Formula Cross Honors Foust, Shows Off Subaru At SEMA

Image via Rhys Millen Facebook

During the Global Rallycross Championship season finale at the SEMA Show this week, the folks at Rhys Millen Racing brought two brand-new versions of their Formula Cross bodies to display in the paddock.

The first, a repaint of the Ford Fiesta-based 450YFC that has been demonstrated to rave reviews from drivers and fans alike, featured the paint scheme of Tanner Foust’s championship-winning GRC entry. Foust, a two-time champion in both Formula Drift and the GRC, has competed against Millen in both disciplines, and both finished on the podium in Tuesday night’s finale. Alongside the Ford Focus ST, this was the second vehicle painted in Foust’s honor on display at SEMA.

The second body kit was not actually mounted on the kart, but remained on display in the paddock nonetheless alongside the Foust edition. This kit is based on the Subaru WRX STi that Sverre Isachsen, Dave Mirra, and Bucky Lasek use in the GRC, and was selected over a number of other possibilities, from current GRC models to old Group B styles.

Millen took the Formula Cross kart out for some laps on Monday. Expect a video recap from the folks at FC very soon.

– Chris Leone


Formula Cross Pre-Orders Gain Momentum, RMR To Show Off At SEMA

Image via Formula Cross

While Rhys Millen competes in the Global Rallycross Championship season finale at this year’s SEMA Show, his Rhys Millen Racing employees will also be there promoting a different project: the brand-new Formula Cross kart.

Just as RMR announced that it is accepting pre-orders for the new 700YFC Yamaha-based model, the team revealed that they would be taking a special edition of the original kart plus the new Subaru WRX STi-based body shell to the world-famous trade show.

Pre-order spots for both the 450YFC and 700YFC models cost $50 and come with a welcome kit that features a hat and t-shirt in white or black and set of stickers. According to the Formula Cross website, pre-orders for the 660YFC should be available late this year, and 450HFC and 700HFC Honda-based models should be available sometime next year.

– Chris Leone


Millen, Tracy, Tutt Test Formula Cross Car At Pikes Peak

Video capture via Formula Cross

As part of its inaugural newsletter released yesterday, the folks at Rhys Millen Racing have released the video of off-road racers Rod Millen, Greg Tracy, and Steve Tutt shaking down the Formula Cross prototype before competing in this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Multiple cameras show the YFC450 taking various dirt corners at speed, as well as in-car shots of different drivers handling the car. At one point, picture-in-picture shows what it’s like behind the wheel as the vehicle handles a series of corners. At the end, Tracy laughs about the experience, joking that he “wasn’t sure about wearing a white T-shirt.”

The test was somewhat of a good luck charm for both Tracy and Tutt, both of whom posted exceptional runs at PPIHC. Tutt took his fourth career Quad class win, this time in the Modified class, with a time of 11:40.521. Meanwhile, Tracy finished second in the 1205cc motorcycle class, but was one of only four people to crack the 10 minute barrier, posting a time of 9:58.262. As for proprietor Rhys Millen, he set a world record in his Time Attack Hyundai Genesis, reaching the summit in 9:46.164.

– Chris Leone

Formula Cross Adds Subaru-Inspired Body Type To Pre-Orders

Image via Formula Cross Facebook

While the folks at Rhys Millen Racing have been hard at work on getting their new Formula Cross project off the ground, one of the aspects of the car that many had been hoping for was the option to change body styles. In fact, the official Facebook page asked fans on August 21 what they would like to see as a second body style, after the current Hyundai Veloster-inspired vehicle.

Yesterday, RMR came through with a second body design, as shown in the photo. This design is based on the current Subaru WRX STis campaigned in the Global Rallycross Championship, and can be chosen to ship with pre-orders. The goal is to make fully interchangeable bodies available for all models. The series page boasts that teams can change out these bodies in about two minutes.

Formula Cross is also still accepting designs for its paint scheme contest, which runs through October 31. Participants can still download the car template from the official website and post their designs on Facebook. Winners will receive official Formula Cross gear.

– Chris Leone

Formula Cross Reveals New Logo, Announces Livery Design Contest

In anticipation of shipping out their first models in the coming months, Formula Cross has updated their website and Facebook page with a new logo, while also announcing a paint scheme design contest that runs from now until October 31.

Entrants can download the template here from the Formula Cross website, create their design on the YFC450 template, and upload the finished product to Facebook for a chance to win a Formula Cross T-shirt or hat.

Image via Dallas Sadler/Formula Cross Facebook

So far, the contest has received one entry, this design from Dallas Sadler. With a month to go before prizes are awarded, and more pre-orders sure to come in, expect to see more liveries on the page in the coming weeks.

