options. So obviously we’re taking that all in. But if Scott could come out of here with a medal, that would be fantastic. You always say you want to win—everyone is here to win. But he’s already proven he can be competitive, and we know the cars are competitive. It’s what Tanner (Foust) and (Brian) Deegan drove last year, so it’s a great product, well prepared. If a little bit of luck gets on your side, and you don’t make mistakes…

I think Scott’s way pumped and excited. It’s been a pleasure. I had never really talked with him much until the past couple of days, and he’s been great in terms of telling us about how he weighs out the intricacies of the sport, what is and what isn’t, what he’s learned, what his learning curve is like—to tap him and say “what do you prioritize, what are the keys as we look forward?” That’s been good. But getting a medal here? Yeah, we’d be happy with that.

Images via DRR-SH Racing

Global Rallycross Mid-Season Review: OMSE2

OMSE2 is an offshoot of the successful OlsbergsMSE operation, campaigning the same older-model Ford Fiestas that took four of six Global Rallycross victories last year. And while drivers Steve Arpin and Scott Speed aren’t racing in the same equipment as drivers like Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan, they haven’t been pushovers either.

Arpin and Speed rank seventh and eighth in points, respectively—not bad for two drivers who had never set foot in a rallycross car until just months ago.

The highlight of the season so far came in the opening race at X Games Foz do Iguacu, when Speed, in his first-ever rallycross event, took GRC’s “Star Car” to victory over two of the newer OMSE Fords. Arpin finished fourth, capping off a strong debut for both drivers.

Since then, things have returned to earth a little bit; each driver has missed two finals, while Speed had to advance to the main event in the first X Games Munich race and at New Hampshire by virtue of the last chance qualifier. An issue with the engine plagued Arpin at New Hampshire, while Speed’s Bristol run ended in frustration after contact in the second heat and further issues in the last chance qualifier.

Still, neither driver should be hanging their head going into X Games Los Angeles. There, Speed’s car will be run in conjunction with DRR-SH Racing, two IndyCar teams making their first foray into Global Rallycross, while Arpin will look to kick off the second half of the season with his first podium.

Meet Townsend Bell, Driver, OMSE2

Townsend Bell is no stranger to any facet of the world of motorsports. He’s been behind the wheel of just about everything from IndyCars to sports cars. He’s taken wins and championships across the globe. He’s even been in front of the camera, both behind the wheel and as an expert race analyst.

But at X Games Munich, Bell will add yet another bullet point to his racing resume: Global Rallycross driver. He’ll make his rallycross debut in the doubleheader weekend, driving the #7 Royal Purple Ford Fiesta for OMSE2. In advance of his new opportunity, Bell sat down to answer some questions for the fans at home:

First things first—what inspired you to come to Global Rallycross?

Just watching it on X Games, like everybody else. I saw guys like Tanner Foust and Kenny Brack, Travis Pastrana, obviously, and I thought it was a really cool format. The cars looked incredible. So I started researching it a little bit. The rest of the year I’m pretty busy, but there was a weekend where I didn’t have anything going on here, and I thought “man, it’d be fun to get out there to Munich and do it.”

I got in touch with Andreas, did a little testing with him, and was able to get everything together. We’ve got Royal Purple as a sponsor—those guys, I’m just getting to know them, and they’re racers, they’re very cool guys. It was just kind of a perfect storm, you know?

Most fans know you as a successful open-wheel driver, but your career has never been limited to just that. Do you have any experience driving multi-surface or off-road vehicles?

I’ve ridden motocross a lot, just for fun. I love dirtbikes. So I have a little experience jumping, and all of that, riding in dirt. But in terms of rally car, I’ve probably got about 40 minutes total seat time in testing—which is more than Scott Speed had, but not a lot. So I’ve got a lot to learn. I just come into this with a lot of enthusiasm, eyes wide open, and listening for any tips and looking for anything I can pick up to improve.

You’ve adapted to different forms of racing before, moving from open wheel racing to sports cars and now to rallycross. Is there a secret to switching from one discipline to another without spending too much time getting comfortable?

