A few days ago Tanner Foust dropped a bombshell of an announcement when he revealed that he would be leaving his long time home at Ford and Olsbergs MSE for Volkswagen and Andretti Autosport. We knew that he will eventually drive a GRC prepped Volkswagen Beetle (and a Polo in the meantime), and that Rockstar Energy Drink would be coming with him as his main sponsor. However, what we didn’t know is why he even left winning combination of Ford and Olsbergs MSE in the first place. Well leave it up to none other than my pal Bill Wood to get Tanner on the phone and hash out the details. I won’t spoil it for you here but it seems like at least part of the reason why Tanner made the move is that his new situation allows him a bit more freedom in how the team will be run and handling the relationships with his sponsors and other partners.
To hear it straight from the man himself head over to ByBillWood.com (click the red text) and have a listen. Its a great way to spend 16 minutes!
In the “Whoaaa” news of the day, Tanner Foust just announced on his Instagram account that for the 2014 Global Rally Cross season he has joined up with Andretti Autosport (yes THAT Andretti) and will campaign a 2014 Volkswagen Beetle! What a crazy change right?! We will definitely miss seeing Tanner in the Ford Fiesta GRC car but its interesting to see Volkswagen get involved in the series. Joining Tanner at Andretti Autosport will be former F1 driver Scott Speed who will also pilot a VW Beetle. Despite leaving Ford, Tanner will still be backed by Rockstar Energy Drink while his teammate Scott will rock a 7-Up livery on his Beetle.
It should also be noted that the team will not start the season in the new Beetle GRC cars; rather they will start in a pair of WRC Spec Polo R’s (the same type that won the WRC championship) for the first part of the season. The new Beetles will make their debut at the Summer X Games (for maximum exposure) at Austin, Texas later this year. Will Volkswagen be able to hold their own against the might of Ford? It will be fun to find out! For more pics just click on any of the thumbnails in this post and scroll below for the official press release from Volkswagen.
VOLKSWAGEN ENTERS RALLYCROSS WITH THE BEETLE AND ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT
Feb 6, 2014
The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team will run a 560-plus-horsepower, all-wheel-drive GRC Beetle in the Red Bull Global Rallycross series
Team will compete initially with European rallycross-prepared Polo
Drivers will be 2011 and 2012 GRC champion Tanner Foust and ex-F1 and NASCAR star Scott Speed
Definitive GRC Beetle will debut at the Summer X Games in Austin, TX
Chicago, IL — Volkswagen of America, Inc. and Andretti Sports Marketing today announced the details of its 2014 rallycross program at the Chicago Auto Show. Volkswagen will partner with Andretti Autosport to form the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team, running two cars in the series for drivers Tanner Foust and Scott Speed.
The team will initially compete this season with modified Polo rally cars, built on the chassis that won the 2013 World Rally Championship for drivers and manufacturers, and will switch during the season to the fearsome GRC Beetle. This all-wheel-drive rallycross car is the ultimate expression of the third-generation Beetle and will feature more than 560 horsepower from its turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® engine.
Rallycross is the fastest growing form of motorsports in the U.S., attracting big crowds at venues across the country as well as live TV coverage. Cars are pitted against each other and the clock in a series of heats on a closed course that’s usually a mixture of dirt and pavement, with a 70-foot jump. The action is fast, it’s intense, and is hugely appealing to a crossover audience of auto and live action sports fans.
“Red Bull Global Rallycross is the perfect form of motor sports for a youthful, exuberant, and growing brand in the U.S. market,” said Michael Horn, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “We’re excited to partner with Andretti Autosport, one of the great names in American motor sports, and delighted that we will be running the iconic Beetle in the series.”
Michael Andretti, CEO of Andretti Autosport, added: “I’m thrilled to be entering the series, and especially happy about teaming with Volkswagen. We are excited about our driver lineup of Tanner [Foust] and Scott [Speed]; I believe we have the best drivers in the series and will be a top contender.”
Tanner Foust, GRC champion in 2011 and 2012 and runner-up in 2013, will drive the Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle. Foust is also widely recognized for hosting the U.S. version of Top Gear , for his rally driving skills, and for his stunt driving—he holds records for distance jumping and looping the loop in a car.
Scott Speed will be racing the 7UP entry for the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team. As well as being a standout in the 2013 GRC Series, winning two races in and finishing fifth overall, Speed has competed at the very pinnacle of motorsports, driving Formula 1 for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2006 and 2007. He also competed in NASCAR between 2008 and 2013.
The Red Bull Global Rallycross series opens in May. The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team will attend with a pair of Polo cars driven by Foust and Speed. The definitive GRC Beetle will appear at the X Games in June in Austin, TX.
About Volkswagen of America, Inc. Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc., an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWoA) is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. VWoA’s operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state -of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Volkswagen Group is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. VWoA sells the Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Eos, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, and Touareg vehicles through approximately 640 independent U.S. dealers.
About Andretti Autosport Based in Indianapolis and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the IndyCar Series. Andretti Autosport also campaigns multiple cars in Indy Lights and Pro Mazda championships. In 2013 the team announced intent to compete in the FIA Formula E Championship and Global Rallycross starting in 2014. The company boasts four IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2012), two Firestone Indy Lights titles (2008 and 2009), one Pro Mazda championship (2013), one USF2000 championship (2010) and has won the Indianapolis 500 twice (2005 and 2007). For more information, please visit AndrettiAutosport.com.
Over the weekend the IZOD Indy Car series came right into our back yard for the 36th annual Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach. The party actually started at the beginning of last week with a huge media even at the track site. And there was a ton of racing outside Indy Car going on all weekend but there will be more on that in later posts. This is all about the big Indy race! Things started off on Saturday with Will Power capturing his 4th pole in 5 races so he was sitting comfortably up front, until the green flag dropped and Ryan Hunter-Reay made an early move for the lead then ran away with it. Ryan pushed as hard as he could for the first stint and built a huge cap. The fact that there was only one caution for the entire race just helped him all the more and in the end he took the top spot on the podium. Will Power and Justin Wilson followed behind in second and third respectively. Catch all the race highlights in the video below and check out three full galleries of coverage on the official MotorworldHype facebook page.