Nitro Rallycross’ long-awaited second album has arrived, with a blockbuster visit to the fabled Lydden Hill circuit in the United Kingdom kicking off a 10-event schedule that’ll take the season into the next calendar year.
After this weekend’s pilgrimage to the ‘home of rallycross’, the series will head to Sweden for an event Strängnäs Motorstadion at the end of July, before completing its European jaunt at the end of August with a trip to the KymiRing in Finland.
From there it will return to three of last year’s five US locations, with Minneapolis, Southern California, and Phoenix all returning; Utah and North Florida both dropping off the schedule.
A trip to Saudi Arabia will round out the year in December, before a brace of Canadian rounds in Quebec and Alberta take place at the end of January and start of February respectively. To complete the season, a ‘Series Finale’ event will take place in the US in March, the date and venue both to be confirmed at a later date.
The Nitro RX classes
This year’s championship will look rather different, with the new all-electric ‘Group E’ class being the new headline category. The class is a one-make affair, with everyone utilizing the purpose-built FC1-X, a 1000bhp machine co-developed by rallycross powerhouse Olsbergs MSE and electromobility specialists QEV Technologies.
Groupe E will appear at every round globally, but Supercars will remain, albeit split into separate European and US competitions. The top drivers from each are expected to congregate for the March finale.
NRX Next remains as the premier development class too, with CrossCars and Side-By-Sides also featuring throughout the year – the former being on the bill at Lydden Hill in addition to retro rallycross demonstrations.
In terms of race format, the head-to-head battles will once again be the format for the opening day of action for both Group E and Supercars, before transition to multi-car heats on the second day. NRX Next and the fourth category on the bill will follow a double-header format at every round, with each day comprising a full championship round in its own right.
Which drivers are competing in Nitro Rallycross?
In Group E, 10 drivers have been confirmed for the season opener. Last year’s Supercar champion Travis Pastrana headlines the entry list, competing for Vermont SportsCar alongside Conner Martell.
Joining them is the four-car JC Raceteknik and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing powerhouse featuring Andreas Bakkerud, Robin Larsson, Fraser McConnell, and a revolving cast in its final entry – that seat being occupied by Ole Christian Veiby in round one.
Xite Energy Racing has been a prominent player over the off-season by expanding to a two-car entry, with 2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button and World Rally Championship star Kris Meeke sharing a seat alongside Oliver Bennett. Meeke gets the nod for the UK, Sweden, and Saudi Arabia, with Button set to contest the other rounds.
Completing the initial entry list is Olsbergs MSE. Keeping it in the family, the team will field brothers Oliver and Kevin Eriksson this season, although the latter won’t participate this weekend after being injured in the build-up to the event.
Who’s competing in the Nitro RX support classes?
Away from Group E, Lydden Hill’s Supercar field will comprise a who’s who of British regulars, with Dominic Flitney (Volvo C30), Patrick O’Donovan (Ford Fiesta), and Tristan Ovenden (Citroen DS3) all featuring.
Yury Belevskiy, who dominated the 2021 European RX3 championship, is also racing this weekend in an Audi S1, while Fraser McConnell will be the first driver to pull double duty, running a Betomik Racing-entered Hyundai i20 in addition to his Group E commitments.
He won’t be the only driver racing in two classes this season. Series pioneer Travis Pastrana is set to dovetail his own Group E assault with another run at a Supercar crown with Subaru in the US.
In the NRX Next class, reigning champion Casper Jansson leads a gaggle of returning drivers that also includes George Megennis, Lane Vacala, Kyle Schwartz, and Simon Olofsson. Completing that field is Extreme E race winner Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, Ole Henry Steinsholt, and RallyX Nordic Supercar Lites champion Tommi Hallman.
There will also be 10 CrossCar entries competing at Lydden Hill, including 2021 Supercar runner Ronalds Baldiņš.
Where to watch Nitro Rallycross
As with the 2021 season, NBC’s Peacock holds exclusive broadcast rights in the US, with “encore presentations” being shown on CNBC and NBC Sports digital post-event. For the global audience, YouTube streaming will once again be available.
In the UK, FreeSports will be broadcasting the Lydden Hill round live on both Saturday and Sunday.