Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Travis Pastrana is back to chase team mate David Higgins, while Subaru Rallycross team set out to reclaim their lost greatness.
Posted by Rally World News at Wednesday, July 06, 2016
Monday, July 4, 2016
This is the full lap video Mark Higgins record shattering lap of the Isle of Man TT Course in a Prodrive prepared 2016 Subaru WRX STI Time Attack car broke the lap record two weeks ago on the fabled 37-mile Isle of Man TT Road Course with an average lap speed of 128.73 mph and a time of 17 minutes and 35 seconds. This breaks the previous record held by Higgins of 116.47 mph and a time of 19 minutes and 26 seconds. The video is available on Subaru of America’s YouTube channel under the title: 2016 Subaru WRX STI Isle of Man TT – Flat out.
For the 2016 car, Subaru of America decided to create a purpose- built car that could tackle the arduous TT Course, which is similar in style to both the Nürburgring and Le Mans in the demands it puts on suspension and engines. It called upon the joint expertise of Prodrive for the design and build, and Subaru Technica International for technical assistance. Both have an extensive history in building and designing winning cars. Prodrive and Subaru have won three World Rally Championship Manufacturer titles together and three World Rally Championship driver titles. Prodrive also has experience running team Aston Martin in the FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24-Hour race. STI has experience designing great road course cars, designing the back-to-back class-winner at the 2015 and 2016 Nürburgring 24-Hour Races
HÖLJES, SWEDEN, JULY 4, 2016 — Hoonigan Racing Division’s Andreas Bakkerud continued on his streak of making World Rallycross history by winning this past weekend’s event in Höljes, Sweden. The win marks the first-ever back-to-back win for the all-new Ford Focus RS RX rallycross car, as well as the first-ever back-to-back win in World RX for Hoonigan Racing Division.
Both Bakkerud and teammate/team boss Ken Block had strong outings at the start of the event in open practice with Bakkerud placing 3rd fastest and Block 4th fastest. However during Saturday’s Qualifying 1 races, both drivers struggled a bit. While Block finished Q1 just inside of the top 12 sitting 11th, Bakkerud suffered two punctures and some mechanical damage, forcing a DNF result. However, in spite of the challenges, Bakkerud went out for Qualifying 2 and finished 2nd overall, placing him in P7 going into Sundays Q3 and Q4 races. Block suffered windshield visibility issues in his Q2 race and unfortunately dropped out of the top 12 heading into Sunday’s racing.
Sunday saw Bakkerud on top form for the “Magic Weekend” as it’s called in Höljes, Sweden. He finished Qualifying 3 in 2nd overall and then outright won all of Qualifying 4, placing him on Pole Position for Semi Final 2. Block attempted to recover from the setbacks of Saturday’s racing, but was unable to break back into the top 12 despite having a very solid Q4 showing (track conditions were once more a factor as Block’s race all ran on rain tires and as conditions improved thereafter, subsequent races ran on slicks making for a large time differential between the first Q4 race and the final Q4 race, pushing Block out of the top 12), narrowly missing out on the Semi Finals.
For Semi Final 2, Bakkerud led off of the line and held that lead for the entire Semi. This netted him a Pole Position for the Final. During the Final, Bakkerud was narrowly beaten off the line going into Turn 1, but drove a tidy and blisteringly fast race despite having 9 time WRC Champion Sebastien Loeb on this rear bumper the entire way. He managed to take the overall lead by jokering on the last lap, squeezing past Timmy Hansen and nabbing the checkered flag in 1st overall in the final in front of 44,000 fans.
“I absolutely had an incredible event here in Höljes,” said Bakkerud. “I love this track, I love the fans, I love my Baby Blue supporters, my Hoonigan Racing Division team and especially this Ford Focus RS RX! It’s a dream to be able to win three weeks ago at my home event in Norway and then extend that streak her in Sweden, which feels like a second home to me. It’s incredible!”
The win in Sweden marks the 4th-ever podium in Höljes for Bakkerud and his 2nd-ever outright win at the track. The points he earned also moved him into 3rd place overall in the drivers championship with a 110 total points (Ekström sits first with 142, Solberg second with 137).
“I’m beyond proud of Andreas and his driving here this weekend,” said teammate and team boss Ken Block. “We brought Andreas onto this team this year for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest ones was because we knew he could drive like this. To have him bring home back-to-back wins with this brand-new racecar that we’re still developing is a testament to how skilled he is behind the wheel. And to move up into 3rd overall in the driver championship points with half of the season to go is a huge accomplishment. I wish I could have had a similar weekend myself, I had the speed, I just needed a bit more luck. But, that’s racing.”
Both Bakkerud and Block next compete in Round 7 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Canada, August 6th and 7th.
Thursday, March 3, 2016
DEARBORN, Mich., March 2, 2016 – Ford’s RS competition legacy continues this season for a new generation of motorsports fans.
Teased at the conclusion of Ken Block’s Gymkhana EIGHT released earlier this week, Ford Performance confirms Block’s Hoonigan Racing Division team will field two factory-supported 2016 Ford Focus RS race cars in the FIA World Rallycross Championship.
