Q&A with Global Rallycross track designers

World Rally Blog continues it’s co-operation with the Fiesta Movement – after the exclusive chat “our agent” Bryan Redeker had with Tanner Foust in Brazil, we now turn to Global Rallycross & X-Games track design. This time, Brandon Redeker was in charge of asking the questions about the track design. He talked to the track designers about the specific challenges of building a safe, engaging, challenging and exciting tracks all over the world.

Happy to say, World Rally Blog provided several questions, and you can see the replies to those, and others, below. Global Rallycross returns to action soon – little over a week from now, they’re hitting the Europe in Barcelona, Spain.

Now, take a look what Rich and Danny from Global Rallycross revealed about the challenges of track design.

Brandon Redeker, an agent with the Fiesta Movement, sat down with the X Games Global Rally Cross track designers to learn what goes into designing the exciting tracks used around the world. They developed the course used in Brazil and are currently putting the final touches on the one in Barcelona Spain. Then they are off to Germany, and then back to the United States for the X Games in Los Angeles. You can see their courses in action on ESPN during the X Games and follow Brandon at www.fiestamovement.com/agents/BRGT350.

Fiesta Movement: How do you balance the speed and technical challenge, and which element you think should be more prominent?

Global Rally Cross: Our job to make safe but unique tracks that challenge the drivers and entertain the fans. In this case (Brazil) the space constraints and elevation changes created a very challenging situation. In the end we came up with a technical course that rewarded drivers who took clean lines.

FM: What can be done for tracks to be able to fit in more cars, without ruining the visibility or safety?

GRC: We were dealing with an extremely fine clay that, when combined with reliability issues on our water trucks, created difficulties in managing the dust. For the next round in Barcelona we will have an easier type of dirt, plenty of water trucks and a new chemical solution to control dust.

FM: What other tracks have you designed?

GRC: The 2012 GRC SEMA Las Vegas track, among others.

FM: What elements did you want to include in this track?

GRC: The Penalty Box is an element that I wanted to incorporate in Las Vegas last year that we were finally able to test here. The idea is to have a designated “stop-and-go” penalty area for drivers who jump the start, thus eliminating the need for restarts in that case. I can say that it was a successful test and it will be included in every GRC/X Games round this season.

FM: How do you know how the jump height, approach angle, and distance are determined?

GRC: Over the years we have come to find dimensions for building the jump that the drivers are comfortable with. Each type of car flies differently, but generally speaking they will fly 70 feet if they take our jump at 55 MPH.

FM: What part of the track is the most technical in Brazil? What makes it so difficult?

GRC: The first turn: a sweeping off-camber left hander that dropped away 70 feet.

FM: What is your favorite part of the track in Brazil?

GRC: I think turn 6 where we had two different lanes was cool. The inside lane was a joker shortcut that drivers were allowed to take only once each heat. On the outside you have a banked turn that could provide a lot of speed for the straight away if taken properly. The difference in lap times between the two was about 1 second, creating a moment where cars separate and the rejoin potentially in a different order. Scott Speed used this element to make the winning pass in the final race.

FM: Are there specific requirements that the X-Games ask you to include?

GRC: Not necessarily, but in light of the fact that the big jump was X Games original, I can’t imagine designing one without it.

FM: What determines the course material so that it provides the right amount of grip for the cars?

GRC: One of the most challenging aspects of rallycross is that the race is run on mixed surfaces. Typically, we prefer to run on more pavement than what we were able to run in Brazil, but it was fine. A high quantity of dirt creates a situation where driver skill is even more important, something I think the knowledgeable motor sports fans in Brazil appreciated.