North American Rally Champion Andrew “ACP” Comrie-Picard and his NOS Energy Team ACP Racing placed a strong fifth overall in the first European-style rallycross event in US history, held this past weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Despite competing throughout the heats and “A” final event with a blown headgasket and the interior heater on full blast in the over-90 degree temperatures, and while racing with a smaller 40mm intake restrictor than the 45mm-restricted winning European-spec Ford Fiesta, Comrie-Picard drove his Mitsubishi Evo rally car to the limit to be in the A final and score the result.
“I’m really happy with the weekend for a bunch of reasons,” said a happy ACP. “First off, it’s terrific proof that Rallycross is going to work as a format in the US. The thousands of fans were insanely enthusiastic, and the track administration said it was by far the most exciting event they’ve hosted since they opened the beautiful facility three years ago, and that includes Grand-Am and Superbikes.” The Rallycross track arrangement used sections of the well-engineered racetrack, then diverted onto several dirt portions built specifically for the event, including a jump, and a “joker” diversion course that each car is required to take once per heat.
“Second, we had a great result considering that the two Fords that beat us were full-spec European rallycross cars, and the two Subarus were the US factory team effort. For us as privateers, and especially considering our small turbo and restrictor, we really couldn’t have hoped for better. I drove the car right to the edge, and better yet, we all had crazy fun doing it.” Fellow competitor Dave Mirra and Comrie-Picard were seen in each others’ pits after heats talking excitedly about what had happened in each race. “This is real fun for us, honestly. In rally, you might talk to each other after a stage and try to compare notes on the course. Here, we’re like ‘dude! I totally got you where the joker merges in over the jump!’ That’s fun, and the spectators love it too” said ACP.
The team was assisted by BFGoodrich tire technology derived from successful World Rally programs, using tarmac rally tires of the type used by top BFGoodrich teams internationally. “The braking was insane,” said Comrie-Picard, “one of the other top competitors on a different tire rear-ended me in a braking zone when he locked up. I should have known he wasn’t on BFGs.”
The NOS Energy team will return at the next scheduled Rallycross event on October 2-3 at the same venue, with a new AMS motor and polycarbonate windshield. “We’ll be back with an evolved car and more game. Make no mistake,” quipped Comrie-Picard, “we’re in it to win it.”
Andrew Comrie-Picard is the current North American Rally Champion and in 2010 competed in X Games for a fifth time and won a bronze medal. He also drifts at the professional level for Dodge Motorsports and BFGoodrich in the FormulaD drift championship in a Viper. When he isn’t racing, Comrie-Picard works in film, television, and print media as an automotive expert; he hosts the television show Ultimate Car Build-off airing at on Discovery Channel. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
Rallycross is a highly-exciting, fan-oriented motorsport in which 500+ horsepower cars go head-to-head on a closed-circuit dirt and tarmac course. More info can be found at www.rally-america.com
The ACP Rally program is made possible by:
- NOS Energy (www.drinknos.com)
- K&N (www.knfilters.com)
- BF Goodrich (www.bfgoodrichtires.com)
- Motul (www.motulusa.com)
- AMS Performance (www.amsperformance.com)
- Brian Crower (www.briancrower.com),
- JE (www.jepistons.com)
- Exedy (www.exedyusa.com)
- Öhlins (www.ohlinsusa.com)
- Pfitzner Performance Gearbox (www.ppgearbox.com.au)
- Mishimoto (www.mishimoto.com)
- Oakley (www.oakley.com)
- Recaro (www.recaro.com)
- Innovate Motorsports (www.tuneyourengine.com)
- Works (www.worksevo.com)
- NGK (www.ngksparkplugs.com)
- Rockford Fosgate (www.rockfordfosgate.com)
- Piloti (www.piloti.com)
- Skull Candy (www.skullcandy.com).