I think it’s just being very candid with the people you’re working with. If you’ve got questions, ask, and (I) don’t assume that anything I’ve done before is going to help me, necessarily. My goal is to just be really in tune with trying to pick up as many little things as I can and to piece it all together as quickly as possible, because the track time is very limited.

You’re no stranger to racing in prestigious events—you’ve been in the 12 Hours of Sebring and Indianapolis 500 just this year. Where does X Games rank on that scale, and how does it compare?

It’s just really cool! You think of X Games—obviously you think of rally cars, but since X Games has been around, you also think of Best Trick, or Step Up, or Speed and Style, or the halfpipe, or Tony Hawk, or whatever. I’ve got two boys who are ten and seven years old, so the highlight for me is being able to tell them that dad’s going to do X Games, because with a young audience, I think it counts for a lot. And it’s just—what a cool thing to be a part of.

If you would have told me 20 years ago that I would have been a part of X Games, I would have said “in what?” It’s great that rallycross has really become a main fixture of the series now.

You mentioned that you’ve done some testing in advance of this weekend. What are some of your impressions about the cars?

I got a quick joyride in Vegas last year in one of the Supercars, one of the Fords—I think it was Deegan’s car. And I’ve had two chances to drive the GRC Lites car, which is the new feeder series and is really a fantastic car. I encourage anybody that’s even remotely interested in rallycross to go research GRC Lites and have a look. That gives me a lot of confidence, knowing that I at least spent some time in that car, feel reasonably comfortable with the dynamics, and now to come back and drive the Supercar again, I hope that helps a lot.

Do you have any sort of expectations for yourself in your first GRC event? And if all goes well, can we expect to see you back in the series sooner than later?

My expectation is, again, just to learn as quick as I can. Obviously I want to make the main event, but I think it’s going to be a challenge just when you look at the names, the experiences, and the credentials of the guys I’m racing with. But regardless of how it goes, I absolutely will be looking for further opportunities to come and race again.

Townsend Bell to Make GRC Debut at X Games Munich

Townsend Bell, a seven-time Indianapolis 500 starter and current American Le Mans Series driver, will make his Global Rallycross debut at X Games Munich on June 30, 2013. Bell will drive the #7 Royal Purple Ford Fiesta for OMSE2.

Bell’s major professional career began after he won the 2001 Indy Lights championship, launching him into CART, Formula 3000, and Formula One test drives. Since 2004, he has mostly focused on IndyCar, earning a fourth place finish in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 and 12 top-10 finishes in 36 career Indycar starts.  In 2012, Bell won the 12 Hours of Sebring in his first major sportscar attempt.

“Global Rallycross is thrilled to have such a talented and diverse driver like Townsend be a part of our series and join the driver line up in Munich,” said Colin Dyne, Global Rallycross CEO. “Townsend and I have a long and successful history together and I look forward to continuing that streak.”

This season, the San Luis Obispo, California native has competed in the Indianapolis 500 for Panther Racing and is contesting the full American Le Mans Series schedule for West Alex Job Racing in a Ferrari 458 GTE. Alongside his commitments behind the wheel, he also handles duties for IndyCar broadcasts, on NBC Sports, as an expert analyst.

OMSE2 is a satellite operation of OlsbergsMSE, which has won the past two Global Rallycross championships with driver Tanner Foust. At X Games Foz do Iguaçu, the satellite operation scored a gold medal with Scott Speed in its debut.

Bell is the latest in a long line of open-wheel drivers to make an attempt at racing in GRC. Ex-Formula 1 driver Speed currently leads the points, while Nelson Piquet Jr. and Buddy Rice are other open-wheel veterans to have raced this year.

About Royal Purple

Royal Purple manufactures outperforming lubricants for numerous industrial and consumer needs. Join Royal Purple on Facebook at facebook.com/officialroyalpurple and Twitter @RoyalPurpleInc. For more information on Royal Purple or its products, contact Royal Purple via mail at One Royal Purple Lane, Porter, TX 77365; by calling 281-354-8600; or by visiting royalpurpleconsumer.com.

