Hype Video: Rhys Millen Hoons Golf Course In Hyundai Veloster Rally Car

Posted on 01.26.12 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

A new video by Rhys Millen and the gang has been making the interweb rounds today.  In his latest piece Rhys plays a few holes at a local golf course and uses his rally-spec Hyundai Veloster as the proverbial “golf kart”.  It is a fun little video and worth a few minutes of your time.  Check it out below.

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Forza Motorsport Hype: Hyundai Veloster DLC Pack (With Video

Posted on 01.18.12 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

I am a little late to the party on this but shortly after Hyundai announced the Veloster Turbo they digitally launched the car as DLC in Forza Motorsport 4.  In the Veloster DLC pack you get a shiny new Hyundai Veloster Turbo, Rhys Millen Racing’s Veloster rally-cross car, and a walkaround of the new Veloster Turbo in Autovista mode.  Most importantly this DLC pack is free! So, head over to the xbox live marketplace after popping in Forza Motorsport 4 download yourself some turbocharged Korean awesomeness.

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Hype Feature: B-Spec: The Soul Of Racing Returns

Posted on 01.04.12 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

At the root of all car lovers is a race car driver waiting to get out.  At some point all of us have had daydreams of crossing the finish line at the Indy 500 or standing on top of the podium at the Monaco Grand Prix.  Many of us have let our daydreams turn into a full on obsession with motorsports and have latched on to one form of racing or many as serious fanboys/girls.  However, as much fun as it is to watch and follow racing there is nothing quite like doing it yourself.  Yet the path to becoming a race car driver used to be quite hidden and has remained to be very, very expensive.  Thanks to great programs like the Mazdaspeed Motorsports ladder and the Skip Barber Racing Series the route from armature to professional is a bit easier to find.  Yet following that route has become more expensive than ever before.  It is that fact that has many would be racers turning sponsorship acquisition into a second job (the first job is to fund any racing that they already do!).  Anyone who has ever tried to seek out sponsorship dollars for a cause or sports knows that they have to deal with a marketing manager, advertising agency, or sometimes both.  To even have a shot at getting sponsorship money to go racing one has to learn how to put together a sponsorship proposal, know lingo like “impressions”, study returns on investment, become an expert in social network marketing, have “media training”, and so forth.  These days the path to racing winds through the dark woods of marketing so much that someone will become an MBA in marketing before becoming a race car driver.  In the whirlwind of power point presentations, photoshop renderings, and excel spreadsheets it can be easy to forget why you wanted to become a race car driver in the first place.  The heart of racing has become buried in the budgets of marketing departments of non-endemic corporations and is guarded by brand managers who are looking for a “marketable face, name, or story” over talent or passion.  Where does “Joe Racer” who just go when he just wants to race for the joy of racing besides the local go-kart track or Xbox Live?  The answer could be a new race class conceived by a collaboration between Mazda and Honda called “B-Spec”

How can B-Spec be a new entry way into racing?  Well I was invited along with a small group of journalists to Willow Springs Raceway by Mazda and Honda so that they could explain it to us personally.  Here is how they put it:

So there you have it.  The passionate minds from Mazda and Honda want you to be able to get a “B-level” car such as a Mazda2 or Fit and with the purchase of a kit, some elbow grease, safety equipment, and a fabricator to put in a cage you can participate in a race in several sanctioned race series or (likely with sponsorship support) try to run a full season in one particular series of choice.  Although sponsorship might be key go compete for a full season in a B-Spec class, there will be rules and regulations to keep a manufacturer from stepping in and becoming overly dominant.  OEM participation will be limited to simply offering B-Spec kits to customers.  So far there is an impressive list of OEM’s that will be a part of B-Spec but it is promised that none of those OEMs will dump a ton of money into any one team to get an edge over the competition.  There are also rules to keep power as equal as possible among the eligible cars from each OEM.  For example certain cars will have to run intake restrictors to keep their horsepower closer to the rest of the pack.  Of course certain cars may still have advantages or disadvantages due to wheel base, suspension type, etc.  However, no one car will have a disproportionate advantage over the others.  The great thing about B-Spec is that SCCA is on board and making an effort to include B-Spec classes not only in their club racing series but in some of their bigger pro series such as World Challenge and even Rally racing.  There is also a possibility of B-Spec being a part of Grand-Am endurance racing as well.  So, theoretically with one car you could go to a number of different race disciplines without having to make many changes (if any) to your B-Spec car.  The bottom line is not only does B-Spec make real racing accessible again to people who want to race for the love of racing but it also still provides a doorway into the professional ranks for those who still wish to seek that out as well.  B-Spec has the potential to give racing’s soul back to the racers and with OEMs such as Mazda, Honda, Toyota, Kia, Nissan, Ford, GM, and most recently MINI race fans will get to see real manufacturer competition in America again.

