It’s been record-settingly hot all week in Southern California at ModBargains, and yet this Sunday, the weather for Red Bull Global Rallycross Los Angeles could not have been nicer. Ken Block’s been exploiting how photogenic port areas are, especially given their huge plots of paved land, perfect for Hoonage. Terminal Island and the Port of Los Angeles have historically been home to both a Ford Manufacturing plant and the Terminal Island Raceway – today we find ourselves in an impromptu Rallycross circuit, built right in the heart of the Port of Los Angeles.
The waterfront setting kept the event cool and also made for a great backdrop for the event.
Two classes of cars were running the course Sunday – Supercars, and Lites. It’s interesting to note that the Supercars are the most closely related to the street cars you and I drive – the Ford Fiesta ST Rally Cars, Hyundai Veloster Rallycar and VW Polo & Beetle are all still built off the street cars you and I might buy at the dealership, mind you, only with 600hp and an AWD drivetrain bolted to the underside of the floor pans.
And on the other side of the fence we found this customized Focus ST from DRAGG – Drag Racers Against Gangs & Graffiti, notably boasting a set of Fifteen52 Turbomac Focus ST Wheels.
Over at the #SoCalFord booth, Rally Innovations brought out their Race-Room customized Ford Transit Connect, set up with race simulator seats not unlike what we have in the customer lounge at Mod Auto.
As we made our way towards the course, we caught a glimpse of Ken Block’s #43 car as it made its way from the pits to the track.
We mentioned earlier that cars like Ken Block’s Fiesta ST above in the Supercars class are still based on the production cars, the engine’s still in the same place, the frame is the same as what you’d get from the dealer. Step down to the “Lites” class, however, and the story changes completely. Though the “Lites” cars bear a resemblance to a Fiesta, they’re about as much Fiesta as your mom’s Toyota Camry has in common with a NASCAR “Camry”.
Instead of a cargo bay, out back you find supercar pushrod style coilover suspension like you’d see in a Zonda or Koenigsegg, with a 300hp turbo four packed into the space where the back seat used to be.
As opposed to Supercars, where the cars themselves do have some variance, Lites is more of a “Spec” class with an emphasis on driver skill and serves as a Feeder for GRC, much like GP2 feeds Formula One. It’s a great place to develop a new driver, but I have to wonder about the logic of putting the newbies in the cars with a more sophisticated suspension and chassis.
What was really cool was that all of the drivers in the Lites class were findable in their pits and excited to come talk to spectators about their cars and sign autographs – these guys were humble and accessible, so if you are at a GRC event, say hi to these up and comers!
Of course, we didn’t come here to see tube frame cars- we came here to see modded-to-hell versions of the cars we’d find in the parking lot (the Polo excluded, since we don’t sell that here) – check out these photos from the pits of the Supercars class drivers.
Tanner Foust’s AWD Beetle spent the majority of the day looking like this, it never made the track.
As Nelson Piquet Jr (above) headed towards the starting grid, so did we for the final race of the weekend.
After several heats, Rhys Millen came out on top in the Hyundai Veloster, with Ken Block coming in 2nd with Joni Wiman in 3rd, both in Fiestas. The event wasn’t overly long, the racing was interesting, dramatic and easy to follow. If the Red Bull Global Rallycross is coming to a venue near you, if you’re into rally cars or turbocharged performance, these are just your speed.
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Thanks for reading, we’ll see you next time.
If you have questions about modifying your Fiesta, Focus or Veloster, or aren’t sure how to best upgrade, we invite you to call our friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiasticModification Experts at 714-582-3330 or chat live at www.modbargains.com
Story & Photos by Nicholas Gregson