Red Bull Global Rallycross Cancelled Entire 2018 Season, Series Looks Dead
Global Rallycross (GRC) may be the perfect distillation of motorsport for those with a limited attention span. Unlike the World Rally Championship, Red Bull’s Rallycross takes place on tight circuits that allow spectators to see every second of the six-lap race. Meanwhile, a full grid ensures lots of contact between drivers while a dirt section ensures drifts and ramps guarantee plenty of airborne action. Excluding the qualifying laps, the entire event is a short burst of raw aggression as professional drivers power over-engineered and ludicrously fast economy cars around the track.
Unfortunately, a trail of unpaid bills has forced Global Rallycross to cease operations for the 2018 season. With its inaugural season having taken place in 2011, nobody expected GRC to fold this fast. But that appears to be what happened.
There were rumors circulating for weeks that the series was having serious money troubles. But a report from SpeedSport on Tuesday noted that New York’s Lancaster National Speedway and Dragway, confirmed that an Global Rallycross event that was supposed to be in June was a no-go. It then explained that it was informed that GRC was ceasing operations entirely.
Checking the official Red Bull Global Rallycross webpage revealed to us that it wasn’t solely the New York event that had been nixed. The entire 2018 schedule was mysteriously absent. Lancaster National Speedway later issued a tweet saying GRC intended to to reorganize and start back up in 2019, but reiterated that this year would be a bust.
After the discontinuation of its supercars class, GRC focused on its modified “lites” division. But those supercars teams found a home with the newly formed IMG Americas Rallycross (ARX) championship. And the new series has been slyly promoting itself as an alternative for GRC.
“Rallycross is a perfect match for the way we digest entertainment today: short, sharp wheel-to-wheel races that are packed with action,” explained Paul Bellamy, senior vice president and managing director of motorsports for IMG, in a statement from last month.
However, Global Rallycross’ troubles extend far beyond the dangers of a new rival. The Detroit News published an article on Monday saying the organization owed nearly $76,000, which the State of Michigan said had to be paid or else it would pursue legal action. But GRC chief executive Colin Dyne says he has good reasons for not paying the state after it hosted a July 2015 race on Belle Isle.
Initially, he claims to have agreed to pay a $25,000 user fee for a state park but officials threatened to cancel the event because it was being held on the same weekend as a 5K/10K charity run. From there Dyne alleges that the state forced him make numerous concessions to keep his event, as well as an increased user fee of $100,000.
Other requirements included the purchasing of tables, chairs, a stage and other equipment for the 5K/10K while also paying for it to have have a commercial on NBC, which also broadcast the Global Rallycross events. Dyne also said the park never bothered to close the park during his races as promised. He estimates this allowed some 3,000 people to attend each day without paying admission.
“My ticket sales were dismal,” Dyne said. “This is not how people do business. You [Michigan] do not deserve the balance of your money.”
State officials maintain GRC was not forced to do anything but was, instead, asked to make concessions (which it did) so that the race would not interfere with the charity run and a wedding that same weekend. The permit for state land use also stipulates that Global Rallycross was not permitted “exclusive use of any department lands or facilities.”
While that appears to be the organization’s largest outstanding bill, it is not the only one. According to Jalopnik, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Connecticut is also claiming that GRC owes it $29,000 after making use of the location.
We’ve reached out to Global Rallycross to get its side of the story, but it has yet to respond. Either way it looks as if the 2018 season is dead in the water. Hopefully it can manage its current situation and return for next year. In the meantime, Americas Rallycross looks like it will be interesting.
[Images: Red Bull Global Rallycross]
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