– Chris Leone

Formula Cross Releases How-To Guide on Finding Sponsors

Image via Formula Cross website

The folks at Rhys Millen Racing may not be ready to announce details on a racing series for their Formula Cross project until next year, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to help independent competitors along in the process of attracting sponsorship.

RMR/Formula Cross marketing director A.J. Grasso has released a comprehensive guide, “Getting Sponsored – A Realistic Approach,” as a way to help prospective teams attract sponsorship dollars. While RMR is not accepting sponsorship applications itself, the goal is to help Formula Cross owners figure out how to bring in support on their own so they’ll be ready for a 2013 season.

Most of the principles presented in the guide are simply common sense—use strong photography, track down the right people, offer multiple proposals—but many are important in helping young teams and drivers keep their composure and set themselves apart in the sponsorship hunt. “Don’t get overaggressive requesting a response,” the guide suggests, while offering a full list of social media channels that any team should utilize.

By now, it looks like that guide is going to get plenty of use. Grasso confirmed via email that RMR have received “overwhelming” interest in the formula, have put a significant number of units in production, and have received enough pre-orders from across the United States and the globe to demonstrate strong international interest. While orders have been coming in, the key to establishing a feeder series in 2013 is to have enough chassis running nationwide to facilitate respectable car counts. If so, RMR has spoken to the proper people to help get a championship series up and running.

– Chris Leone

Exclusive: Millen Talks About Creation, Development of Formula Cross

Image via Formula Cross Facebook

“With countless feeder series already in place to support the likes of Indy Car, Formula 1 and NASCAR,” the Formula Cross website reads, “it only made sense that Formula Cross fill in the missing gaps in the world of rally and rallycross.” That’s true, but there’s much more to the project than that—Rhys Millen Racing’s ambitious conversion project turns any ATV into a fully functional car that both corresponds to the driving experience of larger vehicles and allows riders to continue enjoying their ATVs with additional safety benefits, all at a reasonably inexpensive price point.

We talked to Rhys Millen at length about the inspiration behind the Formula Cross project, as well as the results of testing and some of the details about the conversion process. Thus far, he suggests, the project has been overwhelmingly positive, and those interested in the vehicle can expect multiple models, and perhaps a racing series, very soon:

Where did the inspiration behind the Formula Cross concept come from?

(laughs) The inspiration came from about six or seven years ago, breaking my back on a quad, parking it in my garage since then, and multiple years walking past it not really wanting to sell it. And then a few years ago, probably three plus years ago, looking at the quad in a different light, that perhaps this can be stretched and changed into a driving experience. Taking into consideration the safety element of incorporating a cage and seat and so forth as an extension of the driving experience, but with safety.

Image via Formula Cross Facebook

After kind of mentioning the idea to a couple of people, I heard very similar stories—riders had become a little older, they’d been hurt on them, their wives wouldn’t go near them, or their kids were becoming teenagers and wanted to ride quads and the parents didn’t want them anywhere near them. So in hearing all of that, I kind of started to commit to the thought, and this year in January we decided to develop this vehicle. And I think it was a shock to us on how well balanced, how amazing the driving experience was, and how much car control you could pick up, both from throttle control and steering, that would translate to a full-sized vehicle.

When did work on the project start? How far into the development process was the vehicle when you unveiled it to the world last month?

We started the project January 1 after laying out multiple sorts of designs, but the fabrication started then. It went into a four to six month sort of test phase once it was produced, while the body and everything was being developed as well in our composite shop. And we were going out doing multiple setups, balancing the chassis and drivability and so fort for handling until we started production on the vehicles which will be available here shortly. And it’s been received very, very well.

We’ve had multiple people drive it, from top ATV riders in the US to friends of mine that run the Ducati 1205 bikes up Pikes Peak and NASCAR drivers and rally guys, and some of my good stunt friends as well. Even my father’s been in it, and he loves it. And the feedback has all been positive. Over that testing period of some 400-plus miles, we never had one mechanical, and the whole package has proven to be very capable as a driving tool and a very exciting experience behind the wheel.

Image via Formula Cross Facebook

For those who are looking to buy the kit and install it themselves, how long does the process take, and how complex is the conversion?

It’s offered in several manners. The first would be, if you are a current ATV owner of the Yamaha models, which we’re starting with first—the 2004 and up 450, 660, and 750 Raptor—the retail on our kit is $7500, and it will take you about 20 hours to flip everything over. So (it’s) a two, two and a half day thing, comfortably, and utilizing about 90 percent of the production vehicle. If you’re not mechanically inclined, not a do-it-yourself kind of person, we also offer a service in house to make you a turn-key model that can either be based off a vehicle you own, a used vehicle that can be found on Craigslist or eBay or wherever, or the third option is to go to a local distributor/dealer and purchase a new vehicle that can be brought to us and we can do that transformation as well.

