Chris Atkinson blog: Beginnings in rallycross


Credit: Lars Gange/Subaru Rally Team USA

Although I had been keeping an eye on rallycross for a few years as it has grown globally, I am still in a little shock as to how quickly I have gone from just having a test of a rallycross car to now racing full time.

I first visited a GRC round in 2014, catching up with a few people I knew, and also briefly visited the Subaru Rally Team USA service, saying hi to some of my old WRC friends who had made the switch across to rallycross and were working there.

You could see rallycross was the future and the cars seemed awesome, but nothing really evolved from a driving side. I continued to focus on my rally career, where I was competing in Asia.

When I was approached by SRT USA and STI to come and test the car last year, I jumped at the chance. I think I was excited to just have a go in a proper rallycross supercar. Although they are similar to a World Rally car, the engine performance is on another planet, rally cars are heavily restricted to control the power, but not in rallycross.

Chris Atkinson made his Red Bull GRC début in Atlantic City last year – Credit: Lars Gange/Subaru Rally Team USA

The first time I went [and] accelerated hard in the car, I nearly went off at the first corner. The cars just keep accelerating and you just keep picking gears… it’s very cool. Like anything, you adapt and try and figure out the best way to drive the cars.

Where 2016 was really just a taste of rallycross, with the main focus on continuing the development of the Subaru STI Supercar, now 2017 is the real deal, a full championship to focus on. With a lot of new event locations in 2017, teams will really have to be sharp when they arrive at events. You have so little time to dial in the cars, it is important to have a good base setup and be able to adapt quickly.

For me, it’s also cool that we get to bring GRC to so many new cities and fans. This will only help grow the sport, and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.

Let’s get 2017 started!

ATKO

Credit: Lars Gange/Subaru Rally Team USA