IMG signs five-year deal to take World Rallycross to USA for first time
IMG, the international sports and entertainment company, has struck a deal with owners of the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas to bring the FIA World Rallycross Championship, the motor racing series that it promotes, to USA for the first time next year.
The two organisations have agreed a five-year hosting deal, which begins on 29 and 30 September, 2018. The race action will form part of a festival weekend that will also feature live music, food stalls and actions sports.
IMG said USA is "a key territory for World RX teams, manufacturers and sponsors."
World RX today unveiled a 12-round calendar for 2018, subject to confirmation at a December meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council. The calendar features nine European rounds, plus rounds in Canada, USA and South Africa. In addition to the new race at COTA, there is also a new event at Silverstone in the UK.
The season begins once again in Catalunya, with Barcelona forming the opening round for the second year in a row (14 and 15 April), and concludes in Cape Town, South Africa on 24 and 25 November.Paul Bellamy, World RX managing director for IMG, said: “The United States of America has been on our radar since the World Championship began in 2014 but we were determined to wait for the right opportunity. We have been in discussion with a number of venues across the USA but COTA shared our vision for the World Championship and can deliver a key objective of building a first-class rallycross facility. With IMG’s strong presence throughout the US we are confident that the COTA World RX event will be a huge success.”
COTA already stages Formula 1's US Grand Prix and a round of motorcycling's MotoGP World Championship, with construction of the rallycross circuit set to begin in the next few months.
Bobby Epstein, chairman of COTA, said: “There is no doubt that rallycross is a rapidly growing discipline – the fans can watch races in quick succession and the 600bhp cars are mightily impressive. The addition of a world-class rallycross circuit will be a welcome addition to our growing venue, and we look forward to working closely with IMG in making the first ever World RX event in the USA a resounding success.”
In an interview with Sportcal earlier this year, Bellamy said expansion of the World RX would "be out of Europe," and cited North America and the Far East as target markets.
The World Rallycross Championship was born out of IMG’s exclusive long-term deal signed with motor sport’s FIA in 2012 to become the promoter of the European Rallycross Championship.