They say that the best creative people are always reinventing themselves. Despite producing things that might be loved by millions, the creators are always thinking about doing something new. Ken Block is one such individual. The popular rally driver who helped give a whole new meaning to “gymkhana” had easily one of the most flashy presences in WRC or in GRC. His bright white, black, and bright green “paint drip” livery was always the easiest car to spot at any event. However, despite his livery being a favorite among fans, the design was about two years old and Mr. Block wanted a change. Not just in livery but for the whole “look” of his brand.
As such he has re-launched his team. Starting with the team name it has now changed from the “Monster World Rally Team” to “Hoonigan Racing Division” giving top billing to his Hoonigan clothing line over Monster Energy Drink (which still remains a sponsor). Ken has also revealed an all new team HQ near his home in Park City, Utah which features state of the art facilities despite being constructed mostly from recycled shipping containers. Block wanted to use shipping containers as a way to be not only environmentally friendly but to keep everything completely modular and somewhat portable. If Ken ever had to move locations, he could literally put his HQ on the back of a semi-truck and drive it away then set it up again somewhere else. Pretty cool huh?
Obviously, the new headquarters is not the only part of the re-launch. Ken has completely re-done the liveries on both his Gymkhana car and his GRC/WRC car. Replacing the dominant “Monster Energy green” color is a bright blue color. Also, instead of the “paint drip” look there is an all new scheme inspired by 90′s skateboard graphics. All together, it looks like Ken Block will remain the favorite car to look at for the 2013 season. If you want to see more pics and learn more about the team relaunch just visit HooniganRacing.com
In a sudden and somewhat shocking turn of events, Rhys Millen Racing (RMR) hasannounced that Hyundai North America will no longer be their official manufacturer for their motorsports programs. In a statement from RMR, the reason for the split is cited by Hyundai’s desire to explore “new marketing strategies.” While Rhys’ results in Formula Drift and Rallycross have not been spectacular as of late his organization has done a lot for Hyundai relative to other motorsport teams that Hyundai backs. Rhys broke a pikes peak record with his Genesis and has built all of their high profile SEMA cars for the last few years.
By just looking at the headline it appears that it isn’t really Rhys specifically that Hyundai is disillusioned with but motorsports in North America all together as according to the statement from RMR, Hyundai is ending all “North American motorsport programs”.
I am not exactly sure what exploring “new marketing strategies” will mean for Hyundai but for Rhys and other motorsport teams who had Hyundai as a backer it means they will have to search for new rides come the 2013 season.
These days Tanner Foust is a pretty well known guy in gear head circles and even a little beyond that. He gets recognized on the streets, signs autographs, and rumor has it has done well enough to buy himself a few toys. I knew him back when he was drifting a humble 240SX for McKinney Motorsports back in the early years of Formula Drift. He has definitely come a long way since those days and deservedly so. If there is one thing about Tanner that has never changed since the early days is that he always has a lot of F’ing jobs. If I did not know what he looked like and someone told me about all the jobs he had I would think he was Jamaican (note: I am Jamaican, I can make that joke).
If he is not hosting Top Gear USA, he is racing rally cross on the other side of the planet, if he is not doing that then he is stunt driving for a Hollywood blockbuster, if not that he is risking his life for the sake of the challenge. “Busy” is a major understatement when it comes to Mr. Foust. So, to help his fans get some inside perspective on Tanner’s career, he got together with Rockstar Energy Drink to produce a web series called “Life In The Foust Lane”. In this series cameras follow Foust on all his adventures and all the while we get some insight from the man himself about what he is up to.
In this first episode Tanner takes us behind the scenes of his role in Ford’s Octane Academy, we also learn his philosophy on rental cars and their abuse therein. It is a pretty entertaining way to spend eight and half minutes! Watch for yourself below.
Over in Silicon Valley eBay is making a big push to promote their “eBay Motors” business to motorsport fans. This year they have already signed on as a title sponsor for Tony Brakohiapa’s Mustang in Formula Drift and today they have announced they will be a co-title sponsor (along with Best Buy) for David Binks in Global Rally Cross. David did not fair too well during the X Games Rally Cross round but clearly some people in high places believe in him! His Ford Fiesta will debut its new livery at the next round of the GRC (Global Rally Cross) series this weekend at New Hampshire Motorspeedway.
eBay Motors Sponsors Best Buy Racing Rallycross Team
eBay Motors, the largest online marketplace for buying and selling all things automotive, is now sponsoring the Best Buy Racing Rallycross Team and partnering British driver, David Binks.
The sponsorship begins in the run-up to round four of the Global Rallycross Series, which takes place as a partner event of this weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide Series at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, on the east coast of the United States.
eBay Motors is the premier marketplace for all things automotive, offering auto enthusiasts everything from cars and trucks to collector cars, exotic vehicles, motorcycles, and parts and accessories. More than 4.55 million vehicles have been sold on eBay Motors to date. Auto enthusiasts are also using the eBay Motors iPhone app to access the eBay Motors experience from the palm of their hand, anytime, anywhere. More than 340,000 auto parts and accessories are sold through eBay mobile apps each week.
The sponsorship will see the Best Buy Racing Rallycross Team adopt a new livery with a primary presence for the iconic identity of eBay Motors on the #17 car for David Binks and will be fully unveiled later this week as the team prepares for competition.
