It’s that time of year again – Red Bull Global Rally Cross: Los Angeles. This event brings out a very diverse crowd of spectators, from general auto enthusiasts and rally die hards to the X-Games crowd who just wanna see some cars jump some stuff. This year’s event was sponsored by Subaru Technica International – which you Subiefans might know as STi.
Check out our RAW VIDEO from the event HERE:
Subaru brought out their current lineup, including the Subaru BRZ.In addition to the rallycars, Subaru of America also brought out a few time attack racers… but more impressively…
Subaru brought out their INCREDIBLE collection of retired Rally Cars, from the iconic “555” car to the legendary Impreza 22b, they brought out some rare machinery that’d give any rally fan a nosebleed. Some of you interested in rallying might’ve heard of Dirt Fish Rally School back east. They run Imprezas, a BRZ and a fleet of Ford Fiestas to teach folks how to drive fast off road. While most people think of the WRX when it comes to rallying, over at DirtFish, they teach the essentials in the RWD BRZ as well. This is a new color from Subaru, which we’re told is called Sonic Blue. The color looks amazing on the Subaru BRZ, and the STI wheels on the BRZ are a big improvement over the rather icky stock wheels. Of course, it wouldn’t be fitting if Subaru didn’t bring out their latest generation rally car – and the #75 car here is a stellar example of the modern WRC car – which are somewhat different than the hardware racing here at Red Bull GRC.
One of the more unusual things on display was the Volkswagen Beetle RWB Concept inspired by Tanner Foust, with the signature TF flourish emblazoned on the hood. Leave it to RWB to give the present generation VW Beetle the bulging curves it needed to actually look like a VW Beetle again.
The SS Lane Victory, a WWII Merchant Marine ship, played host to VIP Hospitality and made for both an epic backdrop and viewing spot for the day’s races.We arrived in time for Last Chance Qualifying in Supercars class, with Patrik Sandell’s Kobalt GRC Fiesta managing to hustle out of the bottom all the way into 4th overall in Sunday’s Supercars rankings.
We picked a great spot for watching the race, right next to the bridge that gave most cars a decent amount of airtime. It’s great to see diversity again in Supercars class with Subarus, Volkswagens, Hyundais, Chevys and Fords all running these tight courses. Since they’re running side by side, it’s safe to assume there’s going to be some contact between cars, so they’re beefed up to deal with some rubbing against another car more than the average rally car.
Super Street Magazine is campaigning an AWD converted, 600HP Veloster in this year’s championship – the Veloster certainly brings some variety to the field. Steve Arpin’s ENEOS Fiesta ST looked great on track as well.
In GRC Lites class, it’s a SPEC racing class where all the cars are loosely based on a Ford Fiesta mk7 with a mid-engine, rear drive configuration and half the power of the supercars class, this driver development series is also a blast to watch.
After the LITES guys ran, it was then time for the GRC Supercars class finals.
We caught Ken Block coming out of the tunnel on one lap, though we actually didn’t see his car much. Seeing VW Beetles hauling ass is definitely unsettling. As we said earlier, the SS Lane Victory is an awesome backdrop for the race.
After the Supercars class quit running, we headed for the pits to poke around the rally car paddocks.
The DirtFish guys brought out their own racing simulator, just like the one we have here, so spectators could virtually get behind the wheel and try their hand at driving a rally car!
The DirtFish guys really practice what they preach, sending one of their instructors, Tanner Whitten, out in their own racecar to show off the skills they promise to teach at their rally school.
Steve Arpin hugs a team member after wrapping up the day’s racing.The RIVER VR Fiesta is one of only a few female drivers in the series, and it’s nice to see racing isn’t a “Boys Only” sport anymore. While there’s always going to be jokes about “women drivers”, it’s worth noting that women have much faster reaction times than men.
We happened to be in the right place at the right time, as Brian Deegan and Patrik Sandell brought their winning Fiesta ST’s into the TECH tent for post-race weigh outs, giving us a chance to get up close and personal with the cars and drivers- moreso than we can once they’re back at their paddocks.
After a hard race, the cars always look worse for the wear. What, you think you can jump cars and land them without taking some damage?
Of all the drivers at the event this weekend, we were really surprised how personal and accessible Tanner Foust was to fans. While personally we don’t care for his on screen persona, he genuinely struck us as a cool guy, taking the time to talk to fans, sign stuff and take pictures while hanging out at TECH.
Brian Deegan was also very personable and stopped to chat with fans as well.
We caught Austin Dyne pulling his Fiesta ST back into the pits, snagging this epic shot of the car in the pits with PORT OF LOS ANGELES framed perfectly behind it. Unfortunately, Austin Dyne didn’t make it out of Last Chance Qualifying, getting knocked out at the last moment.
The defeat didn’t seem to dampen spirits much for Dyne, who posed with his crew for a group photo.
All in all, we had a great time at RedBull GRC Los Angeles – courtesy of our friends at SoCal Ford – we hope you enjoyed checking out the gallery. One of the Lites guys we’ve been following is Alex Fernandez, who we’ve been watching since last year. This year’s run looked cleaner than last, so we reckon Alex will get bumped to supercars before too much longer.
We hope your enjoyed reading this and invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, we’ll see you next time.
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Story & Photos by Nicholas Gregson