RALLY AMERICA TO LAUNCH EUROPEAN-STYLE RALLY CROSS RACING IN 2010
While many motorsports sanctioning bodies are looking for ways to shrink and save, Rally America, Inc., the premier sanctioning body for performance rally competition in North America, is expanding and growing.
Rally America today announced three European-style rally cross events in 2010. The three events will be run as exhibition events in 2010 but there may be more on the calendar in 2011.
European-style rally cross combines disciplines from road racing, short-course off-road racing and X Games-style rally car racing. It’s the action sport of motor racing.
“We’ve experienced dramatic growth in spectator interest the past three years,” said J.B. Niday, managing director for Rally America, Inc. “We’re confident American rally spectators would like to add this wheel-to-wheel competition to their plate of national championship rallying. Our championship is among the most respected in the world. This will make it more so. It’s a logical move for the growth of rally here in the United States.”
All three Rally America events will take place in the fall of 2010 at New Jersey Motor Sports Park in Millville, NJ. The course will be a combination of pavement and gravel surfaces totaling about one mile in length. It will include jumps, un-banked turns, hills and transitions between pavement and gravel that promise to unsettle the cars and drivers. The three-minute sprint heats will see competition between six cars on the track at once. The winners advance through the day to the main event finale. It promises extreme challenges and extreme excitement for spectators and drivers alike.
The rally cross format is extremely popular in Europe. You can experience the excitement through on-demand video highlights at www.Rally-America.com.
There will be two classes of cars in Rally America’s initial year of competition. The faster, all-wheel-drive cars will resemble those used in current Rally America competition including the AWD Subarus used by four-time American rally champion Travis Pastrana and Internet gymkhana video star Ken Block. The second category of rally cross cars will be two-wheel-drive. That includes the various body styles from manufacturers such as Ford, Mitsubishi, Dodge and Honda boasting 450+ horsepower, highly modified engines and rally-style suspension.
Both categories include vehicles currently being used in the Rally America National Rally Championship. There will be one departure; rally cross is a driver-only competition. There’s no need for a co-driver to help navigate the car around the one-mile course.
“The Rally America National Championship has experienced constant growth in the past couple of years,” Niday continued. “The sport of rally cross has taken place successfully in Europe for many years and draws tens of thousands of spectators to each and every event. The excitement of wheel-to-wheel racing action for high-powered rally cars should work well here in the United States as it takes place on a closed-loop course that allows spectators to take in all the high-speed racing action from a single vantage point.”
2010 RALLY AMERICA NATIONAL RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP KICKS OFF IN JANUARY
In addition to European-style rally cross competition at the New Jersey Motor Sports Park in the fall of 2010, Rally America will resume its National Rally Championship series beginning with Sno*Drift, the traditional championship kick off in January 2010 and one of the only American national championship motorsports events run in real snow on real roads with real cars.
The 2010 championship, however, will be compressed to allow more spectator and media interest during the season. It ensures that every event will have greater import in the chase for the Rally America Championship. The 2010 Rally America National Rally Championship Schedule:
1. January Sno*Drift Rally Atlanta, MI
2. February Rally of the 100 Acre Wood Salem, MO
3. April Olympus Rally Olympia, WA
4. May Oregon Trail Rally Hood River, OR
5. June Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally Wellsboro, PA
6. July New England Forest Rally Newry, ME
Three rally events that were on the calendar in 2009, the Ojibwe Forests Rally in Bemidji, MN, Rally Colorado in Steamboat Springs, CO, and the Lake Superior Performance Rally in Houghton, MI, will be changed to regional-level rally events and will not be included in the 2010 Rally America National Rally Championship.
“After a great deal of consideration and review of the past three seasons, we’ve decided to reduce the Rally America National Championship from nine to six events to help reduce team costs and increase competition,” said Mike Hurst, the Rally America competition director. “The 2010 championship schedule will include two national-level rally events on the west coast, two on the east coast and two in the central portion of the United States. The six-event schedule will not only make it more affordable for the teams, but allow for better competition as well as allow Rally America to introduce European-style rally cross competition in the fall.”
Considered by many to be the extreme sport of auto racing, rally car racing is often described simply as “real cars, real roads, real fast.” This all-season motorsport sees drivers and their co-drivers take modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over courses that cover more than 100 miles of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads. Among the marques typically represented in Rally America events are Subaru, Mitsubishi, Dodge, Ford and Volkswagen.
In addition, some of North America’s top rally drivers from the Rally America National Rally Championship series will be invited to compete in ESPN’s Summer X Games competition, the leading action sports event broadcast live on ABC and ESPN. Rally America officials will once again be involved in the organizational aspect of the rally car racing segment of competition for X Games 16 which is scheduled for July 29 to August 1, 2010.
For more information regarding Rally America, Inc., the 2010 Rally America National Rally Championship or the new European-style rally cross events taking place at the New Jersey Motor Sports Park in the fall of 2010, please call (763) 553-2742 for details or visit www.rally-america.com. Photos by Andrew Comrie-Picard.