Steve Arpin will campaign a Hyundai i20 in this year’s Nitro Rallycross championship following a tie-up between his Loenbro Motorsports outfit and multiple World Rallycross event winners Grönholm RX.
The move represents a major shift for Arpin who has raced Fords exclusively throughout his rallycross career.
“[I’m] pumped to have been able to put this partnership together with GRX! As with everything we do, it’s all about the people,” said three-time rallycross event winner Arpin.
“I’ve known Jussi Pinoäki since my first event in rallycross when we were able to work together in Brazil and I’ve got a ton of respect for him.
“To be able to team up with him and utilize his knowledge in the sport as well as Marcus and Niclas Grönholm and everything they’ve accomplished is a great opportunity for all of us.”
Jussi Pinomäki, whose SET Promotion squad runs GRX, added: “Since I first worked with Steve not only has he become one of the top drivers in rallycross, but he has developed a similar passion for the sport to the feeling we have at GRX.
“We’re very excited to be partnering Steve and the Loenbro team for this new championship, with its fresh vision, new tracks and an interesting field of drivers and cars. We are all very competitive people, so as always, we are working hard to achieve the best possible results this fall.”
Arpin began his rallycross career in 2013 following a spell in NASCAR. He drove Olsbergs Fiestas for his first two years of competition before a switch to M-Sport’s Fiesta platform with Chip Ganassi Racing which went on to become Loenbro Motorsports.
There was a move to the factory-developed Focus RS RX for 2018 season but it failed to deliver the desired results, necessitating a switch back to the Fiesta for 2019 – albeit now with the Focus’ running gear.
During US rallycross’ downtime over the last 18 months, Loenbro Motorsports has aligned with modified constructor Longhorn Chassis, with Arpin racing the cars to multiple victories across selected events.
The news of the Loenbro/GRX alliance comes after the Finnish team was confirmed as one of the first teams for NRX’s new electric class which will debut in 2022.
It’ll also mark a return of the Grönholm name to North American rallycross for the first time since 2012.
Two-time World Rally Champion Marcus won five times across the 2011-12 Global Rallycross seasons before a crash at X Games XVIII in Los Angeles prematurely ended his full-time driving career.