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GRC Personalities // Scott Speed: Ch-Ch-Changes

May 2, 2014
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Heading into my second GRC season has been completely different than my first year. For one, I have a race shop I can go to to see a car. So there’s been a lot of time spent back at Indy at the workshop, shaking down cars, working on cars. Obviously, it’s quite a new program for a lot of us here. 95% of us all come from a different background, so that’s been fun—getting to know these types of cars.

But mostly, the difference from last year is I’m able to work with a team. We actually have a proper team, and we can work on the cars and prepare them for the year. We’d love to have a few more months off, because it’s all pretty new to us, and we’ll be catching up for a while for sure. But it’s been cool to have the Andretti organization, having a proper race team, and being part of that.

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A lot of these guys are IndyCar guys. The main rally guy we have is Graham Quinn, an Irish feller, who I get along really well with. it’s nice to have a European in the mix—having spent so much time over there, it’s nice to talk to someone about it. I didn’t come across a lot of Europeans in NASCAR! Our team is cool, we’ve got different pieces for sure, but a lot of our guys are IndyCar guys, who I would say are at a much higher level in general because it’s a much more technologically advanced and major motorsport. What we’re banking on is that Global Rallycross is going to become a major motorsport—we have all the people in place to do it, but the majority of us don’t have experience in it yet.

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We’ve been all over the place making this thing happen. We’ve been to Chicago for the announcement, I went to the New York Auto Show as well for Volkswagen. We did some testing in Europe to help develop our Beetle, which is going to be amazing once we get it. We also did some tire testing for Yokohama, to decide what kind of tire compound we’re going to go with. It was cool to be a part of that program, and I think we have a really good tire for everyone this year. I’m excited to get on technology that’s not a few decades old, ha! :)

But we’ve spent a majority of our time developing the Beetle program, and the little bit of spare time we’ve had was put into the process of trying to make these Polos competitive, or up to the same levels the Beetle will be—which will be difficult, but we’re doing the best we can with cars that are essentially not even ours, we’re just kind of borrowing them. It’s kind of one of those things where, the main program is our Beetle, and all of our effort is going into that, but in the meantime we’re trying to makeshift put together a couple of Polos for the first couple of rounds until our Beetles arrive.

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There’s not much more we can do with the Polos. We’ll be a little bit behind the 8 ball with these cars, but our expectations are exactly what they would be if we had the Beetles, the cars that we’re putting all of our time and sweat into. And I do have some experience winning in older cars! I’m still confident that we have a really good chance to win in Barbados. In just the small amount of time that we’ve had the Polos, I really think we’ve made them better. And if they’re one step better and the competition hasn’t moved at all, I think we’ll win. But you never know until you get there, because we’re not the only ones who have been working.

It’d be awesome to do well of course, but if we win with this stuff, in the back of our minds we’re just going to be laughing. I think what we’re going to be bringing to the table is even better. It’s exciting to think about how amazing that car will be!

Photo credit: Alison Padron (1)

Images via Scott Speed (2, 4); Andretti Autosport (3)