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Images from round 1 of Nitro RX at Lydden Hill (2022)
NEWS

Shock To The RX System: IS GROUP E THE NEW GROUP B

Jun 212022

Timo Salonen, Stig Blomqvist, Juha Kankkunen, Hannu Mikkola, Walter Röhrl. Titanic names in rallying… and all of them world Champions. Moreover they are just a handful of legendary names that are forever emblazoned in motorsport history. We're talking Group B rally of course. A now near mythical golden era between 1982 and 1986, which was responsible for some of the fastest and most powerful rally cars ever built. 

Four-wheel drive, combined with massive red-hot glowing turbos, huge aerodynamics, and down right sh*t scary performance created a spectacle which captured the attention of drivers and fans worldwide. At the time it was claimed that a Group B car could accelerate from 0-60mph (96km/h) on a gravel road, in just 2.3 seconds. It was this combination of the raw speed, talent, and jaw dropping power that helped create the allure of Group-B, and with it, a fan base that has lasted decades.

For better or worse - and we’ll let you argue that one - things have changed quite a bit since then. Racing is safer and probably more professional; with the motorsport community having moved on from insane scenes of unregulated power, and hoards of fans playing chicken with oncoming cars. Seriously; search for “1980s crazy rally fans” if you don’t know. 

Fast forward 36 years, and off-road racing is on the cusp of another ground-breaking era. 
 

“It’s an incredibly exciting and complex time - but there is a hell of a lot to look forward to,” explains triple FIA European Rallycross Champion and Monster Energy RX Cartel driver Andreas Bakkerud. “I’ve been raised on petrol and turbos but the new electric era called Group E is here, and it’s time to get onboard with it. These new cars run at a base of 850bhp - that’s around 300bhp than those crazy Group B machines back in the 80s. It's absolutely insane performance when you think about it.”

 

As Bakkerud hinted at - there is one key difference in all of this. Electric.

“From a fan point of view - ok, I get it; maybe the sound isn't quite there, but absolutely everything else is.” continues Bakkerud. “The speed, the power, the racing; it’s going to be epic. All the engineers have to do is plug in to the car and make a few adjustments on the software, and then these cars put out over 1000bhp. That’s getting on for double what cars like the Audi Sport Quattro S1 had. Think of the hours you would have to spend busting your knuckles in the workshop to get a petrol race car from 850bhp to 1000bhp. Now the power is on tap with a few clicks. That’s pretty f***ing awesome. I wish it had been that easy before!”

“I’ve got a lot of experience with the “old” petrol powered Supercars -can we call them that?! But these new FC1-X machines are something else. The car has more power, a bigger chassis, longer damper travel and will fly harder and faster over the jumps than anything I’ve raced before. 

 

“It blew my mind straight out the box, not only from a performance point of view but also with its toughness given the amount of laps we could do on a frozen lake up north in Sweden. It is very promising to drive, loads of power – just like us rallycross drivers like it. It’s going be a blast going head to head with this new car and to see which team can first find that little detail in performance gain for the first few races.”
 

Based on performance figures alone, what’s not to like? 

 

Arguably without the legendary stages of the Acropolis, or the winding roads of Monte Carlo, the full experience of Group B wouldn't have been complete. This is why, with the advent of the new 1000bhp electric era there’s also a global championship and an exciting lineup of circuits to match. The NitroRX series - which pitches itself as a new disruptive force in rallycross is expanding beyond its former US-based home, and will be exclusively running the new generation of all-electric race machines around the world from June 2022.

 

Promising groundbreaking tracks, with huge jumps and steep banked turns, on a host of new settings - drivers will do battle on tarmac, inside stadiums, through street circuits and over snow and ice for a diverse range of race environments. It’s all part of a vision from the series founders to introduce an exciting new series into motorsport which will re-capture fans attention in the right way, and aims to pave the way for a brighter future in rallycross

 

“Stop crying that it won’t blow out your eardrums, the FC1-X is faster and tougher than current supercars and it’s going to help Nitro Rallycross take it to the next level for 2022. More racing, more classes, more support, more power. We lose nothing by introducing this new vehicle, but we gain a lot for the future of rallycross.”

 

It’s a sentiment that Bakkerud - a Supercar rallycross veteran with 30 podiums and over 70 starts to his name agrees with. “Once fans see how hard and fast we are racing, I think the negative thoughts about sound will start to fade. There’s an incredible ten round calendar around the world coming up. For me personally - I’ve teamed up with Robin Larsson - 2014 European Supercar champion, and a veteran of 44 World Rallycross starts - as the Monster Energy RX Cartel. We're here to shred and take over - so this new championship and car could be the perfect storm.”
 

Make sure to check out Nitro RX, Andreas, Robin and the Monster Energy RX Cartel. Take things to the next level and drop some coin over at the only fans- yeah, you read that correctly…

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