Sebastian Saavedra will become the latest in a long line of single seater converts to race in Red Bull Global Rallycross this weekend when he makes his series début at the Phoenix double header season opener.
Driving the number 77 Ford Fiesta, the Colombian also joins an exclusive club of former open wheel stars to pilot the car in Red Bull GRC.
Former-Formula One driver Scott Speed made his Red Bull GRC bow in 2013 at X Games Brazil in Foz do Iguaçu driving the ‘Star Car’ – An entry that was intended to feature a different guest driver from the wider motorsport world at each round. Speed hit the ground running in the car, taking a remarkable win on his first time out, passing eventual 2013 champion Toomas Heikkenen in the closing stages of the race to win.
That strong first race saw Speed remain in the ‘Star Car’ for the duration of the year, and he took another win in Charlotte to claim fifth in the final standings.
A move to Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross followed, and after finishing third in 2014, he took his first championship crown last year.
The 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion has made a name for himself trying a range of different motorsport disciplines in recent years. In 2011 he made the move into NHRA Pro-Stock drag racing, and in 2014 he entered the Indianapolis 500 and the Race of Champions. But perhaps not as well known to most was that he tested Scott Speed’s race winning car in 2013 – on the same weekend Speed was victorious in Charlotte.
While a Red Bull GRC start has yet to happen for Bush, he has been seen in the paddock since, and adding a rallycross shaped string to his bow remains a future possibility.
Logan Gomez was no stranger to the Red Bull GRC paddock prior to his series début in Washington DC last year. The Indy Lights race winner, and holder of the narrowest victory in motorsport history, was not only part of the track build crew for the two years beforehand, but he had also played the role of Austin Dyne’s spotter for the first part of the 2015 season.
The capital city event saw Gomez take the former Olsbergs #77 Ford to eleventh place just missing out on making the main event by a single position.
Saavedra, another Indy Lights race winner, will be the latest driver to get behind the wheel of the #77 Fiesta this weekend when he lines up at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park for the first two rounds of the 2016 Red Bull GRC season. Backed by series tyre supplier BF Goodrich, Saavedra will be one of four former open wheel drivers (along with Scott Speed, Joni Wiman, and Jeff Ward) on track in the Supercars category.
Speaking ahead of his début in Phoenix, the Colombian said: “As any driver I have the mentality to excel in any thing I try, but I’m realistic. I’ll be driving a car that’s 6 years old and I personally have no experience on gravel or jumps as most of these guys do. We’ll give it hell.”
“There’s opportunities to do more than this one, all will be decided after the weekend,” he added.