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.
Let me tell you all something about X Games: its fun to watch but hell to photograph. Seriously, I fought tooth and nail for one corner of the “Big Air” ramp platform and I stayed there for several hours! My skin cells relentlessly pelted by harmful UV rays, my eyes red with rally dirt, and it was all for you! By the way shout out to my friend Rex Torres for letting me use his awesome 100-400mm slide zoom lens. I wouldn’t have been able to get the shots I did without it!
Anyhow, I now invite you all to enjoy the fruits of my labor with three galleries totaling over 420 pictures of X Games Rallycross supercar goodness! Hit the links below!
I just came back from Irwindale Speedway AKA “the tire slaying war zone” where all morning some of the top Rally X drivers were getting some practice in for the Gymkhana GRID competition tomorrow. Among those drivers was Tanner “Golden Child” Foust. Take a look at Tanner’s run, does it look like he has what it takes to win the first Gymkhana GRID event? Also stay tuned for more practice runs from other drivers, including Ken Block.
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 some big yet not surprising news today Top Gear USA host and two-time Formula Drift champ Tanner Foust has announced a “temporary” retirement from drifting. Many are speculating as to why he is bowing out for 2011 but personally I think the most logical answer is the best one. If you follow Tanner at all you know that he has a BIG 2011 ahead of him. The man is going to take on a full season of European Rally Cross, compete in Rally America, X Games Rally, and presumably come back for another season of hosting Top Gear USA. If he tried to tack on a full season of Formula Drift to that then he would probably race himself to death!
Tanner will be jumping into the Papadakis Racing/Rockstar Energy Drink/Scion Racing tC one last time for the upcoming Formula Drift exhibition in Abu Dhabi but after that its a year long vacation from drifting for ol’ “Foxy” Foust.
So you may be asking who will take over for Tanner Foust now that Papadakis Racing has an open seat? We’ll have more on that in the post right after this one.
With Formula D out of the picture for Foust in 2011 you can expect to see him much more competitive in his other disciplines. I can’t wait to see how he does in the European Rally Cross series this year. We wish Tanner the best and we will miss him in Formula Drift this year!
Long Beach, Calif. – February 10th, 2011 – Formula DRIFT has announced that 2-time Formula DRIFT champion, Tanner Foust will temporarily step away from the sport of drifting. In conjunction, Papadakis Racing and Team Need For Speed have announced the signing of the 2010 Formula DRIFT Rookie of the Year, Fredric Aasbo.
“Tanner’s semi-retirement is bittersweet for the Series as he has become one of the most recognizable drivers on the circuit and is one of the most competitive spokesmen for Formula DRIFT,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “As with the growth and progression of the Series we can expect to see opportunities brought to many of the drivers and wish Tanner more success in his career both on and off the track. His departure will leave a spot open for a future star of drifting to rise, which we are excited to see.”
Foust has announced his temporary retirement from drifting due to a demanding 2011 schedule of European Rally events, X-Games and television responsibilities. The 2-time Formula DRIFT champion and Tires.com Triple Crown bonus winner will be competing one last time in the Rockstar / Papadakis Racing Scion tC on February 25, 2010 during the Formula DRIFT UAE Invitational competition.
“I owe a lot to Formula DRIFT and Stephan Papadakis. This sport, Stephan and his team have been, and will remain, an integral part of my motorsports life,” said Tanner Foust, from his home in San Juan Capistrano. “This was a hard choice to make, but with my schedule looking even busier than last year’s I will not be able to fully commit to the 2011 Formula DRIFT season. However, I am looking forward to competing in the Rockstar Scion tC for one last time in Abu Dhabi this month.” With an open seat, team owner, Stephan Papadakis has enlisted the highly touted and talented driver, Fredric Aasbo. In addition, a newly created partnership with Team Need For Speed has solidified the alliance. Aasbo will be competing in the brand new Need for 2011 Scion tC this season with the competition debut during Round 1: Streets of Long Beach on April 8-9, 2011.
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!
Our buddy Bill Wood is working hard lately. He still does his radio show but now he is back to doing video as well! Check out his latest edition of “Things You Should Know This Week” full of tasty headlines about Tommy Kendall’s racing future and Tanner Foust’s 2011 plans. Check it out below!
I’m a bit late with this but I’ve finally gone through my photos from the Ken Block Gymkhana Invitational event last weekend and posted the gallery to the MotorworldHype Facebook page. If you didn’t hear by now Tanner Foust won in the AWD class while Dai Yoshihara won in the RWD class. Counting the X Games this is the second time in 2010 that Formula D drivers pretty much swept a non-drifting motorsport event! All in all the event I think was successful enough for Mr. Block to consider expanding his Gymkhana event into a full-on series. Rumor has it that he just may do that in the near future with a 6 event calendar. Stay tuned for the announcement on that. In the meantime check out our galleries at the links below:
In the latest trailer for Top Gear USA we get a short glimpse into what the three hosts will be hooning around in this year. I know the Top Gear UK purists have been giving the show a lot of flak but I have faith that the US version will actually be pretty good. Check out the trailer below to form your own opinion. Then you can tune into the History channel on November 21st for the premiere.