ESPN blew some minds earlier this year when they revealed that instead of returning to the LA Colosseum, all rally events would take place on the streets of downtown Los Angeles. From that point imaginations were running wild trying to contemplate what streets around the Staples Center would be used, where the jump would be, the ins and outs, etc. Well today ESPN has answered all questions by finally releasing hard details about the street course including a basic rendering of the layout. The X Games officials have created a 3,100 foot course (or 6/10ths of a mile for you math geeks) with six turns. Building the course will require 5 MILLION pounds of concrete barriers, 700 feet of dirt (which includes the 70ft jump for the joker lap), and about 1,000 hours of build time to complete the course. The course will also require shutting down three streets including Figueroa. To accommodate the spectators, bleachers will be erected outside of the Staples Center. We would venture to guess that there will likely be a video screen erected as well to make sure none of the action is missed. Despite the fact that construction of the course is slated to start soon, drivers will not be able to test the course until the day before competition!
If you want to see a rendering of the course layout, click the thumbnail below for an image that we blew up slightly. You may have to squint a bit but you can see all the turns and joker lap path, as well as the course’s position in relation to other land marks such as the halfpipe, etc.
I first heard this as a rumor at the first round of Global RallyX and I wish I had reported it because it turned out to be true! It was announced today that the RallyX events for Summer X Games 2011 will literally take place in the streets of downtown Los Angeles! The exact course details haven’t been released but expect the drivers to go through portions of the Staples Center then outside into LA Live and back into the the Staples Center. It should make for some pretty interesting pictures! I can’t wait!
Enduro X Discipline to Make its Debut; Rally Disciplines Move to Downtown Street Circuit
ESPN will kick off its 17th annual action sports competition to be held in Los Angeles July 28 – 31 and will debut the new discipline of Enduro X, as well as the first-ever rally street circuit running through the downtown area. In its ninth year in Los Angeles, X Games 17 will feature more than 200 athletes at competition venues and event spaces including STAPLES Center and Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in an effort to further consolidate events to one area and better enable fans to catch all the X Games action from downtown Los Angeles.
Enduro X will feature both men’s and women’s disciplines, showcasing riders’ talent on an all-terrain obstacle course. Riders will race through sand, mud, logs, rocks and other terrain features in a blend of motocross racing and traditional Enduro, battling not only each other but also the challenging course for their shot at X Games gold. The new addition will be one of eight Moto X competitions taking place inside STAPLES Center, while the downtown Los Angeles street circuit will offer a unique and exciting setting for the disciplines of Rally Car Racing on Saturday and RallyCross on Sunday.
“Having RallyCross at last year’s X Games was a huge step for the sport, but racing through city streets is how motorsport began,” said three-time X Games rally gold medalist Tanner Foust. “Being in the car, ripping through streets, cranking the handbrake through intersections while door-to-door and jumping next to buildings is going to be truly epic! I can’t wait!”
ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will combine to telecast 25 hours of live X Games 17 competition. In addition to the 25 original hours in high definition, the Worldwide Leader in Action Sports will also televise 18 hours of X Games action on ESPN 3D. More than 25 hours will also be distributed on ESPN3.com. Outside the United States, X Games 17 will be seen in more than 121 countries and territories to more than 106 million homes, including live telecasts in Africa, Asia, Australia, Brazil, Israel, Mexico, Middle East, New Zealand and South America.
Tickets for X Games 17 will be available for purchase June 23 at all Ticketmaster locations and the box office at STAPLES Center.
Additional information on all X Games 17 events will be forthcoming on www.xgames.com
After his magnificant crash at the WRC Rally Of Portugal, Ken Block decided to hop on a red-eye flight back to the states to spectate at the first round of Global RallyCross at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale. I caught up with him to get his thoughts on the event and ask him about his 2011 plans which include welcoming a new hooigan into the world.
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!
The latest video by our good friend Bill Wood takes you on an in-car journey of WIN with Tanner Foust as Bill lets us ride shotgun with the golden child through a full rally cross heat in his Rockstar Ford Fiesta rally car. You are definitely going to want to turn up the volume on this one. The engine sounds from this car are amazing!
In this week’s “Things You Should Know” our buddy Bill Wood talks about Rhys Millen’s expansion with Hyundai in Rally America, gives an update on F1 driver Robert Kubica’s recovery, rumors of Sam Hubinette taking on a full off-road program and more. Watch the video below for a few tidbits and then you can listen to the full podcast on the Tech House & Speed site via RaceFanRadio.com.
Wrecked Magazine AKA “The TMZ of drifting” somehow got a pic of the livery that Tanner Foust will be rocking for 2011 on his Ford Fiesta Rally Cross car. Looks like Rockstar is still the biggest check signer for his team but Ford has increased their real estate as well as skateboard shoe company Etnies who has taken over the entire rear of the car. This picture got out just as we heard that Tanner Foust will be announcing on Bill Wood’s “Tech House & Speed” radio show that in spite of having his hands full with Top Gear USA and Formula Drift he will do the full European Rally Cross 2011 schedule!
That’s at least three jobs if you don’t count stunt driving and other TV shows he may be doing. Ladies and Gentlemen it’s official: Tanner Foust is Jamaican… (I can make that joke because I am too so save your angry emails!). More on this as it develops!
Saturday was the second day and final day of X Games rally competition. Practice was over and there was no more warm ups. On this day every run counted. The pressure was definitely on each driver to get everything right so they could continue to advance. If the pressure of competition wasn’t enough there was another factor that added to the tension. The officials changed the layout of the track before competition began. The story we heard from various sources was that the original layout was too disconcerting to the drivers. As such, the officials changed the layout. However once the course was changed the drivers had little to no time to practice the new configuration. Then came news that if any driver deviated from the set course they would be red flagged and automatically DQ’d!
There was definitely a lot of drama throughout the rally racing and especially in the Super Rally Final. There will be more posts on all of that later. In the meantime check out some pictures from day 2 below and even more pictures in our GALLERY.