They'll be driving a Ford Fiesta ST prepped by Olsbergs MSE, a Swedish builder that supplies four of the 20 GRC teams including two-time champion Tanner Foust. They have 310 horsepower compared to 600 hp in the Supercars, all-wheel drive and a six-speed sequential transmission. Ordered directly from Olsbergs, they'll run you $165,000 if you're one of the first ten teams to purchase one, after that they'll be $185,000.
The overall Lites-class winner gets a Supercar drive with Olsbergs MSE in the year-ending Rallycross Battle of the Champs, the top three finishers get Supercar tests like the Young Driver Test in Formula One held at the end of the season. There's a press release below with more info as well as a two videos of Geoff Sykes and Tanner Whitten testing the Lites car earlier this year.
Los Angeles, Calif., May 6, 2013 – Global Rallycross (GRC) is pleased to announce GRC Lites, a new rallycross class that will support the series' wildly popular Supercars class at all US races in 2013.
"We want to provide a place for our next generation of star drivers," said GRC Founder Chip Pankow. "The GRC Lites class is the perfect training ground for any driver who wants to get started in rallycross and it will provide them exposure to all of our fans."
GRC Lites is a tightly controlled "spec" class, designed with an emphasis on driver skill. Built by top rallycross preparer OlsbergsMSE, Lites produce just over half the power of the top Supercar vehicles and are designed to be more manageable for developing star drivers.
Global Rallycross Supercar driver and reigning champion, Tanner Foust, has tested the GRC Lites car and commented, "The GRC Lites cars are a great addition to the Global Rallycross lineup. They're challenging to drive yet incredibly capable cars that will carry as much speed as the supercars through some corners and the additional races on the track during the race day will certainly add to the entertainment factor for the fans."
"The racing is going to be close, since all cars conform to the same specification, and driving talent will be the deciding factor in these races," said OlsbergsMSE CEO Andreas Eriksson, who worked with GRC to develop the class. "There is no better place than GRC Lites competitions to learn the sport."
GRC Lites cars are purpose-built racers that are fast, nimble, and exciting to watch. They are all-wheel drive and capable of handling the jumps, door-to-door combat and surface changes of a typical rallycross course. The class will run as a support series on the same courses as the Supercars at all US GRC events, with the Last Chance Qualifiers and Finals expected to run immediately before the main Supercar races.
"GRC Lites continues the growth of Global Rallycross and will provide the perfect venue for drivers to hone their rallycross skills infront of our thousands of spectators," said GRC CEO Colin Dyne.
At the conclusion of the 2013 season, the GRC Lites series champion will be awarded a drive in an OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST Supercar and the top three finishers in the championship will receive a Supercar test with OlsbergsMSE.
Rallycross is a blend of circuit racing, off-road racing and rally competition. It promises intense, crowd-pleasing action in a fan-friendly track environment. As many as 10 drivers line up to start at once, piloting high-horsepower compact cars through race traffic over a challenging short course that features jumps, unbanked turns and changing track and surface conditions that can include dirt, gravel, and wet and dry tarmac.
GRC introduced the sport to the United States with the first event held at X Games in 2010. For the past two years, the series has been limited to top-spec Supercars, which are production-based, turbocharged, all-wheel drive vehicles that produce 600 horsepower and go 0-60 in two seconds. The OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites are the only other vehicles homologated for GRC competition.
Technical partners include AEM (electronics and engine controls), Motegi Racing (wheels), Mountune (engine), Avitas Motorsport (chassis and bodywork), Sadev (transmission and driveline components) and OlsbergsMSE.
- Engine 2.4 Liter Duratech built by Mountune/Olsbergs
- Crankshaft Forged steel
- Pistons Forged
- Camshafts Mountune/Olsbergs design and manufacture
- Engine Management AEM Infinity
- Horsepower (bhp) 310
- Torque (lb ft) 220
- Transmission Sadev BV5 4×4 Central Transaxle sequential
- Gears 6 forward, 1 reverse
- Driveshaft Sadev
- Propshaft Sadev
- Maximum torque (lb ft) 660
- Brakes Alcon 4-piston calipers with 330mm discs f + r
- Handbrake Sadev WRC version
- Dampers Őhlins TTX44 twin tube with Progressive Damping System
- Wheels Motegi Racing forged lightweight rallycross