  

By the way if all of this is getting you exciting about going racing but you have no experience have no worries.  I drove B-Spec versions of both the Mazda2 and Honda Fit and they are both incredibly easy to drive in race-trim and with an impromptu coaching session from GrandAM driver Charles Espenlaub I was able to pull a decent amount of speed from both chassis.  I would recommend a three-day school at Skip Barber to get race theory and technique down followed by a few SCCA races at the club level and you will have the confidence and skill it takes to try your hand in one of the premiere series. 

  

As B-Spec unfolds in 2012 we plan to keep the site updates with any news and developments that will arise.  If you are anxious to get your feet wet now I suggest looking for a Mazda2 or Honda Fit and contacting either Mazdaspeed Motorsports or Honda Performance Development as they will likely be first out of the gate to have B-Spec kits available.  I might look into it myself! Stay tuned!  In the meantime you can check out the full SCCA B-Spec rule book by clicking on the link below.

B-Spec_Regulations_2_web_December-2011

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Hype WTF?! Video: Rally Drivers Dave Mirra & Brian Deegan To Fight Each Other?

Posted on 09.15.11 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

In the official “WTF” story of the day I got an email from DC Shoes to inform me that Subaru Rally Team and pro BMX legend Dave Mirra is in the process of training for a physical hand-to-hand fight with Ford Racing Rally driver and FMX rider Brian Deegan.  Yes, you read right.  Dave Mirra and Brian Deegan are going to fight each other.  Why? I have no idea!  It does not seem to make a lot of sense for two motorsport athletes to get into the ring with each other but that in no way means I don’t want to see who is going to win!

The two drivers are set to go toe-to-toe this Saturday (September 17th) at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, NV at an event called Ellismania  and the event will be broadcast on FUEL TV (check with your cable company).

Who is my pick? Well as you can see in the video below Dave Mirra has been training hard for the event for a while now and I have seen both contenders in person and from what I can tell Dave has a height and reach advantage.  However, anyone who knows Brian Deegan knows he is one tough son of a shotgun!  So, really I don’t have a pick.  I just want to see these two dudes beat the snot out of each other.  Does that make me a bad person?

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X Games 17 Hype Video: Tanner Foust Weighs In On Rally Cross Popularity Vs Drifting, Confirms Indy Car Effort

Posted on 08.01.11 | admin No Comments

While at X Games 17 this weekend we went out of our way to annoy Top Gear USA Tanner Foust until he agreed to grant us a short interview.  During which we got him to weigh in on the possibility of Rally Cross becoming more popular than drifting.  He also surprised us at the end by mentioning that he is putting fourth an effort to make it into an Indy Car race before the end of the season.  Some digging was done after the interview and it looks like he may be trying to put together a one-off drive for the Las Vegas Indy Car race.  Scroll down to check out the full interview.

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X Games 17 Hype: The Night Before Rally (With Video)

Posted on 08.01.11 | admin No Comments

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.

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Hype News: ESPN Releases X Games 17 Rally Street Course Details, Rendering Of Layout

Posted on 07.07.11 | admin No Comments

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.

[Source: ESPN]

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Hype News: X Games RallyX To Literally Hit Streets Of Los Angeles

Posted on 04.25.11 | Andrew Beckford 1 Comment

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!

Press Release:

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

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Hype Video Interview: Ken Block Expecting Baby Boy Hoonigan, Wants To Do Gymkhana FOUR

Posted on 04.01.11 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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.

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Hype Event: Global Rally X: The Revolution

Posted on 03.28.11 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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!

    

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