When the Red Bull Global Rallycross cranks up Friday and Saturday at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, it will be nothing like traditional racing.
“This is the future of racing—it’s exciting. Get your phones ready,” Scott Speed said during an interview this week. “…This is what young fans want to see. It’s YouTube.
“There is no riding around killing laps. Every lap matters. There’s no bathroom or popcorn breaks or you will miss something. It’s a dogfight from the very beginning.”
The 600-horsepower, all-wheel drive, turbocharged compact cars go from 0 to 60 in less than two seconds. The course features hairpin turns, jumps over walls, a series of chicanes and water features, all designed to test a driver’s focus and control.
“It’s not boring,” Speed said. “It’s exciting racing. The cars are bumping each other and they’re doing things other race cars can’t do.”
Charlotte is the only city on the circuit with “the traditional NASCAR demographic,” Speed said. So far this year, the GRC has raced in Barbados; Austin, Texas for the X Games and Washington, D.C.
The rest of the 10-race schedule includes dates at Daytona, Seattle, two in Los Angeles and wrapping up the season in Las Vegas.
The track at CMS is much different than other courses on the GRC circuit and that’s one of the things Speed likes.
“There’s a lot of dirt and banking. The dirt, that Carolina clay, starts to rip up the track and you get ruts. It makes for interesting racing. Most places, it’s more gravel, pavement or tarmac. There’s not a huge jump (at CMS), but it’s great racing,” Speed said.
In the 2013 race at the Dirt Track, cars were running so hard they kept getting flat tires. A different tire will be used this year that can handle the intense racing.
Arpin, who drives for Royal Purple Racing, agrees with Speed’s assessment of the course.
“It is going to be absolutely insane this year at Charlotte. The big thing last year was we all got flat tires because we were driving so hard around a rough and rutty dirt track, but we got new tires this year so that is not going to happen, so we will go even harder yet,” Arpin said. “That track is so wild, you have all the banking in Turns 1 and 2—we are wide open all the way through there—we literally jump over the race track, literally over the wall, then jump back in on the other side.”
Along with Speed and Arpin, Brian Deegan, Tanner Foust, Bucky Lasek and others are expected to compete in the Supercars division. The GRC Lites division will include 2014 X Games gold medalist Mitchell DeJong, Austin Cindri and Kevin Eriksson.
This will be the third season at CMS for GRC. The first race was on the frontstretch of the main track. It moved to the Dirt Track last year.
The action gets under way Friday with practice and qualifying. Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday. The action continues Saturday, with gates opening at 10 a.m. and racing beginning at 11 a.m. NBC will broadcast the main events at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets are $25 per day or a two-day pass is $40 for adults. Children 13 and under get in for $15 a day or $25 for both days.
More information about GRC is available at www.redbullglobalrallycross.com.