GRC Adds Star Car To 2013 Lineup; Scott Speed To Drive In Brazil

LOS ANGELES, CA. (April 12, 2013) — Global Rallycross is all about introducing new and forward-thinking elements to race competition. In the spirit of that innovation, Global Rallycross is proud to announce the implementation of the Star Car, a competitive twist for Global Rallycross. To debut the Star Car at the X Games in Foz do Iguacu, Global Rallycross brought Scott Speed on board to take the wheel.

“The Star Car idea was sparked initially as means to create an element of surprise and suspense to both fans and drivers for each of the nine Global Rallycross events this season,” said Colin Dyne, Global Rallycross CEO. “But as the idea has become a reality for Global Rallycross, it is an exceptional element that allows for talented drivers like Scott Speed to get a taste of what Global Rallycross really has to offer.”

In each race of the 2013 season, Global Rallycross will select the Star Car driver who will compete against the regular field of Global Rallycross drivers. With that in mind, every Star Car driver is selected specifically, each bringing a different quality to the series.

For Speed, Global Rallycross selected him to debut the Star Car in Brazil because of his personality, driving ability and his overall fit for Global Rallycross. Speed has raced across the globe, winning two European Formula Renault championships before driving 28 races in Formula 1 in 2006 and 2007. Since transitioning to stock car racing, he has won in the Craftsman Truck Series and spent five seasons at the Sprint Cup level.

“I’ve always been open to looking for other racing series I can try,” said Speed. “So when this thing came up, obviously the series has grown, it’s gotten bigger and bigger, and I’ve always had my eye on this series and how it’s coming. And when the first race was on one of the off weekends that I had, I immediately began working on something to be able to try it.”

The Star Car will be run by OMSE2, a satellite operation of defending GRC champions OlsbergsMSE. The Star Car will be the same model of Ford Fiesta that took four race victories and the top two spots in last year’s GRC standings.The Star Car will make its debut at Global X Games in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, on April 21.

Path To Brazil: Getting To Know Steve Arpin, OMSE2

Steve Arpin may be a newcomer to Global Rallycross, but he’s certainly no stranger to media attention. Having driven in some of the most high profile racing series in North America for esteemed owners like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Arpin brings a solid resume to GRC competition, where he will drive a Ford Fiesta for OMSE2 in 2013.

As GRC counts down to the start of the season, Arpin sat down for an interview to allow fans to get to know him better, both at and away from the track:

Do you have any pets? 
I don’t, but I am looking to get a dog real soon, as soon as I can get it taken care of while I’m on the road.

When I’m not at the race track, you’ll most likely find me doing this: 
One of my main hobbies is I’ve gotten into flying remote control airplanes, so I really enjoy doing that. And Jen, my new girlfriend, is big into sports, so you can definitely find me hanging out with my buddies, having a beer, watching the football game. It’s a really big thing for me—living in America, being from Canada, I have to learn football!

With how much I travel and how much my girlfriend works, any opportunity we have to do something together, we take. I have a little niece back at home, her name is Peyton and she’ll be two in June, and my brother has another baby coming. Jen has a little nephew, and my sister-in-law and her sister are due in August. So when we’re not racing this year, that’s going to consume a lot of our time as well.

Are you a fan of any sports teams? 
I love the fact that the Winnipeg Jets are back. That was the first NHL game I went to years ago, and I went to college in Winnipeg. As far as favorite sports teams now,  when I started dating Jen, a prerequisite was that I had to be a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes. So I’m definitely learning a lot about that and really enjoying it.

What do you do to prepare for race day? 
My biggest thing leading up to race day is watching a lot of video. As far as on race day itself, I really try to analyze and be honest with myself about how practice went. When it comes to going into the main or the final, the car is what it is—it’s my responsibility to do the most I can to get the most out of the car possible. So my biggest thing on race day is critiquing myself and what I can work on.

My favorite form of social media is: 
I definitely would have to go with Facebook. I’m still learning the Twitter thing. I’m looking to get better with that!

