Indy teams set for home race

by Dominik Wilde

Red Bull Global Rallycross‘ hotly anticipated first visit to Indianapolis this weekend will be the home town event for no few than four teams.

Three Supercars teams – Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, Bryan Herta Rallysport, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan – and reigning Lites champions Dreyer & Reinbold are all based in the town, and all have a number of years experience in IndyCar racing.

Indianapolis has played host to a number of major motorsports events over the years, with IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula 1, MotoGP, and even the Red Bull Air Race all visiting the city in the past; but perhaps unusually, a rallycross event has never taken place there.

“True to rallycross form, we’re bringing the racing to a whole new group of fans with the new tour stop in Indianapolis,” said Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross driver Tanner Foust. “It’s a town very familiar with racing, but it will be the first time fans in Indy will see rallycross live.”

“I always love when racing fans see rallycross for the first time, because they’re always so shocked at the excitement and speed of the cars,” he added. “This event has a bit of a different vibe though, since it’s the home of Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross. Our teams of mechanics and engineers will have family and friends present, so I’ll get to see the kids and families we’ve heard a lot about and signed autographs for over the past few years.”

Credit: Louis Yio/Red Bull GRC

Foust’s team mate Scott Speed hasn’t finished on the top step of the podium since the season opener, but he’s hoping to return to the winner’s circle this weekend.

“Indy is the home of Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, with a lot of family and friends here to support us,” said defending two-time champion. “I’m excited to bring GRC to Indy and show the ‘Racing Capital of the World’ what our sport has to offer. I know we will be fast and have a great shot for the win.”

Bryan Herta‘s team is aligned with Andretti in IndyCar, but is a rival in Red Bull GRC. Rookie driver Cabot Bigham took his first heat win for the team at the previous event in Ottawa and Herta is confident the reigning Lites champion can make another step forward in Indianapolis.

Credit: Louis Yio/Red Bull GRC

“Cabot has had a great rookie season to date, and scored his first win in a heat race at the last round so we are expecting a very exciting and competitive weekend,” said Herta.

“Indy is the home of speed,” he added, “so it is great news that the Red Bull Global Rallycross series has added an event here for 2017.  Indy is also home to our team so I know everyone is excited to race in front of friends and family for a change.”

The track layout at the Lucas Oil Raceway for this weekend is an unusual one, utilising most of the permanent oval layout of the facility and Bigham is excited about the challenges the track will pose.

“The track looks like a lot of fun.” he said. “I’ve been to Lucas Oil Raceway once before to watch the ‘Night before Indy’ races, so I know a little about how to take the oval.”

“For Round seven, we’re only running about half of the oval and then the rest of the track is composed of a lot of the dirt,” he added. “This track has all the elements of a rally race because of the amount of dirt and sand along with the limited amount of asphalt. With all that in mind I’m excited to see what this #2 Bryan Herta Rallysport car can do this weekend.”

Credit: Louis Yio/Red Bull GRC

Austin Dyne, who like Bigham drives an M-Sport Ford Fiesta ST, has been steadily improving throughout the year as Rahal Letterman Lanigan compete in their first rallycross season. He’s looking forward to racing in Indianapolis for the first time in his professional career.

“It’s pretty cool to be racing in Indy. I have never raced here before except in a charity karting race,” Dyne said. “I’ve been coming here as a little kid to watch the Indy 500 and back when F1 came here.”

“This track definitely suits me pretty good with the oval section but the inside seems good too,” he continued. “We’ll see when we get there but the team is working so well with each other and the goal is to get podiums and wins for the rest of the season. I’m pretty proud of the effort of everyone and now we’re improving the car after every race.”

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