IndyCar heroes Newgarden and Castroneves confirmed for ice racing spectacle
Five World RX and two GRC drivers form part of impressively high-calibre entry
Bumper grids revealed as excitement builds for Scandinavian winter warm-up
Leading lights from the Verizon IndyCar Series, FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy and Red Bull Global Rallycross will be Scandinavia-bound over the course of the next six weeks, to battle it out for glory in RallyX on Ice.
RallyX on Ice is 2018’s unmissable winter warm-up ahead of the main motorsport season, with three classes all counting capacity grids – clear evidence of the level of hype and excitement surrounding the eagerly-anticipated rallycross series.
The competitor list features superstars from the pinnacle of both US open-wheel racing and international rallycross competition, who will test their mettle against the crème de la crème of homegrown heroes across four snow-blanketed showdowns – two in Sweden followed by a further two in Norway.
Reigning INDYCAR Champion Josef Newgarden and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Hélio Castroneves top the star-studded entry. The pair, who compete for legendary motorsport organisation Team Penske in INDYCAR and IMSA respectively, will each contest a single round of the headlining Supercar Lites class for identical 310bhp, four-wheel-drive machinery – the American at Ål in Norway and his Brazilian stablemate in the series finale at new-built Norwegian track Gol.
“I’m really excited and anxious to participate in the RallyX on Ice series,” revealed Newgarden. “I’ve had the opportunity to drive a lot of different types of race car on a lot of different types of track all around the world, but I’ve never done anything quite like this.
“I’ve been able to see some videos and pictures and it looks like a lot of fun, but also quite challenging. It will help to bring out our pure driving skills, for sure. I look forward to the challenge and hope I can represent Team Penske and IndyCar well.”
“When the opportunity was presented to me to race a rallycross car on ice, I jumped at it,” added Castroneves. “I’ve never raced a rallycross car like this and I’ve never raced on ice, so it will be a learning experience for me.
“It blows me away to think about racing a car with spikes in the tyres. I’m looking forward to just taking it all in and going out there and doing the best I can. I can honestly say this will help me to complete my motorsport résumé one day.”
Versatile upcoming American ace Austin Cindric will climb into the cockpit for the opening two rounds at Östersund and Höljes in Sweden in early February, while the US contingent will be swelled by the presence of rallycross regulars Cole Keatts and Conner Martell. All of them are revving up to go doorhandle-to-doorhandle with some of the biggest names in the discipline.
FIA World Rallycross Championship Supercar star Kevin Eriksson, 2017 RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires Champion Cyril Raymond, former FIA European Rallycross Champion Robin Larsson and 2015 GRC Lites Champion Oliver Eriksson are all due to tackle all four events. They will surely provide the very sternest of tests for the high-profile ‘visitors’ – as will the raft of local specialists in the 23-strong field, composed of no fewer than eight different nationalities.
“It’s fantastic to be racing in RallyX on Ice as well as being back in Supercar Lites, where I got my breakthrough a couple of years ago,” reflected Kevin Eriksson. “It’s a very competitive series and will be a great start to my year, getting up-to-speed and back into race mode before World RX begins. I’m looking forward to the challenge and hope to make the most of it.”
The supporting Speedcar Xtreme series – for potent, 180km/h crosskarts – boasts a similarly eye-catching line-up, with 15 entries, three of whom are regular FIA World RX Supercar protagonists. Team Peugeot-Hansen team-mates Timmy and Kevin Hansen and Niclas Grönholm – son of FIA World Rally Championship legend Marcus Grönholm – will pit themselves against a whole crop of promising young guns all eyeing a future at the sport’s highest level.
“I’m really looking forward to racing the Speedcar Xtreme crosskart on ice!” said Timmy Hansen. “It’s an awesome piece of kit and I hope to have a lot of fun in it. There will be plenty of talented young guys out there, so I'm looking forward to the challenge!”
Indeed, the benchmark for Hansen and co. will be teenage prodigy Linus Östlund, who is the reigning Swedish Champion in the class – giving all of his adversaries a target to aim at.
Fellow support series the RX Academy on Ice will reveal its own entry list in due course, with drivers from at least five different countries set to take to the wheel of identical, factory-built Renault Clio RS RX cars, run by multiple European Rallycross Champions SET Promotion.
The RX Academy was established in 2017 to give aspiring world champions of the future a professional platform to begin their careers, and the winter series has been devised to allow drivers to gain valuable experience in preparation for the main summer rallycross season.
“To be able to unveil not only such healthy grids but also such an impressive depth of quality throughout the field for RallyX on Ice’s inaugural campaign is extremely satisfying, and underscores just how much this exciting new initiative has captured the imagination,” enthused Olsbergs MSE CEO Andreas Eriksson, the man behind the RallyX on Ice concept.
“Josef and Hélio need no introduction – they are both world-class drivers with first-rate résumés – while Austin is one of American motorsport’s fastest-rising young prospects and we are eager to see what they can all achieve in a rallycross car on ice. We are also immensely grateful to Team Penske for supporting their desire to compete.
“They will be up against some of the finest rallycross drivers of the current generation, and to have five full-time World RX Supercar stars and a couple more from GRC across the three classes makes for a quite phenomenal line-up. It might be cold in Sweden and Norway at this time of year, but I can guarantee the action on-track will be red-hot!”
2018 RallyX on Ice Calendar
February 3 Östersund, Sweden
February 10 Höljes, Sweden
February 25 Ål, Norway
March 3 Gol, Norway
Media accreditation for all four RallyX on Ice events is now open. Interested journalists and photographers should contact RallyX on Ice Media Officer Russell Atkins (email@example.com / +44 (0) 7725 223288).
Supercar Lites Entry List
DRIVER NATIONALITY CAR NUMBER EVENT(S)
Josef NEWGARDEN USA 2 ÅL
Hélio CASTRONEVES BRA 3 GOL
Robin LARSSON SWE 4 ALL
Mats OSKARSSON SWE 11 ALL
Anders MICHALAK SWE 12 ÖST, HÖL
Cyril RAYMOND FRA 13 ALL
Oliver ERIKSSON SWE 16 ALL
Hampus RÅDSTRÖM SWE 17 ALL
Ben-Philip GUNDERSEN NOR 20 ALL
Conner MARTELL USA 21 ALL
Austin CINDRIC USA 22 ÖST, HÖL
Pelle WILÉN SWE 23 ALL
Petter LEIRHOL NOR 27 ALL
Alexander WESTLUND SWE 47 ALL
Cole KEATTS USA 53 ALL
Vasiliy GRYAZIN LVA 55 ALL
Jami KALLIOMÄKI FIN 65 ALL
Sondre EVJEN NOR 69 ALL
Alexander LIE NOR 85 ALL
Troy DOWEL AUS 87 ALL
Jimmie WALFRIDSSON SWE 90 ALL
Jonathan WALFRIDSSON SWE 91 ALL
Kevin ERIKSSON SWE 96 ALL
Speedcar Xtreme Entry List
DRIVER NATIONALITY CAR NUMBER
Aleksander WIIK NOR 1
Isac EGONSSON SWE 5
Jimmie ÖSTERBERG SWE 11
Linus ÖSTLUND SWE 12
Nils ANDERSSON SWE 14
Timmy HANSEN SWE 21
Micke GÖTHESSON SWE 34
Finn Erik LØBERG NOR 35
Arne WIIK NOR 55
Niclas GRÖNHOLM FIN 68
Kevin HANSEN SWE 71
Ruve VESKI EST 88
Ole Henry STEINSHOLT NOR 89
Jonathan ESKILSSON SWE 90
Peter LUNDMARK SWE 92