How do you keep in shape when you’re not racing? 
I work out every day I’m at home. I try and keep cardio going while I’m away at the races. But a buddy of mine, Sean Caisse, he’s a big fitness nut, so he and I work out together on a regular basis. I also do a group crossfit training session a couple of times a week at a place down the street from my house. I try to keep it different—mix and change it up from just the gym and the weights.

My first job was: 
When I was 12 years old, I started my first little business, building go-kart motors for all of the people we were racing against. We raced against all adults, and I was the local little engine builder at home.

The greatest win of my career was:
The most exciting win for me—it was just a big week of my life—was definitely Texas Motor Speedway in the ARCA Series. So many big things happened for me that week. It started out with winning Salem in the ARCA Series the week before, on Sunday. On Monday morning, we signed Mike’s Hard Lemonade as a sponsor. On Monday afternoon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. asked me to start driving for him a couple of weeks later at Talladega. So when we went to Texas, it was our first race with Mike’s Hard Lemonade, there was a lot of media attention with the announcement of the JR Motorsports opportunity, and then we went on to win the race. As you can imagine, that was a big week in my life.

If you could meet anyone you’ve never met, living or dead, who would you meet? 
Dale Earnhardt. He was just an inspiration as a racecar driver in general. I’ll never forget the day he passed away—we were in Valcourt, Quebec, racing snowmobiles, and they announced it at the awards ceremony after the races. He essentially put NASCAR on the map, in my eyes. And he was just a man that spoke his mind, was an incredible race car driver but also an incredible spokesperson, and he did the right thing. He wasn’t afraid to put himself out there, even if it meant controversy.

What story does your family always tell about you? 
How much time do we have? There’s a lot of them! I think the one that most commonly comes up is this. My family owned a marine dealership—we sold boats, motors, snowmobiles, all that kind of stuff, so we always had snowmobiles at the house growing up. I had my little snowmobile, a small Indy Light, 340 or something, and right beside it was my dad’s snowmobile—a Polaris Storm, the biggest one they made at the time. And I felt like the Indy Light was too small for me. My dad was at work, and there was a babysitter there, so I decided when I went out to go snowmobiling, “the Storm is right here, my dad’s not here to tell me I can’t take it, so why not?”

So I tried to start it, and it was one of those snowmobiles where you had to pull with one hand and give it some throttle with the other to get it running, and I just couldn’t do it, I wasn’t strong enough. I was maybe 10 years old. I had an absolute fixation back then, working in the shop with my dad, with zip ties. In my eyes, a zip tie could hold a train together back then if need be. So I thought it would be clever and smart if I zip tied the throttle, pulled it with two hands, and as soon as I started, I’d knock the zip tie off the throttle.

It started up right away, but I just fell backwards. Next thing you know, there’s a snowmobile in the front door of the house, right through the wall. It knocked the door frame and everything off! That one definitely gets repeated more often than I’d like it to.

We had a hard time keeping babysitters. I wasn’t a bad kid—I keep on trying to tell my parents this, I was just trying to make sure the babysitters were earning their money!

For more information on Steve Arpin’s 2013 Global Rallycross program, visit his website.

Path To Brazil: Meet Steve Arpin, Driver, OMSE2

From go-karts to snowmobiles, dirt modifieds to stock cars, there isn’t much that Steve Arpin hasn’t raced in his career. That’s what makes his new Global Rallycross Championship program so exciting—it has almost nothing in common with his past racing experiences.

Luckily for Arpin, he’ll be behind the wheel of one of the most reliable cars in GRC: a Ford Fiesta built by OMSE2, a new satellite operation of defending champions OlsbergsMSE. Arpin, who will compete in the full GRC schedule, sat down to answer some questions about his career and new opportunity:

You have one of the most diverse racing backgrounds in all of GRC—tell us about where you started your career.

I pretty much raced anything I could get my hands on. I started racing go-karts when I was 10 years old, and I’ve raced everything from go-karts and snowmobiles… I quickly moved up in the dirt modified world, and I just kind of grew a strong passion for dirt modified racing. I love dirt, it’s what my dad always did, and I excelled at it.

What initially sparked your interest in racing in GRC?

