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GRC Insider: Verdier Breaks Down Las Vegas Layout

Image via Global Rallycross Championship

All the way back in May, Stephan Verdier told us that the Las Vegas Motor Speedway round of this year’s Global Rallycross Championship was likely going to feature dirt on the race surface. According to the layout posted on the official GRC site, he’s absolutely right—there will be six-degree banked dirt on the Legends oval within the course, a turn which drivers will take every lap.

Besides that, the Las Vegas layout will also feature the shortcut going through the gap jump, a trait that was supposed to be present at X Games before two accidents led to prevailing safety concerns. This time, however, Verdier says that attention has been paid to every detail of track safety.

“For this round, Tanner (Foust) and Ken Block (heads of the GRC driver safety committee) were contacted to make sure the track was to the drivers’ liking,” Verdier says. “So we had an idea what was going on. I think it’s great! First of all, I like the idea that we have the dirt. It’s a great thing—we need the dirt. The banked dirt, I don’t think it makes a difference, but we can go faster into it, but it’s going to be such a big bank that we’ve got a lot of cars hitting.

“The shortcuts through the gap, I think it’s going to be about a four second difference from the regular track, so it won’t be too big. I think the track is great. Also, it looks like we’re going to be able to set up the day before, so we should have the practice that we’re supposed to have. The jump should be wider, we should have the same width as X Games, so the same distance to pass over the jump that we couldn’t do in New Hampshire.

Image via Rhys Millen Racing Flickr

“GRC is getting all their stuff together and doing a lot of work to make sure the track is set up correctly, so it should be a pretty cool track. I’m really excited about it.”

Dirt was noticeably absent from the first two rounds of the season at Charlotte and Texas. But with a wildly successful race at New Hampshire, both the series and the tracks seem committed to making sure that every race from here on out features multiple surfaces, ensuring proper rallycross competition.

“I think before New Hampshire they didn’t really have the logistics to do it,” Verdier adds, “and the tracks were a little bit scared to have dirt on the track until they saw at New Hampshire that it was pretty easy to remove. It’s going to be different dirt than New Hampshire—that was more like sand, which was cool except when you got packets of sand on your windshield and you couldn’t see anything. The dirt we’re going to have for Vegas should be close to the dirt we had for X Games, which is more like clay. You won’t have big packets of stuff on your windshield.

“I think (the tracks) realize that it makes the sport more exciting, and for drivers it’s awesome. We like dirt! (GRC) gets it. They knew from the start that it wasn’t logistically possible to have dirt in the first few races, but when they saw it could be removed I’m sure we’re always going to have it now.”

Image via Rhys Millen Racing Flickr

Verdier also believes that after a long season, Las Vegas may be the race where teams start to struggle with mechanical issues—”I think at Vegas you’re going to start seeing engines overheating on the cars, and brake issues because of temperature”—but remains confident in some of the advantages that his Rhys Millen Racing-prepared Hyundai Veloster possesses.

“The big advantage with the Veloster is the braking,” Verdier notes. “We have awesome brakes on the car, and even if you look at the Ford and the braking, the Ford is really perhaps benefitting because they’re setting the pace. On the Dodge, after a couple of laps you can see the brakes overheating and they’re losing the brakes. So the good thing is, because our car is a WRC car, the brakes are made for doing WRC stages. On tarmac, we can run for fifteen laps and not have any issue with the brakes.”

– Chris Leone

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Trackbacks

  1. […] The track layout is once again .77 miles long, but features some significant changes from the previous NASCAR tri-oval layouts at Charlotte and Texas. The jump is now at the exit of NASCAR pit road, while the shortcut actually takes drivers through the gap jump, as had been the plan at X Games. Dirt also returns, as part of the Legends track within the tri-oval will feature the clayish mixture from X Games and slight banking. For more analysis on the layout from Stephan Verdier, click here. […]

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