Hold onto your flat-brimmed hats. Rallycross is returning to Irwindale and it’s bringing Ken Block’s Gymkhana Grid along with it. ESPN has announced that this summer’s Global Rallycross X-Games events will be held at Irwindale Event Center, home of the very first offical Global Rallycross event back in 2011.
MPGomatic regulars know that we’ve been chasing the Rallycross story since the summer of 2010 when Rally America premiered the sport at New Jersey Motorsports Park with a three weekend series. Lots of water and money have flowed under the gap jump since that first season. Global Rallycross has grown into the antithesis of grass roots racing, with an international series that’s defied the expectations of many.
ESPN – together with the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and Irwindale Event Center – will present X Games Los Angeles 2013 on August 1 – 4, with more than 200 athletes in competition venues and event spaces in and around L.A. LIVE, STAPLES Center and – for the first time – Irwindale Speedway. ESPN and ABC will combine to offer 19 live hours of X Games Los Angeles 2013 original programming; WatchESPN will carry every event on ESPN networks; and an additional four-and-a-half hours of original content will be available across computers, smartphones, tablets and Xbox in the U.S.
Celebrating its 11th consecutive and final year in Southern California, X Games Los Angeles will debut the discipline of Gymkhana. Made popular by driver Ken Block, it will premier as Ford Gymkhana Grid at Irwindale Speedway and accompany Ford RallyCross. Based off the popular Gymkhana driving technique, Ford Gymkhana Grid features drivers competing head to head on a specifically designed course consisting of cones, tires, barrels and other obstacles. The race will require drivers to perform figure eights, 180-degree spins and other advanced driving techniques to get through the course as quickly as possible. In addition to Rally disciplines, Irwindale Speedway will also host Skateboard and BMX Big Air, X Games Music and X Fest elements.
“I’m stoked to be partnering up with ESPN to bring my Gymkhana GRID racing series to X Games Los Angeles this summer,” said Block. “Gymkhana GRID is something that I’ve been in the process of building up for a few years now and I really think the fans and audiences at home are going to enjoy it. It takes the style of driving that people see in my Gymkhana series of YouTube videos and brings it into a head-to-head racing format that’s timed. The fans not only get to see these awesome rally cars sliding sideways and making tons of tire smoke, but also a straight up driver versus driver race. August can’t come soon enough!”
While the inaugural race at Irwindale in 2011 spurred a lawsuit, this appears to right to wrongs. It also takes Rallycross out of the streets of Los Angeles, where it played a starring roll at X-Games 2011 and 2012.
– by Daniel Gray