“RS is a worldwide brand with a rich heritage that motorsports enthusiasts know and love,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “Our RS badge has a natural connection to racing, and we have a passionate, dedicated team on the project. We’re excited to honor the history of Rallye Sport by pushing every aspect of performance and design to the limit.”
For more than 50 years, Ford Performance’s Rallye Sport badge has been reserved for racing and production vehicles that push the limits of performance and innovation. Known for aggressive design and pioneering technology, Ford vehicles wearing the RS badge have seen success for decades in stage rally series including winning participation in FIA World Rally Championship with drivers like Björn Waldegård, Marcus Grönholm, Mikko Hirvonen and Colin McRae.
The Focus RS build is a global collaboration between Ford Performance, Block’s Hoonigan Racing Division and U.K.-based M-Sport. Featuring all-wheel drive, a new EcoBoost® engine producing 600 horsepower, and a 0-60-mph launch time of less than two seconds, Ford Focus RS Rallycross cars are optimized for competition.
Mark Rushbrook, motorsports engineering manager, Ford Performance, says the intention has been to develop a Rallycross car that lives up to the RS badge.
“We’ve dedicated the same level of cutting-edge tools, technical resources and engineering know-how from our Le Mans GT and NASCAR programs, and working with M-Sport brings renowned expertise in rallycross and stage rally vehicle development,” said Rushbrook. “Ken, Andreas Bakkerud and Hoonigan Racing give us insight from the competition and driver perspectives. Our three organizations have a great working relationship, and we’re all looking forward to seeing the Focus RS in action.”
"I'm really happy to be expanding my relationship with Ford Performance," said Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block. "To have official factory support for my race season in 2016 and beyond as I enter the FIA World Rallycross Championship full-time is absolutely incredible. It opens up a ton of powerful resources that myself and my team will be able to benefit from in terms of engineering prowess, research, development and racing experience from different fields. Plus, have you seen the car that they've created for me to go race in? My mind was blown when they showed it to me in Dearborn a few months ago. I absolutely cannot wait to get behind the wheel and start testing."
Malcolm Wilson, OBE, managing director for M-Sport, believes that together, they’ve produced a very special race car. “Working closely with our colleagues at Ford Performance and Hoonigan Racing Division, a huge amount of work has gone into this project,” he said. “It’s been an extremely exciting, rewarding venture – one we hope yields considerable success. I’m confident we have a winning formula for the season ahead.”
A Ford driven by Ford-Autocraft employee Brian Melia was at the birth of rallycross in February 1967 – his Lotus Cortina finishing second in the Lydden Hill event created especially for ITV’s “World of Sport”. The BBC adopted rallycross later that year and the sport’s future was assured, with the first British Rallycross Championship won by Tony Chappell in a factory-prepared Ford Escort Twin Cam in 1968.
The Focus RS Rallycross cars will debut at the FIA World Rallycross event in Portugal, April 15-17, with Block and Bakkerud behind the wheel. The global 12-race series takes place in 11 countries on three continents.
Nine-time World Rally Champion, racing driver, and Dakar adventurer Sebastien Loeb will join Team Peugeot Hansen to contest a full season of the FIA World Rallycross Championship this season, which starts in Portugal on 15 April and ends up in Argentina on 27 November.
Loeb will be Timmy Hansen’s team mate in a two-car squad this year, driving the 550-horsepower 208 WRX Supercar: something of a contrast to the 350-horsepower 2008DKR beast that he drove through the pampas of South America in January, leading the Dakar on his first attempt until the halfway point of the epic 10,000-kilometre event. Having racked up more rally championships and wins than any other driver, this latest move to rallycross confirms the 42-year-old Red Bull athlete’s status as the king of off-road driving.
"I’m very excited by this opportunity to participate in the full Rallycross Championship for the first time, said Loeb. Over the years I have been fortunate to participate in some truly amazing racing, but rallycross - with the sheer power and the competiveness of the PEUGEOT 208 WRX, plus the intense nature of the competition - will be something very special. The car and the strategy for this type of racing is completely new to me, so I have a lot to learn, but I hope I can be competitive pretty soon".
While Loeb (#9) will once more be a rookie up compared to his teammate Timmy Hansen, Vice-World Champion (#21)- he has already won the rallycross gold medal at the 2012 X-Games in California and also took part in his home round at Loheac, France, in 2013.
Last season we proved that we had the potential to perform in the series with Timmy Hansen and Davy Jeanney, said team principal Kenneth Hansen. By adding Sebastien Loeb to the equation, we will be even stronger. Rallycross is one of the hardest disciplines to dominate, with no room for mistakes. Loeb has incredible capacity to adapt and I have no doubt that he will be a strong challenger.
Timmy Hansen and Sebastien Loeb will form a formidable line-up, with the aim of bringing home both the team and driver titles this year. Timmy Hansen commented:
"I’ve looked up to Sebastien Loeb throughout my entire life: I even met him once to get his autograph. So to work with him now is like a dream come true for me. I have a lot to learn still, so to get advice from him will be amazing. And I’m sure he’ll also have a lot of specific things to learn from me in rallycross. That’s how I hope we can bring the team forward together: pushing new limits and helping each other grow".