Encouraging start for Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (September 22, 2014) – The Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle showed its potential in its rallycross debut, with driver Tanner Foust earning a dominant heat win in the car’s very first door-to-door competition this weekend.
“We came into Los Angeles as a team to learn about this new car by putting it out on the track under racing conditions. The results are very encouraging,” said Foust.
The Global Rallycross Championship doubleheader at the Port of Los Angeles offered the first real-world test for the vehicle. For fans, it was an exciting opportunity to preview next season’s car in action.
“The car is fast off the launch and very efficient in the corners, and the steering is so quick and direct that it’s very easy to drive,” said Foust. “The Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle posted some of the fastest times of the weekend on its first time out and it will only get faster. Plus, judging from the noise from the crowd, people love it.”
The new competition car is under development for a full assault on the championship in 2015 with the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team. The all-wheel-drive Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle produces some 540 horsepower from a direct-injection 1.6-liter turbocharged inline four and achieves 0-60 miles per hour in less than two seconds.
For the new build, Volkswagen Motorsport has leveraged in-depth product knowledge and technology already proven in competition environments around the world, including in the brand’s successful World Rally Championship program.
“In most motorsports you wouldn’t think to do development under the lights of competition,” said Foust. “The Global Rallycross Championship is unique and there are some lessons that can only be learned by pushing door-to-door and running the jumps and dirt that are specific to the series.”
After winning his opening heat this weekend, Foust brought the car its second victory with a win in the last chance qualifier and on Saturday secured the Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle its first start in a main event.
But when a piece of debris from a rival’s car made its way under the hood and ultimately led to overheating, Foust retired from the race rather than risk damage to the engine. “What happened in the final was exactly the kind of thing you only discover under racing conditions,” said Foust. “The work we’re putting into this new car is going to make it very hard to beat in 2015.”
The second race of the doubleheader weekend was cut short when a precautionary engine change sidelined the Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle after the first heat. Foust took the opportunity to join the crowds in the grandstands on Sunday.
“The racing is exciting and it’s fun to see it from a different perspective, but I’m used to having the best seat in the house,” said Foust, who will return to competition behind the wheel of the Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle next weekend.
This season marks the first year in rallycross for the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team. Foust and teammate Scott Speed opened 2014 in a pair of Volkswagen Polo rallycross cars developed from the chassis that won the 2013 World Rally Championship. Volkswagen has won half the races in the 2014 season, including Foust’s victory in July at the New York round of the championship. Speed returned to competition this weekend in the Polo and chalked up a win at the first of the two Los Angeles races this weekend.
“I’m really proud of the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team this weekend,” said Foust. “Congratulations to Scott on his win and to the whole team for their hard work on the new car. I feel absolutely privileged to be able to work with such a talented and dedicated group of motorsport professionals.”
The penultimate stop in the 2014 Global Rallycross Championship takes place September 26-27 on a temporary course built into the grounds of the DirtFish Rally School. It is the second time the series will visit the facility, just outside of Seattle. Foust won the GRC contest held there in 2011. Full coverage airs on NBC Sunday, September 28 at 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Time).
Rallycross is a blend of circuit racing, off-road racing and rally competition. It promises intense crowd-pleasing action in a fan-friendly track environment. As many as 10 drivers line up to start at once, piloting high-horsepower compact cars through race traffic over a challenging short course that features jumps, unbanked turns, hills and transitions between pavement and gravel.
ABOUT TANNER FOUST
Tanner Foust is a versatile and multi-talented driver known for his supreme car control and a proven track record of podium placements, national championships and world records. He is a three-time U.S. rallycross champion (2012, 2011, 2010) who has also won four X Games gold medals (2013, 2010, 2007), and two Formula Drift championships (2008, 2007).
He has also held multiple world records including for the astonishing Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare, which saw Foust drive a car through a 66-foot loop-the-loop. He also scored the indoor speed record for TV’s Top Gear USA, and set a distance jump record with Hot Wheels when he made a 332′ ramp-to-ramp leap in a truck at the Indy 500.
His varied race experience includes multiple years of open wheel competition, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, rally racing, various types of sports car racing and the SCORE Baja. He has represented the USA in the annual Race of Champions three times, teaming with NASCAR star Carl Edwards in 2008, Travis Pastrana in 2009, and Mick Doohan in 2010.
A year after making his overseas debut in the European Rallycross Championship in 2010 with a select campaign, Foust became the first American driver to win a round of that championship and finished both 2011 and 2012 ranked in the top three; he won two of the three rounds he entered last year. At home, Foust has been a dominant driver in rallycross since it was first introduced to the United States in 2010.
When he isn’t racing, the professional driver also performs in films and on television. He is an on-air host for the U.S. version of the seminal BBC auto show Top Gear, produced by BBC Worldwide Productions and airing on the HISTORY channel. Episodes of his online documentary series, Life in the Foust Lane, are available on the Rockstar Energy Drink YouTube channel.
Foust also handles stunt driving in numerous popular films, TV shows and commercials. He is featured as a stunt driver in the Need 4 Speed film, as well as other major releases including the Bourne Legacy, Bourne Ultimatum, Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, Dukes of Hazzard, Red Dawn and Iron Man 2 movies.
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