A rip-roaring rally round trip from Florida to Vegas.
The Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) held in the US sees top drivers come together with top materials. Rally vehicle virtuosos such as Tanner Foust, Travis Pastrana and Ken Block do battle in 600 hp racing cars, whipping the fans up into a frenzy in the process. The GRC is not for the faint-hearted – the drivers play hardball on the circuits made of both gravel and asphalt. And unsurprisingly, many of the drivers come to the GRC having first earned their spurs in other extreme sports such as BMX racing and skateboarding. Each GRC team comprises two vehicles.
GRC vehicles are technically based on production compact cars, but the only things that they have in common are the model names and the bodywork shape. These vehicles generate around 600 hp on all four wheels and can go from 0 to 100 km/h in under two seconds. They have no traction control system, and they feature a roll cage and various bodywork reinforcements, to withstand not only be bumped by their opponents, but also to cope with jumps of up to 30 metres.
A GRC event consists of a qualifying session, four individual races and a final.
The field of starters is divided into small groups for the qualifying process, with each group competing for ten minutes in an attempt to achieve the fastest lap time.
The individual races then consist of six laps and are contested by four vehicles in each case. The top two finishers in each race qualify for the final, and each winner also picks up a bonus point for the championship rankings. The drivers who fail to qualify for the final in the individual races then compete in the ‘last chance qualifier’, with two more spaces in the final up for grabs. The final therefore features ten entrants in total.
Championship points are awarded to the top 16 places in a GRC event as follows: 20–17–15–13–12–11–10–9–8–7–6–5–4–3–2–1.
The ‘joker lap’ is a specific GRC feature. This is a short cut which must be taken once per race by every driver. It is up to the drivers to decide when to take their joker lap during a race. Adopting the right tactics is therefore essential: with a little luck, a driver can either shake off the rest of the pack right at the start of the race, or can maybe move up the field shortly before the end of the race, pipping their opponents to the post in the process.
Drivers who fail to behave on the track have to face the consequences: if you break the rules (for example by starting too early or with very unsporting behaviour during the race), you are required to park your vehicle on a 50-metre stretch of track next to the circuit – where you then stay until the race organisers release you back into the race.