While many motorsports sanctioning bodies are looking for ways to shrink and save, Rally America, Inc., the premier sanctioning body for performance rally competition in North America, is expanding and growing.
Rally America today announced three European-style rally cross events in 2010. The three events will be run as exhibition events in 2010 but there may be more on the calendar in 2011.
European-style rally cross combines disciplines from road racing, short-course off-road racing and X Games-style rally car racing. It’s the action sport of motor racing.
“We’ve experienced dramatic growth in spectator interest the past three years,” said J.B. Niday, managing director for Rally America, Inc. “We’re confident American rally spectators would like to add this wheel-to-wheel competition to their plate of national championship rallying. Our championship is among the most respected in the world. This will make it more so. It’s a logical move for the growth of rally here in the United States.”
All three Rally America events will take place in the fall of 2010 at New Jersey Motor Sports Park in Millville, NJ. The course will be a combination of pavement and gravel surfaces totaling about one mile in length. It will include jumps, un-banked turns, hills and transitions between pavement and gravel that promise to unsettle the cars and drivers. The three-minute sprint heats will see competition between six cars on the track at once. The winners advance through the day to the main event finale. It promises extreme challenges and extreme excitement for spectators and drivers alike.
The rally cross format is extremely popular in Europe. You can experience the excitement through on-demand video highlights at http://www.Rally-America.com.
There will be two classes of cars in Rally America’s initial year of competition. The faster, all-wheel-drive cars will resemble those used in current Rally America competition including the AWD Subarus used by four-time American rally champion Travis Pastrana and Internet gymkhana video star Ken Block. The second category of rally cross cars will be two-wheel-drive. That includes the various body styles from manufacturers such as Ford, Mitsubishi, Dodge and Honda boasting 450+ horsepower, highly modified engines and rally-style suspension.
Both categories include vehicles currently being used in the Rally America National Rally Championship. There will be one departure; rally cross is a driver-only competition. There’s no need for a co-driver to help navigate the car around the one-mile course.
“The Rally America National Championship has experienced constant growth in the past couple of years,” Niday continued. “The sport of rally cross has taken place successfully in Europe for many years and draws tens of thousands of spectators to each and every event. The excitement of wheel-to-wheel racing action for high-powered rally cars should work well here in the United States as it takes place on a closed-loop course that allows spectators to take in all the high-speed racing action from a single vantage point.”