FIA WorldRX: Lydden Hill

3 June 2014

The international home of Rallycross was the perfect setting for some compelling action-packed racing

What an incredible sound. Six fire breathing, anti-lag crackling, turbo powered monsters are all sitting on the start line of what can only be described as one of the most exciting, action packed racing series around.

This is the FIA World Rallycross Championship.

Experiencing a new type of motorsport is something that becomes rarer and rarer for most people. Let’s face it beyond the typical circuit racing, point to point, drifting and drag racing there isn’t much else around to actually experience. So to go into a weekend with something completely fresh, completely new to me and a world championship that’s brand new for 2014 was an exciting proposition.

Rallycross, for those who don’t know, is a combination of circuit racing and rallying. They use, what can be essentially described as WRC cars on steroids. Producing 600hp from the 2.0 litre engines and capable of 0-60mph in a truly staggering 1.9 seconds. Yes, you read that correctly. 1.9 seconds. Seeing these ‘supercars’ shift off the line is a sight (and sound) I’ll never forget.

FIA WorldRX, as it’s also known, is no stranger to some big motorsport celebrities too. Petter Solberg (WRC Champion), Tanner Foust (Formula Drift Champion, X Games Winner and TopGear presenter), Andrew Jordan (BTCC Champion), Nelson Piquet Jr (ex-Formula One driver) and usually Jacques Villeneuve (F1 World Champion, Indy 500 Winner) join the ranks of WorldRX competitors. Big names of course means big sponsors – one of particular interest seems to be the energy drinks war that takes place in World Rallycross. Redbull, Rockstar and Monster Energy all take to the track.

Lydden Hill in Kent was the venue for this headline event, it’s a strange little circuit but one that suits rallycross oh so perfectly. It is of course of the home of rallycross, not just in the UK, but also for the world. The first ever event took place here back in 1967 for ITV’s World of Sport programme.

The crowd really help to make this event special; it has a truly international feel with spectators travelling from all over Europe to get to each round. Lydden was no exception with a strong Scandinavian, Latvian, German and Russian presence around the circuit – all supporting their favourite drivers. I’ve never heard so much cheering as Andreas Bakkerud moved into the lead in the finals.

I know some complain about the shortness of the races, but in reality they produce fierce action packed races that everyone can enjoy – this is a sport that clearly is not just for the die-hard race fan. The championship proved there was a need and want for a World Championship last year with the European championship – so give it a chance.

RX is going places. And fast.