The most fun form of Motorsports! I think I have discovered a not so new yet extremely interesting format of Motorsports. It is called "Rallycross"and is growing fast as one of the most entertaining form of 'Car Racing'. It started out back in the 80's and has been running ever since. FIA has also been running the World Rallycross Championship for a while, although it hasn't gained much popularity.
The better one is Redbull Global Rallycross Championship and thats the one I am going be talking about here. A little history - it was started in 2009 in USA and has since gained massive popularity as a spectator sport as well. Races are action packed, with multiple cars on the grid battling it out on a tight, twisty track.
The Track - Venue for these races vary from NASCAR circuits to street circuits and are a combination of dirt and asphalt, with a compulsory jump to make things more exciting. The cars used in these events are called 'Rallycross Supercars' and that name is pretty apt, given that some of them can out accelerate some of the faster supercars.
The factory teams competing in this championship include Honda, Subaru, Volkswagen and Ford. Ken Block, Tanner Froust are some of the known rally drivers who are taking part in this series. Cars - the cars used for the championship have a limitation to the size of the engine (2-liter) and a specified turbo that they can use. The engineers and researchers at the OEMs have worked around these regulations for a while now and have now managed to make them churn out a mind - boggling 600HP! This helps these AWD monsters achieve 0-100kmph in less than 2 seconds! The cars are heavily modded Beetles, Fiests STs, WRX STi and the new Civics.
The Format : Qualifying - Like most formats of racing, everything start of with the qualifying for the heats. The grid is divided into small groups and each group gets a 10-minute session to decide the starting grid for the heats.
Heats/Semi Final - Normally, a race weekend consists of either one or two rounds of heats, depending on the number of entrants for that weekend. The heats consist of three sessions of upto five cars each, while the semifinal consists of two sessions with six or more cars. These heats and subsequent semi final have points which are later added to the driver's total championship points. The top three finishers in the semi finals transfer directly to the main event, and this gives their teams time to work on their cars while other continue to compete. All drivers who do not make it into the main event via the semifinals will compete in the last chance qualifier for the final four remaining qualifying spots. Ten cars then compete in the main event.
Start of Race - This is one of the more complicated starts to a race and requires extreme precision by the driver. It is a test of the reflexes and work under pressure skills of the driver. All GRC action begins with a standing start, where drivers are given '30' and '10' second intervals before the green. During that time they must activate launch control systems, including an anti-lag system, all while being ready to launch within a split second's time. The fastest driver in the previous session is given the inside lane to the first corner, which is counted as the pole position.
Joker Lap - This is the most interesting part of the entire format. Each course is has two routes: the main route, and the joker lap route, which each driver must only take ONCE per race. The GRC joker lap route typically shortens the length of the track significantly, forcing a driver to make strategic decisions about when to take it. On one hand, taking it on the first lap allows a driver to get it over with; on the other, waiting until the end of the race can allow a driver to gain positions before the finish. Depending on venue, the joker lap route may have additional obstacles which significantly slow the cars thus making the main route faster. In mid season 2015, GRC made some change to the joker lap, now drivers are not allowed to take the joker lap on the first lap.
Penalty Box - The concept of the Penalty Box was a new addition to the GRC for the 2013 season and was introduced to deal with any on-track infractions done by any driver. This box eliminates the need to red flag a race or restart it. In the event of a jump start or rough driving, offenders will put into a 50-meter lane off track, where they will be stopped until a race steward releases them.
Heres are some videosof the highlights. A treat to watch. [youtube_video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqBxdqbEG1I[/youtube_video] [youtube_video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFZDinelkDU[/youtube_video]
CorsaVeloce RallyCross really looks like fun. Even more fun than Formula 1, because it seems far more challenging, in cars that look similar to street cars. Of course, the level of mods is insane on these cars. This seems like a good format to have in Indian Motorsport as well. Wonder if OEMs would be open to such a championship here.