Nitro Circus has officially announced its plans for the first full Nitro Rallycross season, which will begin in 2021.
As previously revealed exclusively by DirtFish, the revolutionary rallycross format will expand into a five-race championship series in North America next year, before growing into a 10-round international series in 2022.
The US series will begin at Nitro Rallycross’ spiritual home of the Utah Motorsports Campus near Salt Lake City next September, before heading to Washington state and Nevada in October, Arizona in November, and Quebec, Canada in January 2022.
The North American series will serve as a precursor to a full international competition in 2022 which will add rounds in Europe and the Middle East as well as the North American races.
Each race will take place on a purpose-built permanent track that will “keep with the spectacular size and scope of Nitro Rallycross’ original Utah home, but with a wide variety of locations reflecting each race’s unique environs.” As such, each unique location will feature a range of different surfaces, including dirt and ice, with dramatic backdrops like deserts, forests, mountains, and cityscapes setting the scene.
There is now demand to take the sport to the next levelJoe Carr, CEO of Nitro Circus' parent company Thrill One Sports & Entertainment
“Since day one, I have truly believed that Nitro Rallycross has the potential to be the most exciting motorsports series on the planet,” said five-time US rally champion and Nitro Rallycross pioneer Travis Pastrana.
“When we built the first NRX course in Utah we knew we had something special – from the drivers’ genuine smiles to the astonished fans as cars flew side-by-side over 100-foot jumps
“Now, as we get ready for the next chapter of NRX, I’m more convinced than ever that this will bring top drivers from all disciplines to challenge themselves as their teams push the envelope in vehicle development. It’s going to be a hell of a ride and this is only the beginning.”
Joe Carr, CEO of Nitro Cirsus’ parent company Thrill One Sports & Entertainment, added: “This is not a new series concept based solely on renderings. Over the past two years, Travis and the Nitro Rallycross team have delivered a proof of concept to rave reviews and there is now demand to take the sport to the next level.
“Given the disruption and uncertainty around the 2021 rallycross calendar, the industry is looking for stability now more than ever and to align with the best platform to showcase their vehicles, driving abilities and provide the biggest possible audience for their commercial sponsors. Nitro Rallycross is ready to deliver on all fronts.”
As well as the first official confirmation of the new series’ intended schedule, more details have been revealed about Nitro Rallycross’ electric future. While traditional combustion-engined cars will compete in Nitro Rallycross initially, electric vehicles will be introduced in a standalone competition alongside them from 2022.
The electric competition will utilize the innovative new FC1-X, an all-electric SUV being developed by First Place – a partnership between electromobility company QEV Technologies and long-time rallycross team operator Olsbergs MSE, both of which are also collaborating on the new RX2e car.
The FC1-X’s initial development has already been completed, with track testing set to begin in February. Initial confirmed figures are a 1,000 bhp four-wheel-drive drivetrain, that will deliver 3Gs of acceleration and a 0-60 time of 1.5 seconds.
“We have been working with many leading OEMs for over 24 months on the FC1-X. The end product is a testament to the collaborative approach to deliver the very best vehicle in electric motorsports that the OEMs will be proud of,” said Olsbergs MSE boss Andreas Eriksson. “This vehicle will accelerate almost twice as fast as its nearest competitor and other proposed electric offerings currently on the drawing board.”
“With the electric SUV category the fastest growing category for auto manufacturers, FC1-X and Nitro Rallycross will provide the perfect platform for OEMs to highlight their new models rolling off the production line across the globe and generate a global fervour for their new vehicles, which will translate to purchases.”
Ford, Volkswagen, and Subaru have also been involved in developing bodywork for the new vehicle along with other, as yet unnamed, OEMs.
Three-time World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson added that the FC1-X will present an ideal platform for drivers.
“The vision for Nitro Rallycross and the new FC1-X electric vehicle that has been developed is everything you look for as a driver,” he said. “This series is the perfect platform to showcase the new electric vehicles that are being produced and also provides the best test for us, as drivers to showcase our skills.”
Furthering Nitro Rallycross’ electric credentials is the backing of Causeway Media Partners. The sports investment firm was one of the original investors in Formula E, and is a key investor in the Nitro Rallycross project. Long-term Nitro Circus partners Red Bull and Yokohama will be involved with the new series too.
Series organizers have also revealed that they are in the final stages of selecting a major US broadcast partner, as well as a global streaming partner that will enable the series to reach an audience in over 130 countries.