Olsbergs MSE team boss Andreas Eriksson, a key figure in the development of rallycross in the United States, is paying close attention to the development of IMG‘s new Americas Rallycross series and has expressed an interest in returning to the country in the near future.
The Swedish team won the first four Global Rallycross titles, but pulled out the the series following Honda‘s departure at the end of last season. GRC ultimately folded in the off-season, with ARX taking its place and OMSE returning to World Rallycross full-time.
Following ARX’s maiden round at the SpeedMachine festival at Silverstone last month, Eriksson gave the series – and the event – his seal of approval, and said he’d be willing to return to the US, provided he no longer had to play a leading role in the development of the sport on both sides of the Atlantic.
“I’ve been there helping to start the series since 2009 and obviously I’m very interested to see that it grows,” he told The Checkered Flag. “This time I don’t want to be the leader, I want to be the follower.”
“In America I saw the show was important, I wanted to make sure the show was the key and I really tried to put my European side of competition away and create a show in America,” Eriksson said. “Obviously I’ve been working on both sides of this so I hope someone can come over and I can follow now and see a good growth.”
One of the key developments with American rallycross is the switch to the same regulations as the championships in Europe, a move that Eriksson said he’d been keen to see for many years.
“I’ve been trying to get everyone to work together for the last few years but obviously it’s been hard. I think this event [SpeedMachine] maybe opened peoples eyes to see that we can actually play in the same sandbox and we can have one global sport united everywhere,” he said. “I always said I wanted a mix between GRC and FIA, because the FIA is way to stiff.”
“I lost a lot of money in America over the years and hopefully it wasn’t for nothing,” he added. “So if this can grow to something different, unique, and united with the World championship – that was my dream from the beginning.”
SpeedMachine, which included musical acts, food trucks, and manufacturer displays alongside the World RX, RX2, and ARX track action was the first event of its kind. While ahead of the event it was met with some scepticism by rallycross purists, Eriksson believes that it could set the perfect precedent for what events in the US could become.
“When I look at this event I see a mix between GRC and FIA and that’s maybe what we need to have,” he said. “I’m a genuine racer, I love rallycross, I do this because it’s my passion, but passion is not everything when you’re creating a big show.”
“My belief is America rightly done over the last five years could have been bigger than the world championship had ever been,” Eriksson continued. “I still have my trucks, my shop, my house and everything in America so I hope for the best.”
“I think it’s a turning point for rallycross. There’s a lot of things going on in rallycross right now so it’s very hard to see what the future is but obviously the future is big,” he added. “Exactly how it looks will be determined by everything that happens with electric, America, and so on.”