Loeb will come fully prepared for the race with a specially built rally car developed by Citroën Racing. The Citroën DS3 XL (X Games + Loeb) will feature a 2.0-liter engine producing 545 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque as well as a slightly different design than Loeb's WRC-spec ride with the radiator moved to the rear of the car and the spare tire removed.
While Loeb will undoubtedly be the favorite going into the event, you can be sure that the rest of the regular Global RallyCross field – including Tanner Foust, Ken Block and former WRC champion Marcus Grönholm – will be doing their best to make it hard on the WRC driver.
You can watch footage of Pastrana's invite and Loeb's response in the videos below, or scroll down to read the official announcement regarding Loeb's entry into the X Games courtesy of Red Bull.
It all started when Red Bull, a Citroën Total World Rally Team partner since 2008, came up with an idea: what if Citroën Racing and Sébastien Loeb took part in the X Games Los Angeles 2012 and took on Travis Pastrana, another icon supported by the drink that gives you wings? Citroën and its leading driver were drawn to the idea and the challenge of battling it out in the west, and wasted no time in taking up the gauntlet.
Eight-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb has 71 career wins at 23 different rallies, as far apart as Sweden and Australia, and including Mexico, Japan and Jordan. The prospect of racing in a new setting does not therefore bother him in the slightest: "I love racing and I'm always interested in trying out new categories. A week after the New Zealand Rally has finished, I'll be in Los Angeles to take up the challenge set for me by Travis! Rallycross here in Europe provides some very spectacular racing, but the American version seems to be even more extreme. So, I didn't need to be asked twice when the opportunity arose to race against drivers like Marcus Grönholm in a 545bhp Citroën DS3!"
To maximise its chances of winning, Citroën Racing has developed a very special DS3 called XL, as in X Games and Loeb! Based on a car built by Hansen Motorsport, the seven-time World Rally Championship-winning team has introduced a healthy dose of Créative Technologie by making a series of modifications. "It's always exciting to try out a new category and attempt to get the most out of the regulations," confirmed Cyrille Jourdan, lead engineer for the project at Citroën Racing. "From a distance, the Rallycross DS3 looks quite similar to the WRC. Although the design of the chassis and suspension systems are fairly similar, the powertrain is fundamentally different. The DS3 XL's two-litre turbo engine develops 545bhp and 800Nm of torque. Its acceleration isn't far off that of an F1 car, covering 0 to 62mph in 2.4 seconds!"
Compared with a rally car, the lack of co-driver and spare wheels means the engineers are required to rework the weight distribution. "That's why the water radiator has been moved into the boot," continued Jourdan. "The main visual difference between the WRC and the XL is the addition of cooling vents in the rear wings. This alteration is designed to achieve improved performance at the start, which is the most crucial phase in rallycross."
After completing final preparations in Citroën Racing's Versailles workshops, Citroën DS3 XL was put through its paces by Sébastien Loeb at the Dreux racetrack: "With four-wheel drive and the extra power, this DS3 really does go at some speed! We used these test sessions to try out a few different set-up options. However, we know that the American racetracks are very different and we'll therefore have to adapt the car to the conditions there very quickly."
Set up on the Gilbert Lindsay Plaza, right next to the Staples Center which hosts the other X Games events, the temporary circuit features loose dirt portions and a jump of over 20 metres!
Aside from the prospect of taking part in what is undoubtedly a fun, spectator-oriented event, Citroën Racing and Loeb are determined to fight to win the race. "We were fully aware of the importance that Red Bull attaches to the X Games Los Angeles when we agreed to take part. Once we had actually committed to the project, we prepared for the event with the utmost seriousness," confirmed Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Director. "As it's a one-off event for us, we don't have to worry about managing our position in the championship. There's only one race and we are really determined to try and win it. It won't be easy because it will all be new to us, compared with our rivals who are used to this type of racing, but we'll be fighting every inch of the way!"
ABOUT CITROËN RACING
Based in Versailles (France) and with some 210 employees, Citroën Racing is the entity responsible for managing the brand's involvement in motorsport. After winning five rally-raid titles in the 1990s, Citroën made its debut in the World Rally Championship in 2001. The brand secured its first Manufacturers' World Championship title in 2003. Six other titles followed in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. In the Drivers' World Championship, Sébastien Loeb has won eight consecutive titles between 2004 and 2011. After Xsara WRC (2001-2006) and C4 WRC (2007- 2010), Citroën Racing began using DS3 WRCs at the start of the 2011 season. This year, the Citroën Total World Rally Team has two works crews, Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen. Citroën's involvement in the WRC is completed by the Qatar World Rally Team (Nasser Al-Attiyah/Giovanni Bernacchini) and the Citroën Junior World Rally Team (Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul). Citroën Racing also develops customer racing products such as DS3 R3, and sports versions of production cars, such as DS3 Racing.
ABOUT THE GLOBAL RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP AND X GAMES LOS ANGELES
Imported from Europe at the X Games Los Angeles 2010, American rallycross has developed extremely quickly in the last couple of years. In 2011, the first Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) was organised, featuring three events. In 2012, the GRC has five rounds, including the X Games Los Angeles, which marks the halfway stage of the season. Races are run on mixed-surface tracks (dirt/gravel and tarmac) that are around 1,000 metres long. There are two heats, contested over four laps, which determine the line-up on the start grid for the final, which lasts five laps. In each race, the drivers must complete a "Joker Lap", which followed a different, longer, section of the track, featuring a jump of over 20 metres. This encourages overtaking and keeps the fans on the edge of their seats. The 'Olympics of extreme sports', the X Games have been organised since 1994. The BMX, motocross, skateboard and rallycross competitions are broadcast in full by ESPN in over 170 countries.