GRC has always been something I’ve had to keep my eyes on. It’s such a fast-growing series, and when they call it “action sports,” it’s exactly that—it keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s just something that we talked about a lot, and we thought it’d be a neat opportunity to try and build a foundation in the sport, to have the opportunity to grow with the sport. So having my eyes opened to the series, and seeing what it’s all about, everything about the series is good—from the TV package it has, to racing internationally, to the level of competition and all the manufacturers that are getting more and more involved each and every year. It’s a fast growing sport, and I truly believe it’s going to be the next big thing.

What made OMSE2 the right team for you to race with this season?

I think the results speak for themselves. I got to know Andreas (Eriksson) when I went out to the test in Lake Elsinore, and I kept in touch with them. As they started talking about the formation of the satellite team, we looked at it and Andreas is essentially the king of rallycross—his results are simply unprecedented. So as a driver, when you look at the opportunities to guide your career, you look at the quality of the opportunities in front of you. When there’s a sport that’s getting more and more popular in the US, and an opportunity comes available with one of the best teams—it’s a satellite program, but it’s still run under the OMSE banner—I just couldn’t say no.

Can you offer any insight into how the OMSE2 satellite operation works? Will you be sharing information with the main OMSE squad?

Yeah, we’re definitely going to share information. The intent is definitely for it to be essentially using their resources and their engineering support. There’s so much R&D work as far as the cars go. The car that I’m going to be driving is actually last year’s car, which could be an advantage to me because it’s already got all the bugs worked out. It’s a proven car, they have thick notebooks for these on it. When you switch cars, you kind of have to build your notebook all over again, but with this car, we’re already going to have a thick notebook going to these different racetracks.

Getting the opportunity to work with the guys in Lake Elsinore, to see how they operate, and then going to test in Belgium this past week, I’m confident in the fact that it’s going to be a smoothly run operation. There will be some growing pains, I’m sure, but seeing how they function, seeing the procedures of how everything is so precise, I’m very confident that they’ll be a championship caliber team.

What makes driving a GRC car a unique and exciting challenge for you?

Two words will sum that up. absolutely everything! It was definitely an eye-opening, a humbling, and a fun experience. Driving these cars in Belgium for the first time, it was an exciting experience. As far as driving techniques, I’ve never raced anything all-wheel drive before. I’ve had cars airborne before, definitely not intentionally, and didn’t necessarily land the way I need to land a GRC car! But (the test) gave me a whole new appreciation for what these guys do, going out there, driving this car, and trying to get up to speed. It definitely gave me a whole new appreciation for what these guys do, and the talent they have to be able to make these cars do what they do. When you watch it on TV, they make it look so easy and so smooth, but you have to be so aggressive. And what these cars are capable of, how hard you can push them and have to push them to get what they’re capable of, absolutely blew my mind.

Basically my biggest challenge is going to be making everything happen naturally. These cars are so much more sophisticated, as far as the technology that they have on board goes, than anything I’ve ever raced before—from the electronics system, to the power, to the all-wheel drive, to the handbrake, to all these things that I need to learn how to make natural, so I can go into each corner where I need to be. It’s definitely going to be a learning experience, but it’s going to be fun.

Are there any particular races you’re especially looking forward to this season?

I’m really looking forward to the international races—I’ve never really had the opportunity to travel before. This trip to Belgium was my first time overseas, and it’s a real big deal just to sit back and think about. When this whole opportunity came up and we finalized it, one of my first conversations with my dad was just that we started racing go-karts in a friend of ours’ backyard in Ontario, and now we’re going to Brazil to race in X Games. This little hobby that we had back then is taking us around the world racing. So that’s a pretty neat deal, and I won’t lie, it’s a pretty proud accomplishment.

Do you have any goals in mind for your first GRC season? 

I definitely want to be competitive—come the end of the season, I definitely want to be in contention for podium finishes, if not wins. This opportunity is in good cars and good equipment, and I’m working with a great team. All the stars are aligning, now I just need to do my job, learn what I came to learn, and put myself in a position from an experience standpoint and a driving standpoint to be really strong and competitive by the time we get to LA for X Games.