In his debut year as a GRC competitor, David holds fifth place in the Championship following a strong and consistent points showing in all of the first three rounds of the series.
On confirmation of the sponsorship agreement, Best Buy’s Mark Williams said, “This is the second in a series of sponsorship announcements, but a hugely significant agreement for Best Buy Racing to partner with a global brand. I am also confident that this positive news is testimony to the interest and attention that Global Rallycross and David Binks are generating as leading contenders in the series. Best Buy Racing is delighted to be able to offer eBay Motors a strong platform that aligns with their ongoing efforts to be the top destination for motor enthusiasts.”
We were a bit behind the 8 Ball this year on our X Games coverage due to extremely difficult media conditions but we were still able to bring you a few nice shots of the action that took place on the streets of LA over the weekend. In case you live in a cave on another planet, you probaby already know that WRC-hero Sebastien Loeb won X Games gold with the Gymkhana Master Ken Block grabbing silver and last year’s winner Brian Deegan grabbing bronze. Shooting conditions aside, it was a great show and I think it helped expose even more people to Rally racing. Here is hoping that things get even better next year. Now hit up our Facebook page to see our gallery of shots!
One of the biggest stories of X Games 18 Rally X so far is the horrible crash that happend to Toomas Heikkinen on Friday. The young driver went too slow on the ramp, thus shorting the 50ft gap jump and running head-on into the other side. The incident caused a big stir and the rumor around the Rally paddock was that all the drivers who came over from Europe banded together and told X Games rally officials that they would refuse to drive unless jump was changed from a gap to a table top style jump. Wether the rumor is true or not the jump was in fact changed yesterday. I decided to haunt the paddock and talk to as many drivers as I could to see what they really thought of the jump modification. The result was a mix-bag of opinions, all of which you can see below.
It should be noted that after the change to the jump was completed practice went underway late Saturday and during the session Marcus Gronholm suffered a crash into a barrier just after successfully completing the jump. Marcus hit the barrier so hard that he was knocked unconcious. However reports are that he is now awake and under observation in a local hospital.
X Games 17 Rally has come and gone but we were on site to bring you as much of the action as possible. We are starting off by answering the question “What do the rally cars do the night before X Games?” The answer: They jump! A special jump session was set up to test out the 50 foot gap jump made entirely from dirt and gravel. We were there to take a few shots and we even compiled a short video of all the jump action. You can see a few pics and the video below. For a full photo gallery just visit our Facebook fan page.
The past weekend saw the return of Formula 1, Indy Car, and World Touring Car. It also saw the birth of an official Rally Cross (AKA Rally X) series in America. The first round of the Global RallyCross Championship officially kicked off at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale. Those who watched the Summer X Games last year had a taste of Rally X as it was part of all the action in downtown Los Angeles. The LA Colosseum was filled with dirt, complete with jumps and tunnels on a course that took the cars inside and out of the venue. In fact, one of the key parts of Rally X is the infamous jump. So, you may be asking “how did they pull that off at an asphalt oval NASCAR track such as Toyota Speedway?” With a pile of dirt and a team of earth movers, that’s how! They brought literal tons of dirt to the in field of the oval and constructed a 70 foot jump for the AWD class cars to take on. It was certainly an amazing sight.
Many were anticipating this event as its rumored to be the “next big thing” in motorsports since drifting. With big names like Tanner Foust (who is taking a break from drifting this year to focus on Rally X), Ken Block, Dave Mirra, and Brian Deegan involved Rally X already has the star factor working for them. Bringing in the “X Games crowd” is a huge advantage for Rally X and the sponsors are taking notice. For example most people in the states have never heard the name Marcus Gronhom before despite his fame in other parts of the world for kicking major butt in WRC. However, he was able to land a full title sponsorship from Best Buy for the entire 2011 Rally X season. There have been drift teams courting Best Buy for years but in the end the retail electronics company went with Rally X as their second foray into motorsports involvement. To give you an idea of the gravity of this move, the only other motorsport team Best Buy sponsors is in NASCAR.
The Competition was broken into two main classes: AWD and 2WD. The AWD class had the likes of Tanner Foust and WRC legend Marcus Gronholm in AWD Ford Fiesta’s similar to those used at X Games last year. The AWD class also had Rhys Millen competing in his new Hyundai Veloster rally car with his teammate Marcus Dodd in his own identically prepped Veloster as well. The 2WD class consisted mostly of privateers and up-and-comers. However Jeremy Barnes from Mazda showed up with Mazda Senior VP of Product Development Robert Davis on hand as his crew chief. What was their competition vehicle of choice? Not some crazy AWD modded Mazdaspeed3, or even an RX-8, no. They brought the very same B-Spec Mazda2 that ran in Thunderhill! Jeremy actually did pretty well but during the last heat of Friday he had a misunderstanding with the back of a Ford Focus which ended his weekend. He was ok but the Mazda2 was pretty much done. If you were looking forward to driving it at the next Mazdaspeed press day you are unfortunately SOL at this moment!
When the dust settled after the main competition on Saturday it was Marcus Gronholm who took the AWD class victory by edging out Tanner Foust. Matthew Johnson took the 2WD class victory in his Nitro Circus sponsored Mazda RX-8.
Check out more photos from the event on our Facebook page. Also stay tuned for a few interviews from the event!