A new “Americas Rallycross” is launching this season and taking some of the main teams from Red Bull Global Rallycross, which has been the top rallycross series in the U.S. since its first 2011 season. But, uh, about this new “Americas” series—the start of its season is in Britain.
Autosport reports that Americas Rallycross, launched by the organizer of both the World Rallycross and the nearly five-decade-old European Rallycross championships, will start its race season in Britain this May before heading to Canada, its first North American date, a few months later. Of the series’ four events this year, three of their locations have been announced: Britain, Canada and Texas.
Information on the fourth date isn’t out yet. All three of the announced events will happen during World RX race weekends at Silverstone Circuit in the U.K., a street circuit in Quebec, and Circuit of The Americas in Austin, so this first year sounds like a type of soft launch in front of an expected crowd—with “Americas Rallycross” acting as another class in areas other than, well, America at times.
Those expected race crowds are probably the reason the organizer, IMG, wants Americas Rallycross alongside World RX most of this year, but it’s still weird to launch a series with “America” in its name and predominantly race it elsewhere.
Either way, this starts putting some of the pieces together about Red Bull GRC’s year so far. The series made a seemingly random and unexpected announcement in February that it would change its top class from “Supercars” to “Gold” just over three months before the start of the season. This new “Gold” class would be an upgraded version of the spec car used in GRC’s developmental Lites class.
The move was “designed to tighten up the field,” and “highlight the skills of the drivers,” according to the announcement. It also said GRC will have a new top tier in 2019 with purpose-built cars, the Platinum class.
But that seemed odd, especially with top teams leaving GRC. Subaru Rally Team USA told Jalopnik it wouldn’t return to GRC this year after making its 2018 GRC driver lineup public in October, and Autosport reports it will race in Americas Rallycross this year. Honda and the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team also told Jalopnik they were out of GRC.
Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, which has won the last three GRC Supercars titles with Scott Speed, didn’t get back to Jalopnik on GRC plans, but Autosport reports that it’s also entered Americas Rallycross. Speed and Tanner Foust will move with it, Autosport reports. The team still has a GRC page on its website.
Americas Rallycross will have a Supercars and developmental Lites class just as GRC did before this year, but an official series entry list isn’t out yet. One thing working against Americas Rallycross is its mere four race weekends compared to GRC’s seven this year, and it isn’t known yet whether there would be multiple races per weekend. GRC’s 2018 season has 12 races total.
But Americas Rallycross’ schedule will grow over the years, IMG’s managing director of motorsports Paul Bellamy told Autosport:
“ARX is a very exciting opportunity to use our experience from World RX to grow the sport in the Americas.
“We see huge potential in ARX and will work closely with all key stakeholders and possible new venues to develop ARX into a major championship over the next few years.”
Hopefully those new venues won’t be somewhere else, since this is a series for the “Americas.”
Correction: This story originally called the new series “American Rallycross.” That and the headline have been changed, as have mentions of the lack of American, not North American, dates. We sincerely regret the error.