FORT WORTH, Texas – Rallycross star Tanner Foust, along with Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage, took a spin around an abbreviated portion of Saturday’s Global Rallycross Championship series layout Tuesday.
It’s all part of the excitement of Global Rallycross Championship series racing as the road to the X Games leads through Texas Motor Speedway during Hoon Kaboom Texas.
The top 12 drivers in the GRC championship standings following the Hoon Kaboom Texas race will earn automatic berths for the X Games Los Angeles slated for June 29-July 1.
The race will be pivotal for several competitors – stars like Ken Block and Brian Deegan find themselves in 15th and 16th, respectively – while Foust finds himself in a much more comfortable position heading into Hoon Kaboom Texas. He currently sits second in the Global Rallycross Championship, three points behind Marcus Gronholm, and is intent on a strong finish to secure a berth in the sport’s “Super Bowl.”
“The X Games is really the core of what drives our sport,” said Foust, a two-time X Games rallycross gold medalist. “As you’re looking for sponsorship and you are looking for somebody to help you pay for a $400,000 car and go beat the tar out of it six times a year, sometimes it’s not an easy sell but having the X Games on board with that makes it easy. That is a critical part of our sport and Texas Motor Speedway and Hoon Kaboom Texas is all about qualifying for X Games. It’s not just winning this event you are seeing people fight for on the track; you are really trying to qualify for what they promised our sponsors would do.”
Foust and Gossage unveiled the schematic of the course for the debut of GRC at Texas Motor Speedway and it will feature two types of jumps, highlighted by the thrilling 70-foot gap jump in which competitors will fly through the air while others are racing beneath. Other course elements include a table-top jump, car wash in which the competitors must maneuver on a slick, wet portion of track, whole shot area, chicanes, hairpins and sweeping turns.
“It’s unlike European rallycross tracks and it’s going to be a challenge for the cars because the speeds are going to be over 120 miles per hour,” Foust said. “This will be the fastest straightaway of any rallycross so far in the United States. Then you have to brake down into a 20 mile-per-hour corner, so it’s going to be hard on the brakes and the heat of Texas is going to be hard on the engine. The jump is going to be the biggest ramp-to-ramp jump so far in rallycross. I don’t have a clue what to expect.”
The gap jump will provide competitors with a new challenge. With most gap jumps in rallycross competition being built from dirt, Texas Motor Speedway’s ramp will be made of metal, providing a new dynamic to rallycross racing.
“The gap jump is going to be gnarly because in X Games when we’ve done a gap jump before it has been dirt,” Foust said. “If you come up short on the dirt you kind of chip away at the ramp and you probably just don’t stop and fall to the ground. This one is going to be metal-to-metal ramps. It’s going to be a hard hit if you go short. That’s the intimidating thing about going short. Getting the speed right is going to be critical.”
Foust treated Gossage to a spin in his No. 34 Rockstar Energy Etnies Ford / OMSE 2012 Ford Fiesta that can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles an hour in 1.9 seconds. He took him for a few laps on a modified layout of the course that included the table-top jump and car wash along with some hairpin turns and chicanes to give him a feel of the speed and g-forces of these nimble and powerful machines can generate.
“That was awesome,” Gossage said. “It’s amazing how the car is so twitchy. It’s so violent, but he’s always in control. It feels like ice all of a sudden over there in the water and then he just drifts off. It’s just amazing.”
Hoon Kaboom Texas is part of a doubleheader evening that begins at 3:30 p.m. CT on Saturday and leads up the Firestone 550 IZOD IndyCar Series race at 7:30 p.m.