Mitchell DeJong Fourth in Global Rallycross Lites at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Mitchell DeJong’s debut into Global Rallycross for the first U.S. round of Global Rallycross Lites Series in New Hampshire made great strides in odd conditions as he finished in 4th place, marking him the highest ranked American in the GRC Lites class.
After Wednesday’s waterlogged practice was canceled, the New Hampshire Motor Speedway crew pulled all of the tricks to dry the track on Thursday so the ambitious drivers could hit the dirt and tarmac. With no practice time and only a few previous laps in the new GRC Lite, Mitchell took the wheel of his Red Bull Olsbergs MSE GRC Lite into qualifying. He put his off-road championship prowess to work finding traction in the wet soil and quickly learning the fastest lines through the course. When qualifying wrapped up, Mitchell finished 3rd place in his seed and 4th place overall; a great showing considering five of his counterparts are reigning European Rallycross champs.
After qualifying, the sky began to fall as huge downpours of rain attacked the track, giving Mitchell more time to think and talk racing with his fellow racers. After another tireless dry session from the track crew, Mitchell and his Red Bull rocket launched toward the green light securing the holeshot is his first GRC Lites heat race. After holding the lead, Mitchell got a taste of the nasty New Hampshire crossover ramp, also responsible for claiming the best in GRC, like Ken Block and Tanner Foust. As he hit the turning brakes over the ramp, Mitchell slid straight into the guard rail relinquishing his lead. After a quick recovery, Mitchell held the second position to excitingly advance straight into his very first Global Rallycross Lites Main event.
Now with Mitchell sitting in the second row for the main event, he ran through the checklist of the many things that need to happen when starting the most pivotal race of your career. The green flag dropped, Mitchell’s foot smashed the floor, the clutch dropped aaaaaaand nothing. Keep in mind these are Spec race cars, they all run the same components making any mistakes a brutal blow to claiming top honors. A quick slap of the shifter put the fighting bull into gear and he was off! From dead last Mitchell had all to gain as he began to catch, and overtake positions. When he caught the fierce battle for third place, Mitchell’s brakes began to fade until they disappeared. With no braking control and little desire to hit the guardrail, Mitchell fought off the coming pressure to finish fourth in his first GRC Lites race.
Mitchell commented on his first GRC experience, “The weather was crazy, the track was fun, and I learned a lot last weekend. I’m looking forward to Bristol. It’s such a cool track, most of all I just want to get back in the Red Bull Lites car and turn some laps!”
The bitter-sweet weekend for the 15 year old who only wants to win, and is accustomed to winning in the dirt, became a great learning experience that now makes the 2013 GRC Lites season exceptionally exciting. He’s showing the desire, the speed, and consistency to be great in GRC Lites. The competition stacked up against him is as fierce as it has ever been, so the challenge to be the best is on!
Support the Mitchell as he battles to keep the very first GRC Lites Championship in the U.S. Follow Mitchell on Friday and Saturday as he starts Round 2 of the Global Rallycross Lites series at the famed high-bank short-oval of Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee.
Saturday July 20th, 4:30 pm ET on ESPN & ESPN3 (LIVE)
Mitchell’s GRC LItes Partners:
- Red Bull
- Olsbergs MSE
- Horizon Hobby
- Royal Purple
- 4130 Clothing
At age 15, Mitchell DeJong has taken a different path than most teenage youth, instead of playing ball sports he wakes each day with racing on his mind. Whether it’s a casual game on iRacing driving simulator, racing Losi r/c cars, or strength training, he takes every step today poised to live his dream as a racing champion in every sport he competes in. The passion to drive grew at an early age while helping his dad in the family off-road shop building high-end off-road cars. At first chance Mitchell won karting and off-road championships in 2007, at only age 9. Since then, he has accumulated 9 total championships in 6 seasons putting him on pace to be one of the winningest off-road drivers of all time. Global Rallycross and racing in X Games has always been a dream for Mitchell. He’s turned great success on the track into an opportunity to race GRC Lites and he will begin working hard to be the best amongst great drivers from around the world.
About Global Rallycross Lites Series:
Built by top rallycross preparer OlsbergsMSE, the Lites produce 310 HP, just over half the power of the top Supercar vehicles and are designed to be more manageable for developing star drivers. The cars are purpose-built racers that are fast, nimble, and exciting to watch. They are all-wheel drive and capable of handling the jumps, door-to-door combat and surface changes of a typical rallycross course. The class will run as a support series on the same courses as the Supercars at all US GRC events, with the Last Chance Qualifiers and Finals expected to run immediately before the main Supercar races.
“The racing is going to be close, since all cars conform to the same specification, and driving talent will be the deciding factor in these races,” said OlsbergsMSE CEO Andreas Eriksson, who worked with GRC to develop the class. “There is no better place than GRC Lites competitions to learn the sport.”
“GRC Lites continues the growth of Global Rallycross and will provide the perfect venue for drivers to hone their rallycross skills infront of our thousands of spectators,” said GRC CEO Colin Dyne.
About Global Rallycross:
Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) features the world’s top action sport athletes and combines them with the best elements of circuit racing, off-road racing and rally competition to deliver intense action in a variety of fan-friendly environments. Action sport stars including Travis Pastrana, Tanner Foust, Brian Deegan, Dave Mirra, Bucky Lasik, Marcus Gronholm and Ken Block have described the sport as “motocross – with a roll cage.”
2013 GRC LItes Schedule:
July 11: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, NH
July 20: Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, TN
August 4: X Games, Los Angeles, Irwindale, CA
August 10: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, GA
September 22: Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC
November 7: SEMA Las Vegas, NV