The RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires, which was previously known as The RX Lites Cup, was presented to the media and fans at the 2017 Autosport International Show in Birmingham.
The support category is a feeder series to the FIA World Rallycross Championship and has seen several past RX2 champions, including Kevin Eriksson, Kevin Hansen and Cyril Raymond, all of whom have gone on to drive Supercars, with success in both the Euro RX and World RX classes.
The RX2 International Series cars are all identical 310bhp, mid-engined, four-wheel drive cars designed by OlsbergsMSE and produced in Turkey in co-operation with Avitas Motorsport. As the series uses controlled spec vehicles, this is designed to provide an affordable platform to showcase the talent of emerging young drivers.
The 2017 Calendar for the RX2 class will take place over three continents and 7 rounds:
Belgium – Mettet – 13 – 14 May
Great Britain – Lydden Hill – 27 – 28 May
Norway – Hell – 10 – 11 June
Sweden – Holjes – 1 – 2 July
Canada – Trois-Rivieres – 5 – 6 August
France – Loheac – 2 – 3 September
South Africa – Cape Town – 11 – 12 November
Sarah McRoberts, Marketing Communications Manager for Cooper Tire Europe, explained both the importance of the series as well as the move to have Cooper Tires as the title sponsor.
“It’s important to us to assist drivers coming up through the ranks, as well as those in the top-flight World Rallycross category. RX2 is now a clear stepping stone to World RX, ” said McRoberts. “We are delighted to be sponsor of the series, which puts the Cooper Tires brand on the podium, on all the cars, and all of the drivers’ suits.”
Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, commented on the move to change the name of the series and why its been so successful in bring young drivers through the ranks.
“We decided to rebrand RX2 at the end of 2016 season to bring it more in line with the World Championship. This year we are making it a truly international series by including rounds in Europe, North America and Africa,” explained Bellamy.
“In 2015, we witnessed Kevin Hansen winning the RX2 series and the following year he stepped up to Supercar and won the FIA European Rallycross Championship which just goes to prove that it is the perfect platform for young drivers to hone their talent before moving up to compete on the world stage.”