You’ve done plenty of demo days at tracks like Adams Motorsports Park and Pikes Peak. When are you planning for the next one, and will it be open to the public?

Image via DirtFish Rally School Facebook

We’ve fit one more day in there as well—we took it up to DirtFish Rally School in the Seattle area and had their instructors run it over there as consideration as a stepping stone into a full-size rally car. There was a lot of interest expressed up there as well. But now we’re very happy with what we’ve been out to achieve. Our testing phase is done, and now we’re really focused into production over the next couple of months.

We will release some more videos, and the main focus next is going to be showing the diversity of the vehicle. We can put paddle tires on this vehicle and take it out to Pismo Beach or up to Glamis; you can put full dirt tires on it and go romping through the desert. So that’s kind of going to be the focus, showing the diversity of the chassis, with its built-in different ride heights to be able to allow the driver not only a fixed experience like a go-kart does on a smooth surface on a specific track, (but) a diversity to take this in different locations with different surfaces and enjoy the vehicle in that manner.

You’re planning on creating a series for the Formula Cross kart—when can we expect to hear details on that?

You know, there’s been more developments than we’ve kind of given credit for on the platform. The interest level has definitely surpassed the timeframes that we thought would come about. Probably the most exciting this is that everyone wants one to race one, or a good 90-plus percent of the people. With that in mind, we’ve been approached by some already existing sanctioning bodies that run karting national series and so forth that look to add this as a class, and then some others that are based around the ATV world. So the interest level is there, even without ourselves forming a sanctioning body or sanctioning series. So we are focusing on specific designs that are safe for the chassis construction, and also considering a set of rules to allow these sanctioning bodies to implement the vehicles into their current setups.

– Chris Leone

Formula Cross Demos Continue At Pikes Peak

Image via Formula Cross Facebook

While Rhys Millen was busy conquering this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the California-based Rhys Millen Racing team had another priority as well: demonstrating the initial Formula Cross prototype for fans and prospective competitors.

Internationally renowned stunt driver Greg Tracy, a six-time Pikes Peak class winner in various motorcycle classes, was among those to wheel the Yamaha-based 450YFC model in private testing before the event. Tracy’s son Lane, as well as fellow PPIHC competitor Layne Schranz, took turns in the new vehicle.

The test session was somewhat of a good luck charm for everyone involved. Millen set an all-time record in climbing up the mountain with a time of 9:46.164, while Tracy finished fourth overall with a time of 9:58.262 while competing in the 1205 (motorcycle) class. Schranz also took the victory in the Super Stock Car class, taking the victory over 15-time class winner Clint Vahsholtz by 15.580 seconds.

Formula Cross continues to take pre-orders for the 450YFC model. The kit price is $7,500, with a $2,500 deposit and installation services available. Specifications and ordering information are available on the Formula Cross website.

– Chris Leone

Millen Organizing New Rallycross Feeder Series

Image via Formula Cross Facebook

Global Rallycross Championship competitor Rhys Millen has been a major force in many forms of motorsports for years. Next year, he’ll take his commitments to the next level, as purveyor of a new rallycross development series named Formula Cross.

Millen, who ranked third in GRC points through X Games, formally announced the series’ launch on July 19, and more details on the specifications of the vehicle have leaked over the past few days.

The cars are built from ATVs, with a Yamaha YZF 450 Raptor becoming the first donor vehicle. Future models will be based on Kawasaki, Honda, and Suzuki ATVs, among others. The 450cc engine model will be followed by a 700cc model in the near future. The transformed vehicle weighs just under 500 pounds and fits in the back of a truck bed.

According to Rhys Millen Racing’s A.J. Grasso, preorders will cost under $10,000, and will begin to ship in November. His email address, as well as more photos and promotional videos, are on the series’ Facebook page.

Image via Formula Cross Facebook

Millen has been testing the new vehicle himself across the western United States, shaking down the initial model in preparation for the launch of the series next year. Though details remain scarce, the car has made appearances at such venues as DirtFish Rally School and Evergreen Speedway in Washington, Adams Motorsports Park in California, and will show up at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado.

But even when race events aren’t taking place, one of the advantages of the new vehicle is that it doesn’t require track time to run. Unlike go-karts and other development vehicles, owners can take the new vehicle off road for more time behind the wheel. It also boasts safety upgrades foreign to go-karts, including a tubular chassis and roll cage to protect the driver.

More details about the car, and series, should come to light in the next few months. Until then, RMR will continue to focus on developing their new creation, while Millen will continue to compete in GRC and Formula Drift events.

– Chris Leone