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Interview: Owner-Driver Scott Aims For Strong Finishes In GRC

Image via Scott-Eklund Racing PR


For Andy Scott, age is just a number.

The 55-year-old driver has been mixing it up with drivers half his age in Europe for the past few years, scoring second place in last year’s British Rallycross Championship. This year, however, he’s focusing on the Global Rallycross Championship, a series that grew out of years of successful rally events at the X Games. As such, many of his competitors have come from extreme sports, and with them comes along a much younger crowd.

“I suppose as one of the older drivers, or perhaps the oldest driver in the championship, it gives me a bit of a kick that I’m mixing it up with the young boys,” Scott admits. “But it doesn’t perturb me in any way that I’m the oldest driver, and I like to think that I can interact with the younger generation just as well as anybody else.”

This year, the successful entrepreneur (Scott established a fleet of trawlers in his native Scotland over two decades ago) joined forces with rallycross legend Per Eklund to form Scott-Eklund Racing, one of the top privateer teams in the GRC. His business sense played a major role in the decision to join the series as an owner.

“I made the decision in November of last year, but at that point in time I wasn’t certain of the structure of the team. The team was really only formulated in January of this year. Per was running a driver in the European championship and I’d done the full season in Europe as well. So we started talking through the year.

“At one point in time it looked like I was potentially going to come along with the Ford setup, but then, rather than coming along just as a driver, I could see other opportunities with Per to form a partnership and a new team. And I’m not interested in just a one year deal, we’re looking forward to being part of this new series as it grows. We certainly wanted to be around for a good few years, and develop along with the series. It was a more attractive deal to come with Per.”

Image via Scott-Eklund Racing PR

In his GRC debut at Charlotte on May 26, Scott scored a stellar fourth-place finish in the final after winning the last chance qualifier to get in. Such a strong finish didn’t come easily, however.

“In the seeding we didn’t post a time because we had turbo problems with the car. Clearly that fell well below my expectations. I was expecting to be in with a top five time in seeding, and to come away with no time in seeding was bitterly disappointing.

“The result itself, finishing fourth, was where we set out, to finish in the top five. Where we exceeded our expectations was the way in which we’d done it – to come from the back row of the grid to finish fourth exceeded our expectations. But as for the result itself, I firmly believe that we’re a top five running car and driver combination.”

Teammate Samuel Hubinette reaffirmed that by finishing fifth in the final, giving Scott-Eklund Racing two top five runs in its GRC debut. As a team owner, Scott was enthusiastic about having a teammate, and raved about working with the Swedish-American driver.

“I was more than willing to share my experiences, ideas, and techniques on the circuit, and Samuel shared his as well. I think that when you’ve got two people working a setup and lines for the circuit, when you work together as a team, which we did, that can only make you advance quicker.

Image via Scott-Eklund Racing PR

“Samuel is a real professional guy, he was a pleasure to work with, he fit in instantly with the team. With the Swedish connection, I think it was cool for him to talk a bit of Swedish with some of the engineers and with Per. He really gelled well, and we sincerely hope that he will be a part of our team going forward. We’re trying to negotiate a deal so that he will be in the car for the rest of the season.”

Asked if the team will be able to improve on Charlotte’s finishes, Scott confidently says, “I think so. One of the attractions to the series is that it’s a new circuit for everybody. You don’t have somebody who’s raced for the past ten years in Charlotte on the rallycross circuit, because we’re involved in the first race. So that levels the playing field – everybody has the same track opportunity.

“Certainly the gravel at X Games will be more like the surfaces we used to run on in Europe. So that’s not particularly bothering me in any way, shape, or form. We picture ourselves as a top five running team, and it’s going to be down at the end of the day to purely health.

“If we can drive our car quick enough to suit the circuit, and we can keep out of trouble, then I feel for sure we can stay in the top five. And we’re very, very keen to push for podiums, and ultimately, the win, I think we have the pace to pull a win off before the end of the year.”

Image via Scott-Eklund Racing PR

After the success of the Charlotte event, Scott encourages fans to attend future races, noting that there’s still more to come from the GRC.

“I think there’s a great potential still to come from the course layout. As we know, in Charlotte, we only ended up with the one small jump. I think when they get the full specter course running, it’ll offer a great challenge to the drivers, and I think the crowd will get right behind it. I think the crowd soaked it up in Charlotte, and I think they’ll be even more into it when we have the gap jump and the long jump, and all the features that were promised.

“So come along and be part of the fun! The only way to really enjoy rallycross is to be standing there at trackside and listen to the cars launch off the line and see the close quarters racing, and be a part of that thrill trackside.”

– Chris Leone

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Trackbacks

  1. […] one of the strongest teams in the series with owner-driver Andy Scott (read an interview with him here) and Samuel Hubinette, who only announced a full-time deal with the team in the past week. […]

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