The latest season of the Global RallyCross Championship has just kicked off and the action so far has been thick and fast. But going into the future we can look forward to even more GCR goodness, with organizers confirming today that a new Lites class is being introduced.
We first heard of the new Lites class in January, back when organizers were still testing the waters with the idea, but now it’s official, Lites races will support GCR’s top-level Supercars races at all five U.S. legs of the championship in 2013.
The aim of the new series is to provide up-and-coming drivers with a more affordable path into the world of rallycross. It will be a tightly controlled “spec” series, designed with an emphasis on driver skill.
The Lites cars will be built by OlsbergsMSE, which also builds GRC cars for top drivers such as Tanner Foust, Brian Deegan and Marcus Gronholm, and the company’s own drivers have won championships in 2011 and 2012.
The cars will come with a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine developed by OlsbergsMSE and tuning firm Mountune. Peak output will be 310 horsepower (the Supercar class runs 600-horsepower engines) and drive will go to all four wheels via a six-speed sequential transaxle ‘box.
We’ll witness the first Lites race at the first American leg of the 2013 GRC season, which takes place at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire, on July 13.
At the conclusion of the 2013 season, the Lites 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 as well.
If you still don’t have a clue what rallycross is, it’s essentially a blend of circuit racing, off-road racing and rally competition. 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.